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Questions asked by real people with tinnitus. Answered by tinnitus authority Barry Keate.

Arches Natural Products President, Barry Keate, understands the suffering caused by tinnitus. Having lived with tinnitus for over five decades, Barry is an expert on the condition and has made the recovery from tinnitus his life’s work.
NOTE: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to inquiries are not substitutes for a physician’s advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. We encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.

May 2023 Ask Barry

The Headache – Tinnitus Connection

Dear Barry,

I have had ringing in my left ear for years. Now that I’m older it has gotten so bad I can hardly stand it. I have a headache all the time and I have tried just about everything. I had a blown eardrum years ago and have had it checked many times no one can find anything wrong.

I need help,

Dear Lola,

Thank you for your question. The tinnitus and headache are most likely linked; one is probably the cause of the other. Many headache sufferers, especially migraine headache, also experience tinnitus. If the headache can be treated, the tinnitus will most likely reduce or resolve.

Migraine headaches typically affect one side of the head, are pulsating in nature and last from 2 to 72 hours. They may also be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light or sound. If this is the case with you, you should see your doctor about treatment for migraine headache.

There are also other factors that can make the tinnitus bring on the headache. Stress and insomnia are commonly associated with the development of headaches. Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ) is another possible cause of both tinnitus and headache. This is where the jaw is out of alignment with the skull and it can cause numerous and sometimes painful symptoms.

Another possible cause is idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Idiopathic means the cause is unknown and intracranial hypertension means high pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. This can cause both headache and tinnitus.

Ginkgo biloba is a common herb used for headache and tinnitus in Europe, especially Germany. The German Commission E (a scientific advisory board equivalent to our FDA) recommends Ginkgo biloba for both headache and tinnitus. You can read the Commission E Monograph on Ginkgo for Tinnitus.

Highly concentrated Ginkgo biloba is the primary ingredient in Arches Tinnitus Formula. It has been shown in clinical studies to help people with tinnitus if used continuously over time.

I recommend you visit your doctor for an examination of your headache. Depending on the outcome, you may want to use Arches Tinnitus Formula for both the headache and tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The Hypothyroidism – Tinnitus Connection

Hi Barry,

Is there any connection between tinnitus and hypothyroidism? My reason for asking is that my brother has both.

Thanks and looking forward to your reply.

Virginia B.

Dear Virginia,

Thank you for sending in your question. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, controls how quickly the body burns energy, makes proteins and how fast the body responds to other hormones. Thyroid dysfunction, usually hypothyroidism, indicates a lowering of the thyroid hormones.

The side effects of hypothyroidism include lowered energy levels, increased sensitivity to pain, weight gain, depression and tinnitus. Tinnitus is generally present as a continuous sound. When hypothyroidism is controlled, either through synthetic hormones or natural thyroid medications including desiccated animal thyroid, the side effects generally improve and tinnitus will be reduced or completely resolved. Please read our article about hypothyroidism and tinnitus and pay attention to the section that discusses Armour thyroid medication.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Ginkgo for Tinnitus…. And?

Dear Barry,

Does the Ginkgo biloba in your Tinnitus Formula also have the benefits to memory function, etc., that Ginkgo biloba is known to have in general?

I’m taking it for tinnitus, but does it also have other benefits so it is valuable to take it for a number of reasons?

Thanks so much,

Dear Christine,

This is a great question; thanks for sending it to us. It’s a subject we touched on several years ago but haven’t talked about much since then. The answer is yes; all the health benefits normally attributed to Ginkgo biloba can be realized when using Arches Tinnitus Formula. In fact, our new ginkgo, trademarked Ginkgo Max 26/7, is a higher concentration of the active ginkgo ingredients than any other ginkgo extract available. The ginkgo flavone glycosides, terpene lactones and bilobalide are all significantly increased over the normal 24/6 extract.

However, to your point, all the numerous health benefits normally attributed to ginkgo will accrue to users of Arches Tinnitus Formula. Ginkgo has many benefits that include: antioxidant activity, blood vessel and cardiovascular health, improvement in brain function through increased absorption of glucose and oxygen, inhibition of PAF, a leading factor in stroke, improvement in sexual function and action as an anti-depressant.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

April 2023 Ask Barry

A change in the weather… a change in tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I have experienced more ringing in my ears during weather-related changes this Spring. Am I alone on these types of changes?


Jim R.

Dear Jim,

You are  not alone. Weather-related changes can negatively impact certain types of tinnitus. Increased ringing in the ears due to atmospheric pressure changes indicates you may have either a sinus problems, allergies or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD). These conditions can be treated once they are determined to be the case. You should see an ENT doctor for an examination and an audiologist for a hearing test. The audiologist will be able to differentiate between hearing loss caused by nerve damage and conductive hearing loss caused by sinus or allergies.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Occasional tinnitus turns 24/7

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus for years but it has come and gone, and at times it lasts a few minutes then nothing for months. Three weeks ago it began again and is here 24/7. I have had CT scans with contrast, MRI just to check.

I am about to try Lipoflavonoid. I’d honestly be willing to give up hearing just to deal with it. All I have read is that there is no cure.

Kind regards,
Joe G.

Dear Joe,

You are correct that there is no cure for tinnitus. This doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to reduce the noise level and annoyance. There are many therapies that help people cope better with tinnitus. Unfortunately, I don’t think Lipoflavonoid is one of them. The product was developed in the 1960’s to help control vertigo in people who had Meniere’s disease. The only clinical trial conducted on it for tinnitus showed no effect. Still, some doctors continue to recommend it to their tinnitus patients.

Arches Tinnitus Formula contains Ginkgo biloba extract, which is supported by numerous scientific studies showing it improves tinnitus. Arches developed a specialized ginkgo called Ginkgo Max 26/7, which has a higher potency concentration of the individual compounds most helpful for tinnitus. This extract was developed specifically for people with tinnitus.

Your tinnitus is considered early onset, which is a very good thing. Early onset tinnitus has a much better outcome potential than tinnitus that has been present for several years.

Please read this overview of 19 clinical studies on Ginkgo biloba for tinnitus. If you have further questions, please send them to me.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Do I have sinus-related tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

How can I know if my tinnitus is sinus connected? I do have some high frequency hearing loss though not considered enough to have tinnitus. Stress does seem to increase it. I have a hissing sound 24/7.

Thank you for your comments.

Charlotte, NC

Dear Madelyn,

You will have to see an audiologist to determine this. Sinus issues are considered conductive hearing loss and can be treated. Hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear is called sensorineural hearing loss. Audiological testing can determine the difference between the two.This type of hearing loss (often accompanied with tinnitus) cannot be cured, but can be helped by Arches Tinnitus Formula.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

March 2023 Ask Barry

Over-the-counter Pain Meds and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

Is there anything else to take besides ibuprofen for inflammation of the joints? When I take this it makes my tinnitus louder.

Thank you,
Esther B.

Dear Esther,

Over-the-counter pain medications present a real problem for those of us with tinnitus. Most of them will cause an increase in tinnitus. Aspirin in small amounts is probably OK but may not provide enough relief. Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, will not increase tinnitus but can be poisonous and hard on the liver if too much is taken. You have to carefully read the label and make absolutely certain you are not taking too much.

Something that may reduce the need for painkillers is fish oil containing omega 3. This fights inflammation naturally. I don’t know if you can completely stop taking pain medication but you can probably reduce the need for it.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Treating Tinnitus with Klonopin (clonazepam)


I was recently prescribed clonazepam as a treatment for anxiety which my doc felt led to my depression and IBS. After venlafaxine seemed to cause my tinnitus back in 2019, I’m scared to death of these drugs – a fear not shared by doctors for some reason.

Anyway, in trying to find out if this drug could further cause exacerbation of my tinnitus problem, I’ve come across a study that shows significant broad based improvement in tinnitus from using clonazepam (2mgs for 180 days). My docs appear to be wholly unaware of the study and not interested. What gives? Not crazy about playing Russian roulette with another drug – but if this can treat tinnitus, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and depression, it seems like it is worth the risk. What would you do in my shoes and what’s your read on this study (which I’m sure you are of from 2012)?

Lee W.

Dear Lee,

Thanks for your question. The short answer is, yes, clonazepam (trade name Klonopin) can be very helpful for reducing the sound level of tinnitus and alleviate depression and other anxiety induced conditions.

Unfortunately, it’s not all that simple. Klonopin and the other benzodiazepine medications, Xanax, Valium, etc., are very addicting. They were originally intended to be used for only a short duration, a few weeks. There is a hidden time bomb in these medications. They are so addicting that the dosage needs to be increased at regular intervals to achieve the same effect. If the dosage is not increased, the same symptoms the drug was prescribed for in the first place can come back and can be even worse than in the beginning. Withdrawal from these drugs can be a nightmare of withdrawal symptoms that some people cannot live with. The success rate of a medically supervised withdrawal, after long-term use, is only 65%.

Having given you the bad news I need to say that not all people will become this addicted. When I was first diagnosed with tinnitus I spent three years on and off again with Valium. When it came time to stop, I didn’t have a problem. My sister also spent several years on one of the benzos and came off fairly easily. You should be aware of the danger, though, and try to not use any of these for longer periods than absolutely necessary.

So what would I do? I have some personal knowledge of anxiety and what it can do to you and I do have some suggestions. If you read the article you will see the benzo medications act on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which is a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is available as an over-the-counter medication and is quite inexpensive. You can begin taking this at the dosage suggested in the article and it should be helpful. Don’t expect it to work like the prescription drug as it is a supplement. However, it can calm you down and even make you drowsy so you should be careful driving until you know how it affects you.

I am also a huge fan of hypnotherapy for tinnitus. I tried quitting smoking for years before I finally visited a hypnotherapist. I have not had a single cigarette since though it did take a couple of follow-up visits to really get it fixed in my brain. More recently I was in a situation that generated high levels of stress in my life. Once again, hypnotherapy calmed me down and helped me to deal with the situation.

Another avenue to try is acupuncture for tinnitus. This ancient Chinese tradition offers a variety of therapies that help put the body back in balance and positively affect anxiety and tinnitus.

Not to be left out of the discussion is the use of biofeedback and neurofeedback for tinnitus. This feedback system helps the person learn to control basic bodily functions. People who become adept at this can actually reduce their blood pressure and heart rate. They can also reduce skin temperature and enter a state of perfect calm. It takes time and work but is very effective.

Last but certainly not least is the use of Arches Tinnitus Formulas. These will not directly work as an anti-anxiety medication but they can be very helpful in reducing tinnitus. I’ll bet if your tinnitus was improved your nervous system would be very happy.

All of these complementary therapies I’ve mentioned can be used alone or in conjunction with each other. You should begin working with some and see which ones resonate with you. You won’t have immediate relief in one hour, as with a prescription drug, but these therapies can give you a long and much happier life and are much healthier than the alternative.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Mother-daughter Hyperacusis… with Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Both my daughter and I have tinnitus and hyperacusis, and the latter is the big worry. We are both sensitive to noise and this has curbed our daily lives. My daughter has been unemployed for 15 months because of her hyperacusis.

Is there any medication that might help?

Thanking you.
Jenny W.

Dear Jenny,

Hyperacusis is the collapse of loudness tolerance so that almost any sound creates loudness discomfort even if it is below the threshold that others deem uncomfortable. Most people with hyperacusis try to protect their ears from all sounds by staying in quiet environments, wearing ear plugs, etc. This is not the way to treat this and it increases the loudness intolerance. Instead, treatment options consist of gradually retraining the ear to accommodate sounds better. There are two ways to accomplish this and both have overlapping techniques.

The first is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, which works with both tinnitus and hyperacusis. The second utilizes some of the same procedures but also involves wearing a hearing device that equalizes all sounds to similar loudness that is controlled by the patient. Either one of these therapies can be very helpful for hyperacusis patients over time.

Arches Tinnitus Formulas can also be helpful in reducing the tinnitus sound and stabilizing hearing.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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