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.
Clogged Ears, Terrible Tinnitus, and Hearing Music

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus since 1980. I am in chronic back and leg pain and take oxycodone with Tylenol. I am on an antidepressant which doesn’t seem to help me. Last summer, my hearing became much worse. And now I have new hearing aids and both my pain and hearing continue to worsen.

My left ear feels like it is clogging-up and feels horrible. The only relief for this is lying down and taking a sleeping pill. Audiologists and ENT doctors have been of no help.

I am stressed and hearing “music” in background with my tinnitus. Any ideas? This “clogged” feeling is just driving me mad.

Thanks,
Irene L.

Dear Irene,

You have brought up a series of questions. First of all, antidepressants are pretty notorious for causing hearing loss and tinnitus. Most modern SSRI antidepressants list tinnitus as a frequent side effect. So, your antidepressant may be causing the worsening hearing and increase in tinnitus. You could try to gradually wean yourself from this medication. Consult with your doctor about it because abruptly cutting it off can have negative effects.

There are many possible causes of a feeling of fullness, or clogging, in the ear. These range from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, caused by flu, colds or allergies, to an infection in the middle ear, even to Meniere’s disease, which I don’t think you have or you would mention dizziness.

The music and singing voices is called Musical Ear Syndrome and is nothing to be afraid of. It usually occurs in older people who are also hard of hearing. The brain demands input and if it doesn’t get enough, it actually “makes up” sounds or remembers sounds from the past. One simple way to get this to calm down or go away is to make sure you have plenty of audio input. Play music in your home loud enough to hear and enjoy it.

I hope this information is helpful for you and you can start to enjoy life more.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Panic Attacks Increasing Tinnitus Intensity

Hi Barry,

My tinnitus is so loud, I’ve had a panic attack going on six weeks. Can an ENT doctor help? When is too loud too loud? What can help decrease the sound? I’m losing it.

Kristi M.

Dear Kristi,

I’m really sorry your tinnitus is so bothersome. I know about panic attacks and they’re no fun.

The first thing to know is stress is the #1 aggravator of tinnitus. Stress will take a level 2 or 3 tinnitus and turn it into a level 8 or 9 overnight. I know it’’s extremely difficult to control but if you can lower your stress levels, the tinnitus should decrease as well.

Diet is another trigger for tinnitus, especially salt. Salt will dramatically increase tinnitus. Many people are unaware of this and consume salty snacks without knowing that’s what is triggering heightened tinnitus.

An ENT doctor will be able to test your hearing to see if that is the cause. Hearing loss is responsible for about 80% of those with tinnitus. However the ENT probably won’t have anything to offer for this. And it may be caused by other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, TMJ or other medical condition that an ENT won’t be familiar with. It may be best to have a full medical workup by your family doctor to see if something else is causing it.

Arches Tinnitus Formula is helpful for most people with tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula has been shown in numerous clinical trials to reduce tinnitus loudness for most people who use it. It is especially helpful for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss and/or noise exposure. It can also be helpful for those who have tinnitus due to toxic medications. One prominent Manhattan ENT says he has a 75-80% success rate with these patients using Arches Tinnitus Formula.

It takes three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can purchase each bottle separately but the Starter Kit offers a significant price discount and you don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Driven to Despair by Tinnitus

Barry,

I need help. I am suicidal every day. I cannot cope with tinnitus.

Tommy P.

Dear Tommy,

Please do not despair. I know how bad tinnitus can be and I was once pretty much in your shoes. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly go on with it as bad as it was. There are treatments that really work to get tinnitus reduced and get your life back together. My tinnitus has gone down by about 2/3.

Stress and anxiety are the leading triggers for tinnitus. If you can reduce your stress levels, tinnitus will reduce as well. I know this is easier said than done but there are ways to accomplish this. Biofeedback and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will be very helpful. They are both recognized by the American Academy of Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors) as being effective. They are available in the UK and are usually administered by psychologists. They will train you to reduce tension and deeply relax. Here are articles about these therapies.

If you are overweight, insulin resistant or diabetic, this is a major cause of tinnitus. You can reduce it by consuming a good diet and exercise regularly. Salt is a major contributor to tinnitus and patients are advised to reduce salt intake. Eat plenty of whole, fresh food, avoid packaged foods and snacks, don’t drink carbonated beverages or visit fast food restaurants. This will take some time but it is very effective.

Your tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss. This is the most common cause and close to 85% of people with tinnitus have it due to hearing loss. For this, Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 is very effective. One prominent ENT in Manhattan states he has success with 75 – 80% of people who have tinnitus due to hearing loss.

All of these therapies take time. But if you are willing to put forth the effort to manage your tinnitus, I’m certain it will significantly reduce the sound level.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Unable to Study with Tinnitus Crisis

Hi Barry,

I am 21 years old and am in my senior year of college. I’ve always had a low level of tinnitus I was able to manage since high school but recently my tinnitus has gotten louder and so bad that even masking doesn’t help anymore. I can’t really sleep but when I do, I wake up halfway through the night with the Tinnitus screaming (I have it in both ears).

I don’t know what caused my tinnitus but I’m so scared and in a bit of a crisis dealing with this so young and not being able to concentrate in school anymore I’m afraid of dropping out. I want to be able to sleep but i don’t want to take pharmaceutical drugs even my therapist says i might need to. How did you get out of a crisis and sleep?

Thank you for your time.
Yas

Dear Yas,

I know what you’re feeling. I was just a bit older than you (mid 20’s) when I came down with tinnitus. I was extremely distraught and wondered how I could live my life with this. Since then my tinnitus has been lowered by about 65%.

One of the major problems with tinnitus is the issue of anxiety. Stress and anxiety make tinnitus much worse than it would otherwise be. It’s a vicious cycle, tinnitus causes anxiety and the anxiety increases tinnitus. It is important though to try and reduce anxiety. Exercise, eat healthy, avoid salt and simple carbohydrates, and try to occupy yourself in something that will take your mind off it. All this will help.

There are several therapies available that are proven to reduce tinnitus sound levels. Biofeedback and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are two of the most mainstream therapies. These take time and can be expensive but they are effective.

Arches Tinnitus Formula is the only scientifically validated dietary supplement treatment for tinnitus. It is completely natural and does not contain any sedatives which would inhibit active thought and learning. It has been shown in numerous clinical trials to alleviate tinnitus. It does take some time, three months, to get the full effect, but is not expensive. Three months (4 bottles) of Arches Tinnitus Formula costs about $130.00.

You can also take melatonin to get some better sleep. I recommend 20 mg about 90 minutes before bedtime. Melatonin is also natural, inexpensive and found in health food stores or online.

Here is an article about my struggle with tinnitus and what I eventually learned that has made it much more livable.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Zoloft for Tinnitus: Helps and Hurts

Dear Barry,

I am struggling with tinnitus. I started taking 50mg of Zoloft and it does help a lot though I am concerned can and is it making my tinnitus worse?

Jim

Dear Jim,

I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time. Zoloft is frequently prescribed for people with tinnitus. All SSRI antidepressants have the potential of causing or worsening tinnitus. For most people, this doesn’t happen but for up to about 8% it does. If it does make your tinnitus worse, stop using it immediately. If it doesn’t, you can probably continue to use it and hopefully it will make you feel better.

There is another worry about SSRI antidepressants of which you should be aware. They all potentiate serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that fights depression. SSRI is an acronym for Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor. So these medications ensure that serotonin stays in the system longer, making the patient feel better.

The problem with this is after an amount of time, varying by the individual, the brain is fooled into thinking there is plenty of serotonin and stops making any more of it. Then the patient becomes dependent on the medication to keep serotonin available. If a lot of dependence occurs, it becomes extremely difficult to withdraw. Some people are trapped into using these medications for the rest of their lives. I advise to not use it for more than a few months. Hopefully your condition will improve by then and you’ll be able to slowly reduce dosage.

You can read more about this conundrum in an article, Tryptophan, Serotonin and Tinnitus .

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Desperation from a Pulsing Ear

Hi Barry,

I wanted you to know, in my case, the doctors see nothing wrong about me. But I still hear my pulse in my ear. I don’t sleep at night. At times I feel like ending my own life.

Please, I need advice.
Regards Sindy P.

Dear Sindy,

Please do not despair. Pulsatile tinnitus has a rational cause and in many cases it can be treated. It is unlike regular tinnitus caused by exposure to noise.

Pulsatile tinnitus is due to turbulent blood flow in an artery near the cochlea. You are actually hearing the blood rush through the artery when the heart pumps. The turbulent flow can be caused by many conditions; high blood pressure, twisted arteries, atherosclerosis, and other causes. A vascular surgeon may be able to determine the cause, in which case treatment is possible.

One way to reduce pulsatile tinnitus is to thin the blood somewhat. The thinner the blood, the less pressure in the vessels and the lower the noise. Arches Tinnitus Formula helps reduce pulsatile tinnitus by thinning the blood and also by making the blood vessels more pliable.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Antidepressant Withdrawal and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

On the advice of my neurologist, I’m trying Arches Tinnitus Formula. Hopefully, I’ll obtain some relief.

As we’ve discussed previously, my T started on withdrawal from venlafaxine, an antidepressant. The tinnitus doctors I’ve consulted seem fairly convinced the chance that venlafaxine was the ultimate cause is minimal, despite the literature available on venlafaxine-related tinnitus.

In discussing with them, they still believe continued use of antidepressant SSRI’s, continued use of klonopin, or tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) such as nortriptyline, would benefit me with regard to if not tinnitus, then depression.

A few questions:

– I believe you have opined, and I tend to agree, that SSRI’s can, and often are, associated with increased tinnitus. Is that true, and why do you think this position is not widely held by tinnitus professionals in the medical community?

– The latest expert has indicated that, in the remote chance that SSRI’s do aggravate tinnitus, any resulting increase would likely abate over a couple of months and no increase in damage would likely be permanent. What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks, Lee

Dear Lee,

I cannot get in a controversy with your doctors or explain why they don’t think SSRI anti-depressants are associated with tinnitus. The Physician’s Desk Reference, which all of them have, lists tinnitus as a frequent side effect of SSRI anti-depressants. In the case of Effexor, it states that 2% of people will develop tinnitus and some cases happen during withdrawal. I hear of many, many people like you who either got their tinnitus from taking these medications or from withdrawing from them.

Technically, Effexor is an SSNRI (selective serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors) which has all the standard side-effects of SSRI anti-depressants.

SSRI anti-depressants are very dangerous for other reasons. They fool the brain into thinking there is adequate serotonin so the brain stops manufacturing it. When these people then try to withdraw from SSRI’s, they crash and crash hard. It is its own type of addiction and I know many people who are totally unable to get off them. They will remain taking them for life. The same is true for benzodiazepines, including Klonopin. They fool the brain into thinking there is plenty of GABA so the brain stops making that as well. The benzos are very addicting and should only be used for a short period of time.

Some people may be able to benefit from SSRI’s and I don’t totally condemn them. I do think they are very overused when other options exist. Please read my article on serotonin and then go to the link within that article to Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome.

My thinking has evolved some since I wrote the serotonin article. I now think 5-HTP is a better supplement than Tryptophan. Tryptophan breaks down into several metabolites including 5-HTP and 5-HTP is the direct precursor of serotonin. It may take some time but I recommend 5-HTP taken for several months. It is very inexpensive and there are no side-effects.

Hopefully this will be helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Depressed and Sleep Deprived, with Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

When I first came down with tinnitus, I refused meds. I walked the street, rode my bike and did what I could but I couldn’t get to sleep, I looked like I was going to die. I had to take trazadone for sleep, along with Cymbalta for depression. The trazadone made everything worse. I’m really suffering right now. The lack of sleep is killing me. I have a lot to live for; grandchildren etc. Every ENT doctor I’ve seen hasn’t helped.

Is there a biofeedback device that you think might give me some relief? I’ll buy the Archers but I need some relief now as I’m taking on the anxiety with meds that don’t work. I really am grateful for any advice you may have. I want to live so badly.

Sincerely,
Ruben

Dear Ruben,

You must stop these medications. Trazodone, often prescribed for sleep, can especially cause and worsen tinnitus. All anti-depressants, including Cymbalta, can cause or worsen it. The problem is you cannot stop these medications cold turkey if you have been on them for any length of time. You will have to work with your doctor to gradually reduce the dosage until you can totally stop.

You may want to ask your doctor about getting a benzodiazepine medication like Valium or Klonopin to help with sleeping. These should be very helpful and should reduce the tinnitus also. Problem is, you can’t take those for longer than a few weeks or they become really addicting also. Then when you try to stop the tinnitus gets worse. It may be a good alternative though to help you transition from the anti-depressants to better therapies.

There are many therapies that can be helpful including biofeedback. Biofeedback is something that must be learned and it is taught by psychologists who also work with attention deficit kids and people with stress problems. There are biofeedback clinics in all major American cities. It can be very, very helpful and I strongly recommend biofeedback for tinnitus. There is a way to practice this in front of a mirror. I strongly recommend getting training from a professional. I encourage you to read our article Biofeedback and Neurofeedback: Tools to Reduce Tinnitus.

Hypnotherapy can also be helpful for tinnitus. Acupuncture can also be helpful for many people.

I hope some of these ideas can be helpful and you can rid yourself of the loudness and anxiety of tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus Is Sucking the Joy Out of Life

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for years but it has flared up in the last couple months to a level that is sucking the joy out of life. Been to an ENT doctor that checked my ears, I have a high frequency hearing loss in one ear. basically she tells me to learn to live with it, trying acupuncture in about a month, taking Lipoflavinoids, not working… any suggestions?

Thank you,
Michael S.

Dear Michael,

Out of the options you mentioned I would try acupuncture. I’m told it can help about 40% of people with tinnitus. I doubt Lipoflavonoid will be helpful. While it is marketed now for tinnitus it was designed to help reduce dizziness in people with Meniere’s disease. It was never intended for ringing in the ears. If you look at the supplement facts on its label, it contains nothing more than small amounts of B vitamins and some bioflavonoids, which may be helpful for stress, but won’t reduce the noise.

Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) has been clinically proven to reduce tinnitus in the majority of people who have it. It is especially helpful for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss, like you. Read the experience of a well-respected ENT doctor who uses ATF for his patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

It takes up to three months to get the full benefit from Arches Tinnitus Formula. We recommend the Starter Kit, or a three-month supply. I would use this along with acupuncture to get the benefit of both.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The Psychology of Coping with Tinnitus

Barry,

How did you psychologically handle the really rough times when your tinnitus was really bad? How did you “short circuit” the negative, fear thoughts and get back on track?

I didn’t get much sleep last night and I spent the entire day today trying to stay even with my own emotions. I tried relaxation techniques, affirmations, even prayer, but I feel powerless to help myself today. I don’t want to spiral down into a worse state. I feel like even God has abandoned me today. I know this is just a big pity party, but I wanted to get your take on what you used to do.

Also, I started the Tinnitus Formula a couple of days ago. I know it takes a while, but I’m sure it will work well for me.

Thank you,
Mary K.

Dear Mary,

Like you right now, my coping strategies were not all that great during the worst of my tinnitus. I reverted to using the benzodiazepine medication Valium to keep my anxiety down. It is quite addicting and should not be used continuously but it helped me when I needed it most. Here is my story and how I coped with tinnitus before Arches Tinnitus Formula lowered the sound level.

These days there are better interim therapies which can also be combined with Arches Tinnitus Formula. You may want to consult a psychologist and learn about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, visit with a Biofeedback specialist, or get some acupuncture treatment.

I hope this is helpful for you and Arches Tinnitus Formula will reduce your tinnitus to a more manageable level.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Devastated by Tinnitus Anxiety

Hi Barry,

My life has been devastated by tinnitus. I had a severe reaction to some medication and on the 18th of October 2017 at 2pm, BANG! The tinnitus started and my life changed forever. It’s now been 7 months.

I have been in hospital five times for severe anxiety and depression and in respite care twice and am now seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist. I have read some of your success stories and am so desperate to find some relief.

I have already spent a lot of money on things that promise the world but don’t deliver. I guess I really want some reassurance that your products work. Will the Tinnitus Formula work by itself or do I need to buy the other products as well? I’m sorry it’s long but I am so desperate for some help.

Warm Regards,
Carol B.
New Zealand

Dear Carol,

I can really sympathize with your situation. When I first had tinnitus I was extremely anxious and very worried. Stress and anxiety are the #1 triggers for tinnitus. They will make it much, much worse than it would normally be. If you can figure out how to reduce your stress, the tinnitus will improve dramatically. I know it’s easier said than done. Stress worsens tinnitus, which causes more stress and tinnitus. But if stress reduces, tinnitus reduces, causing less stress and less tinnitus. It is a vicious circle that works in both directions.

There are many products out there that promise “miracle” cures or that say they will reduce your tinnitus in a few days. These are rip-off products with no science behind them. There is no cure for tinnitus but there are ways to reduce it, in some cases by a lot. My tinnitus has been reduced by about two-thirds due to Arches Tinnitus Formula. Here is an overview of the science behind our tinnitus formula.

Please note that at the end of the article there are references to the clinical studies discussed. None of the so-called “miracle” cure products will offer any science to back up their use. They rely on heavy marketing and outrageous claims to lure customers. Arches Tinnitus Formula doesn’t cure tinnitus but it does reduce it for the great majority of people who use it. We have been in business for 20 years and have thousands of satisfied customers.

You can use Arches Tinnitus Formula by itself for your tinnitus. It is not necessary to take our other products. But it does take up to three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of the Tinnitus Formula. It is offered at a significantly reduced rate from the single bottle price.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Depressing Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I have tinnitus brought on by the antidepressant citalopram. I have now been put on mirtazaphine but feel it is not working. Can you give any suggestions as to which antidepressants don’t have tinnitus as a side effect? I know there are lots that have.

Kind regards,
Jane S.

Dear Jane,

I’m very sorry this happened. Tinnitus is a common side effect of SSRI antidepressants like citalopram. Many doctors are unaware of this. Fortunately mirtazaphine (Remeron) doesn’t cause tinnitus.

I don’t recommend any SSRI antidepressants because of this and numerous other side effects they have. Remeron is the one I normally go to. You may want to discuss dosage with your physician.

SSRI antidepressants keep serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, from breaking down so it is more available. So do tricyclic antidepressants, like Remeron. They do not create serotonin. The only way to create this is through the use of L-Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. L-Tryptophan should not be combined with antidepressants. Please read our article about this.

Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 may be helpful in reducing your tinnitus sounds. It has been shown to be helpful for the majority of people who use it and it can be combined with antidepressants. It takes up to three months to get the full benefit of ATF so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three-month supply.

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

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Two week into tinnitus… and very anxious

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus over two weeks and I’m full of anxiety.  I’m depressed and don’t know where to begin to get help.  Please let me know what worked for you as I’m desperate.

Edwin M.

Dear Edwin,

Here is a link to my story and how I learned to live with tinnitus and my search for tinnitus relief.

Most people who first start experiencing tinnitus react just like you. They become worried and anxious. The anxiety makes tinnitus much worse than it would otherwise be.

This may go away on it’s own. About 1/3 of cases resolve and disappear. If it’s still around in 3-4 months, it’s probably permanent. But there are many things you can do to manage it.

First, try to relax and exercise regularly. This will help calm the nerves and that, in itself, will help the tinnitus reduce.

Second, be careful of what you eat. Proper diet plays an important role in reducing tinnitus. Salt is a trigger for tinnitus and so is sugar. Avoid the salty snacks and try to reduce or eliminate intake of simple sugars. Here’s an article on diet and tinnitus.

Third, take Arches Tinnitus Formula. Arches Tinnitus Formula® with Ginkgo Max 26/7® has been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce tinnitus sound levels for most people who use it. It is especially helpful for the great majority of people who have tinnitus due to noise exposure and/or hearing loss. It is also helpful for those who have tinnitus due to ototoxic medications, which damage hearing. It can take up to three months to get the full effect so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can buy the bottles individually but there is significant cost savings in buying all four at once, you save shipping costs and don’t have to worry about running out during the critical thee-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate


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