Questions Asked by the Tinnitus Community - Answers Provided by Arches President, Barry Keate

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.
Melatonin bad for Tinnitus?

Hello Barry,

Is melatonin bad for tinnitus?

Thanks,
Toni M.

Dear Toni,

Melatonin is not bad for tinnitus; in fact it has a positive effect on people with tinnitus who also have a hard time getting to sleep.

Melatonin is a human hormone that is responsible, among other things, for promoting a good night’s sleep. Clinical studies have shown nearly 50% of tinnitus patients with insomnia improved after taking melatonin.

It is also a powerful antioxidant and reduces cochlear damage produced by ototoxic medications. It protects against hearing loss from aminoglycoside antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs that normally cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

Melatonin production is reduced in older people, who may need more. It is also inhibited by light, especially blue light that predominates electronic screens. Blue light is most prevalent in TV screens, laptops, tablets and phones. Sleep experts advise people to turn these devices off at least an hour before bedtime so it doesn’t degrade melatonin produced in the body.

Please read our article  on the benefits of melatonin for people with tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

How much melatonin for sleep is safe?

Dear Barry,

I have been taking your melatonin since the time you launched your 10mg time release Sleep Formula with much success. However, it has stopped working about five weeks ago due to insomnia from work stress. I’ve done some online research and found that melatonin should only be taken occasionally and that long term use can make your body stop making its own melatonin and they site other warnings.

I just wanted your feedback on the 10 mg dosage, which is considered the maximum and if you can give any advice on how else to treat insomnia since my primary care doctor was only able to prescribe sleeping pills, which I don’t believe in due to the dangers and dependency.

I much appreciate your feedback. Julio M.

Dear Julio,

You can read lots of scary stories on the internet. We had melatonin thoroughly investigated by Safety Call International, an adverse event and pharmaceutical toxicology lab. They produced a report for us and gave the thumbs up for it. You can actually take up to 20 mg safely.

There was some conjecture early on that taking a melatonin supplement would slow down the body’s production of it. But that assumption has been debunked. What really makes the body stop making melatonin is blue light, like that emitted from TVs and laptops. Laptops especially but also TVs should not be used in the bedroom before sleep. Melatonin is produced in the body when it is dark and blue light makes the body think it’s still daytime.

Melatonin can only do so much and work stress should be handled somehow. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. I recommend a good exercise routine after work but before dinner. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and increase GABA levels, which calm the brain.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

How do I protect my tinnitus from harsh medications?

Hi Barry,

I have a sinus infection that hasn’t responded to my usual round of Augmentin, and my physician wants me to start doxycycline or clindamycin, of which both are known to worsen tinnitus.

I’m currently taking NAC 1200 mg twice a day, along with Arches Tinnitus Formula (2 capsules twice a day), but still have a fear of losing more hearing and/or worsening of tinnitus. In fact, my tinnitus level has increased just worrying about this.

Do you think that the NAC and ATF will protect me adequately? Is there anything else that you would add?

The antibiotic regimen will be for 10 days. If my tinnitus does increase while taking the antibiotic, is there a reasonable chance that it would go back down after finishing the antibiotic? This is a major dilemma, as you know for many of us living with this awful malady.

I highly value your wisdom and advice, and appreciate you very much! I always look forward to your answers! Happy Thanksgiving Barry!

Sincerely, David F.

Hi David,

Thanks for your question. It is very important and prompted me to investigate further.

You are on the right track. NAC and Arches Tinnitus Formula will help protect your hearing from deterioration and worsening tinnitus. It may be all you need but to make sure let’s add some extra protection to it.

Antioxidants are the answer to protecting hearing from ototoxic agents. The more antioxidants the better. I have reviewed a paper from the International Journal of Otolaryngology relevant to antioxidants that protect against ototoxicity. I will give a shortened version and what I recommend.

You should add to your regimen Vitamin C (2,000 mg), L-Methionine (at least 1,000 mg), Alpha Lipoic Acid (1200 – 1500 mg) and Ubiquinol (200 – 300 mg). All of these are found in local health food stores and are quite inexpensive except the Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the active form of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and is a much more absorbable form than regular CoQ10 which uses ubiquinone. I read a clinical trial where investigators stopped cochlear damage in laboratory animals exposed to ototoxic medications using CoQ10. It is a little more expensive than the rest but really worth it.

I would start on this regimen immediately and continue for at least a week or two after the last of the antibiotic is taken. This should really protect your hearing. If your tinnitus does seem worse, it will subside after a while. I have had a couple of run-ins with ototoxic meds and antioxidants have always returned my tinnitus to normal.

I hope all goes well and you clear up the infection.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Bioflavonoids for tinnitus relief?

Hi Barry,

Do bioflavonoids or the product Lipo-flavonoid, help to alleviate Tinnitus?

Thank you,
Dave J.

Dear David,

They really don’t. Lipo-Flavonoid is a product developed quite a while ago and its main component is citrus bioflavonoids. These act as antihistamines and were originally designed to treat vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease. It was never meant to treat tinnitus and the only clinical study conducted on Lipo-Flavonoid for tinnitus showed it to be ineffective. However, over the next few decades, Lipo-Flavonoid was marketed to help tinnitus and many doctors started recommending it.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Lipoflavonoid for Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I’m a fairly new customer – three months. I have noticed TV commercials about Lipoflavonoid reducing tinnitus.

Mark P.

Dear Mark,

Despite being advertised on TV, Lipoflavonoid was never designed for tinnitus. It was developed to treat vertigo associated with Meniere’s disease, in which it did show some promise. The only clinical study conducted on Lipoflavonoid and tinnitus showed it to be ineffective. You can look it up online. You will see that the only ingredients are small amounts of B vitamins and lemon bioflavonoid. Arches Tinnitus Stress Formula contains a higher amount of these ingredients than Lipflavonoid does, and those ingredients (in high enough dosages) are helpful to reduce tinnitus-related stress.

Please read the report from ConsumerLab.com on Lipofavonoid. The last sentence of their report reads: “Neither Lipo-flavonoid Plus, nor its main ingredient, have been evaluated in reliable clinical studies for tinnitus or other ear-related conditions.”

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

NAC for tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I found an article in the Academic Google talking about treating tinnitus and hearing loss using NAC … Could you give your opinion on the subject?

Gratefully,
David S.

Dear David,

The dietary supplement, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a powerful anti-oxidant and is an excellent supplement to take for people with tinnitus. Tinnitus researcher Richard Kopke has done a lot of work with this on returning soldiers suffering hearing loss and tinnitus. He found that, if administered within 2-3 days after noise exposure, NAC can prevent a lot of the damage that occurs and reduce the amount of hearing loss. The key to this is it must be administered shortly after exposure.

I don’t believe NAC will do a lot of good for people who have had long-term tinnitus. However, it is a great compound and one I take every day. It will prevent future damage from blast and noise exposure and also from ototoxic drugs. It’s interesting to note that NAC is the treatment of choice in hospitals for treating Tylenol overdose. Tylenol is toxic to the liver and overdose can be deadly. NAC, due to its antioxidant activities, helps prevent the damage.

I recommend taking 1,000 mg twice daily for general protection. It is very inexpensive, found in most health food stores and has no side effects.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus and Cholesterol Meds

Dear Barry,

I have been taking statins for my cholesterol. Do you think this is related to tinnitus? I only take this and nothing else. I have suffered with tinnitus for eight months but have been taking this medication for many years. I have tried everything including natural herbs nothing helps.

Pat L.

Dear Pat,

It is quite possible statin drugs have contributed to your tinnitus. Statins destroy Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is necessary for the production of energy for all cellular and biological functions in the human body. It has been found that low CoQ10 levels lead to many neurodegenerative diseases, such as tinnitus. It is possible that after years of statin usage your CoQ10 levels have been reduced to the point where tinnitus has set in.

The connection between statin drugs and CoQ10 deficiency is so convincing that in 1989 Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, applied for and received a patent for a combination of statins and CoQ10. Since then, Merck has neither produced this combination nor allowed others to manufacture it. Most doctors are not aware of the connection.

Please read our article on Statin Drugs and Tinnitus: The CoQ10 Connection.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

NAC for Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve recently had an encounter with tinnitus, and all I do recall is taking ibuprofen and aspirin on night, and I woke up with this loud ring in my ear. I’ve tried everything, and I do have a chemistry background, so I came across the effects of (NAC), regarding tinnitus. What I found impressive is that (NAC) has a negative charge, which makes a good host for the body in order to absorb toxins. I begin taking my first dosage of (NAC) today about 500mg.

So far, I can’t tell much, but it does appear the ringing in my right ear is beginning to change. I would like to know more about the symptoms of tinnitus, and what other remedies are available to help fight against the effects that it brings.

Thank you!
Byron W.

Dear Byron,

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) is very healthy to take for many reasons. It is a powerful anti-oxidant and it helps protect ears from ototoxic medications, of which ibuprofen is one. You cannot take too much as there are no side effects from using it. I have been taking NAC for years and usually recommend 1,000 mg taken in the morning and again in the evening. It works best at prevention of damage to hearing rather than in response to damage but it can still be helpful.

Arches Tinnitus Formula has been scientifically proven to reduce tinnitus for the great majority of those who use it. It is especially helpful for those with hearing loss-induced tinnitus. This can occur from exposure to noise and loud sound over time and also those who have lost hearing due to ototoxic medications.

It can take up to three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

How much Ginkgo will reduce Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

How much Gingko biloba do I need to take to reduce tinnitus?

Thanks,
Jackie C.

Dear Jackie,

Thank you for your question. I can give you a number for the proper dosage, and will, but you must know quality of the product is at least as important as dosage. Ginkgo biloba is a fairly expensive material, cannot be synthesized, and is frequently adulterated by unscrupulous manufacturers. Adulteration with low quality substitutes is quite common in the industry. Even many products that are not adulterated still do not contain the level of quality ingredients listed on the label.

Consumer Labs has conducted tests for most of the products found in the American marketplace and states that fully 77% of these do not contain the minimal amounts of ginkgo components expected in products that will have beneficial effects. Arches Tinnitus Formula has developed our own high grade Ginkgo biloba that exceeds these standards. We have done this to provide a product that is the most effective for reducing tinnitus in the great majority of people who use it. You cannot purchase a higher quality Ginkgo biloba anywhere in the world. Please see our article on Ginkgo Max 26/7, the trademarked ginkgo we use in Arches Tinnitus Formula.

Provided you take a high quality ginkgo product, the correct dosage is 240 mg taken twice daily for a minimum period of three months. This equates to 2 capsules Arches Tinnitus Formula in the morning and another two capsules in the evening. It takes up to three months for any dietary supplement to fully affect conditions for which they were developed. We recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can purchase these one at a time but the Starter Kit is significantly discounted from the single bottle price. You will also ensure you don’t run out during the critical three month period.

I hope this is helpful and you can significantly reduce your tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Lipo-Flavonoid for Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

My Neurologist recommended Lipo-Flavonoid when I went to see her about the music I hear with my tinnitus… does that help?

Thank you,
Helen T.

Dear Helen,

I’m sorry but Lipo-Flavonoid will not be helpful. It was originally developed to help with dizziness caused by Meniere’s disease. It consists of low doses of B vitamins and some bioflavonoids that act like an antihistamine, which is why it helps dizziness. Sometime more recently the company decided to market it for tinnitus but clinical studies show it’s not helpful for that. They continue to market it strongly but I have never heard from anyone that it has helped.

I believe what you have in addition to your tinnitus is called Musical Ear Syndrome. This is not dangerous. It usually occurs in people with reduced hearing who do not have a rich sound environment. It is the brain filling up the silence by making its own sound. Many people find it enjoyable. There are a number of ways it can be reduced if it’s bothering you. Please read our article on Musical Ear Syndrome and Tinnitus.

Arches Tinnitus Formula may be helpful for your tinnitus. It has been shown in clinical trials to be effective for most people and is particularly effective for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss. We have about a 75% to 80% success rate with those patients. It takes time and must be used for three months (four bottles) before you can determine how effective it will be for you. We recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three-month supply.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Is GABA helpful for Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Is the dietary supplement Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) okay to take in capsule form to take for my tinnitus and if so what milligram is acceptable to take? I am on the diabetic diet for months now but still have a lot of brain activity that my neurologist says comes from my multiple sclerosis (MS).

Thank you,
Joan F.

Dear Joan,

Yes, GABA is safe to take for tinnitus and may be helpful. Start at 500 mg twice daily and work up until you begin to feel drowsy, than back off a little. GABA works to calm the mind and opposes glutamate. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter while glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. An overabundance of glutamate is one of the primary causes of tinnitus and other neurological conditions.

There is some discussion about how well GABA crosses the blood-brain barrier. Many people say the molecule is too large and its not very effective. I know a certain percentage does get into the brain because it slows me down. L-Theanine is a precursor to GABA and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Because of this you need less, perhaps 300mg two or three times daily. If that’s not effective, increase the dosage some.

I cannot recommend one over the other. You need more GABA but it is also less expensive than L-Theanine. You may want to experiment.

Arches Tinnitus Formula® has been proven helpful for people with tinnitus. The primary ingredient is Ginkgo biloba and one of its constituents is Bilobalide, which is a powerful glutamate antagonist. We have developed a special, and highly concentrated, Ginkgo biloba extract trademarked Ginkgo Max 26/7®. This extract contains a much higher dosage of all the ginkgo constituents, but especially Bilobalide. You can see an article on the Science Behind the Product which explains exactly how it works.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Can GABA calm tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve read that oral GABA can help calm tinnitus but that it doesn’t pass the blood brain barrier. Is it worth using?

Thanks, Irene K.

Dear Irene,

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a brain neurotransmitter that inhibits electrical activity and can help some reduce tinnitus and other conditions, such as anxiety, depression and epileptic seizure. While GABA can pass the blood-brain barrier it is not very efficient in doing so. Consequently, a high amount must be taken to get the benefits from it.

L-Theanine is an extract of green tea that is a precursor to GABA. This crosses the blood-brain barrier easily. Once in the brain it converts to GABA and provides a state of alert calmness that helps reduce stress.

The best L-Theanine is a patented product called Suntheanine®. This is used by many manufacturers who market L-Theanine.

You can achieve the benefits using either product but must take much more GABA than L-Theanine to get there. Typical dosage for GABA is 600-750 mg two or three times daily. Typical dosage for L-Theanine is 200 mg taken two or three times daily. So you must use about 3 times the amount of GABA to achieve the same amount of stress reduction.

L-Theanine is quite a bit more expensive than GABA, which offsets the lower dosage. I leave it up to you to decide which is more effective for you. For more information the subject you can read our article Tinnitus Anxiety & The Chemistry of Calm

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Bioflavonoids for Tinnitus?

Hello Barry,

I have read that bioflavonoids can help with tinnitus. If so, how many mg’s per day?

Thank you,
Pat H.

Dear Pat,

Bioflavonoids are excellent supplements for good health. They are found in fruits and nuts and help maintain a healthy heart, reduce inflammation and fight allergies. However, they don’t do anything directly to reduce tinnitus.

Citrus bioflavonoids were used in the 1960’s in the product Lipo-Flavonoid. They were designed to reduce vertigo due to Meniere’s disease. In this regard they act as antihistamines, which are helpful in reducing vertigo and dizziness. Afterward, many ear doctors started recommending them for tinnitus because, at the time, they didn’t have anything else that was helpful. The company also changed its marketing approach to sell the product for tinnitus. Studies have since shown that Lipo-Flavonoid is helpful for vertigo but doesn’t do anything for most people with tinnitus. Ear doctors familiar with these studies stopped recommending them for tinnitus but some still do. You can read our article or a more detailed examination of Lipo-Flavonoid.

Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 contains our proprietary extract of Ginkgo biloba, which is a more potent extract than other brands. It also has zinc picolinate and deodorized garlic. Both Ginkgo biloba and zinc have been proven in scientific studies to be helpful in reducing tinnitus noise levels for most people who use them. Arches Tinnitus Formula is most helpful for the great majority of people who have tinnitus due to noise exposure, reduced hearing and from toxic medications.

It takes up to three months to get the full benefit of Arches Tinnitus Formula so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can buy them individually but the price of the starter kit is significantly reduced from retail pricing, you save more in shipping costs, and you don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Ginkgo or Lipoflavonoid?

Hi Barry,

Can lipoflavonoids or gingko biloba reduce the symptoms for people who suffer from tinnitus?

Thanks,
Nina S.

Dear Nina,

Lipoflavonoid won’t help much. It was developed to fight dizziness in those who have Meniere’s disease or other conditions that affect balance. It was never designed to reduce tinnitus and several clinical studies show it is ineffective for that.

Ginkgo biloba can be very helpful in reducing tinnitus. However, you have to ensure you get a high quality ginkgo. Consumer Labs has done independent study of most over-the-counter brands of ginkgo and found 77% lack one or more essential components that are required to provide clinically effective results.

Arches Tinnitus Formula contains our proprietary and trademarked ginkgo extract, Ginkgo Max 26/7. This extract is specifically designed for those with tinnitus. It is the most highly concentrated and effective ginkgo extract found anywhere. Here is an article detailing the differences between Ginkgo Max 26/7® and regular ginkgo.

Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 has the best potential for reducing your tinnitus. It must be taken for three months to get the full benefit. We recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, which is a three-month supply.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate


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