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.
How to deal with Somatic Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I believe I have somatic tinnitus.  I am desperately searching for help. I’ve had it for 4 1/2 years and just stumbled on your site.  I live in NY. What’s my next step?

Lauren G.

Dear Lauren,

Somatic tinnitus occurs when signals from the body interfere with auditory signals to cause or worsen tinnitus. One of the common causes of this is TMJ dysfunction, where the jaw is out of alignment with the skull. A dentist familiar with the condition can tell you if you have it and, if so, can treat it. The most common treatment is use of a bite guard while sleeping that will help re-align the jaw.

Another common cause is spasm of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. This muscle starts under the ear and is what you use when turning your head. Spasm in the SCM can be treated by a physical therapist. You could see your family doctor about this and he or she would be able to refer you.

Biofeedback and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) are often used to treat muscle and upper cervical problems that cause tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Can Dental Fillings Worsen Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for 15 years. The buzzing in my head caused me to lose my job. Recently I had 12 amalgam fillings removed that I’ve had since I was 10 years old. I am at retirement age now.

After the last three amalgams were removed my noise level has dropped from a 10 (loud buzzing) to a 2 (much more tolerable). Could the amalgams of played a role in my tinnitus? I also have MS but am very active and eat organic. I feel the noise I have is more of a brain noise than any sort of ringing. Removal of the amalgam fillings I feel has really helped the buzzing to become more tolerable, could that be? Any studies on this?

Joan F.

Dear Joan,

Yes, it’s entirely possible removing the amalgam fillings is responsible for your decrease in tinnitus. Amalgam fillings are primarily mercury, a neurotoxin. It is known that this can cause tinnitus and removing them can help. It may also help your MS. Here’s an article on amalgam fillings and tinnitus.

Wish you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Taking Antibiotics on Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I am currently anticipating an antibiotic for intestinal bacteria or infection in colon.  Have very extreme tinnitus due recent loud noise exposure about 5 months ago and have had previous ongoing tinnitus for 40 years at lower level.  Any thoughts on best antibiotic prescription considering high tinnitus and need for antibiotic? Types that might be less likely to cause further tinnitus problem.

Thank you very much for consideration.
Richard M.

Dear Richard,

All antibiotics have the potential to cause or worsen tinnitus but they vary in how high the likelihood is for each one. I’m not an expert in antibiotics and not sure which would be best. Especially since different ones are used for different purposes. This is a good question for your physician. He or she can look it up in the PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference), which every physician has. They can then decide which is best for you.

One way to ensure your tinnitus isn’t worsened by the antibiotic is to take NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) before and after the course of antibiotics. NAC is an inexpensive antioxidant found in health food stores. It protects the hearing nerves from insult, either noise or medications. Start taking 1,000 mg twice daily and continue for at least a week or two after the antibiotic regimen is finished. There are no side effects to NAC and it will not dilute the antibiotic effectiveness.

Arches Tinnitus Formula can help reduce tinnitus loudness. 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

Doing the next right thing…

Hi, Barry

I just read about others and their problems and it helped me. I found out that cutting out the salt and down on sugars could help me a lot I do take Plavix, Rythmol, Lipitor, Lisino, and asprin. So it’s little wonder my ears ring and hiss. I too have been woken at night from the ringing, and I have noticed that after eating something sweet or salty it’s worse. I don’t know if I could take your Arches Combo Pack, but I will ask my doctor. I will start taking Omega-3. Thank you so much. I’ll be back and let you know what happens.

Thanks Again


Dear Susie,

Rythmol and Lipitor are on the list of medications that can cause tinnitus. They each cause tinnitus in only 2% of people who use them. Aspirin causes tinnitus also, but generally only in very high doses. These may or may not be the cause of yours.

Plavix is a blood thinner as is Ginkgo biloba in Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. These should not be mixed unless under the supervision of your prescribing physician. There are no counter-indications but they are additive. Generally, a physician may lower the dosage of Plavix to compensate for the blood thinning properties of ginkgo. There are no other concerns with the medications you’re taking.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Tinnitus after Impact

Dear Barry,

I just placed my order for the Arches Tinnitus Formula today. It was recommended to me by my ENT doctor.

I had the onset of loud ringing in my right ear 2-3 days after being rear ended in an auto collision. When I heard car tires screeching behind me from a sliding car, I turned my head to the right to look in the rear view mirror, so when they hit me at about 25 mph, I experienced a sideways “whiplash” as my head snapped backward then forward sharply.

My ENT doctor vacuumed away some wax that seemed compressed within my inner ear, believing that was the culprit. That gave me immediate and substantial relief for a few hours until I laid my head down on the pillow that night. As my head touched the pillow, it was as if a switch was thrown immediately initiating an even louder and more persistent ringing.

It’s persisted since then, my ENT ordered a brain MRI looking for something he thought might be the cause, but did not find anything in the MRI. He says he has no idea what is causing the tinnitus ringing. He shrugged his shoulders and basically gave up, wishing me good luck.

Do you have any ideas, and where I should go from here? It seems to me the ringing was brought about by the trauma from the collision impact, so it seems to me there should be a way to identify the damage from that physical act and directly address it. The ringing is the worst when I wake up in the mornings. I’ve started calling it my “mini alarm clock” in my ear.

I appreciate any words of wisdom you may have for me.

David H.

Dear David,

I’m very sorry this happened to you. I agree that the tinnitus was most likely caused by whiplash; this is often the case. Most results from whiplash will resolve after a few months. You didn’t mention how long ago this happened so I cannot comment on whether you are inside this window.

Ginkgo biloba, found in Arches Tinnitus Formula, can be very helpful in cases of whiplash and tinnitus. It brings more blood flow to the damaged area of the brain and helps heal tissues. It also calms the neuro-excitability of the damaged areas by antagonizing the effect of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays a central role in tinnitus.

One common effect of whiplash is TMJ dysfunction. This is where the Temporo-Mandibular joint, which holds the jaw in place relative to the skull, is knocked out of alignment. This will definitely cause tinnitus. Your comment that it’s worse in the morning leads me to believe that, when sleeping, you are applying pressure on the joint, causing the tinnitus to worsen. The good news is, TMJ is treatable. Most treatments are painless and non-invasive and may amount to nothing more than a mouth guard at night.

Inside the article is another link to a previous article on TMJ and tinnitus. Please read this article carefully. I believe it will give you hope for an improvement. At the end of the article is a link to the association of TMJ specialists, who come out of the dental profession, and a page where you can find a specialist in your area. I advise you to contact a TMJ specialist for an evaluation.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus improves greatly.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Crackling in the Ears

Dear Barry,

I have successfully used your product for about the last eight months. Earlier, the sound was at a very high frequency, but appears to have been circulatory in nature. Recently however, it has come back but to a lesser extent. I am also hearing a crackling noise in the inner ear, almost like something was moving around in my right ear. It may be Eustachian tube related based on some internet research I’ve done. What should I do?

Best, Josh

Dear Josh,

I’m very happy our product has helped you. The crackling in your ear is most likely due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. This could also increase your tinnitus. Your Eustachian tube is most likely blocked, a condition called otitis media.

I recommend you see an Ear, Nose & Throat physician. Treatments are typically painless and non-invasive and revolve around use of a prescription nasal spray and an antihistamine.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Tinnitus Gets Worse After a Nap

Dear Barry,

Whenever I wake up from a nap, the ringing in my ears is more intense. Is there a reason for this?


Dear Angela,

Yes, there is a reason for this. You have what is called somatic tinnitus. This is when signals from the body become entangled with auditory signals in an area of the brain called the dorsal cochlear nucleus. These signals can cause or worsen tinnitus. Two of the most common conditions that cause this are muscle spasm in the neck and TMJ dysfunction. Muscle spasms occur in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle which extends from the ear down to the neck and helps in turning the head. TMJ dysfunction is when the lower jaw is out of alignment with the skull at the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) below the ear. One of these is most likely the cause of worsening your tinnitus and they are both treatable. Please read our article on this condition.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Allergies or Hearing Loss… What caused her tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for years; every year a little worse. I have allergies, sinusitis and some loss of hearing. I’m going to get hearing aids this fall & I hope they help. I’ve just started taking your Ginkgo Max. Is it possible that ginkgo could make my tinnitus worse?

I’m hoping it helps even though I think most of my tinnitus is physiological. Best regards, Chris

Dear Chris,

Allergies, sinusitis and hearing loss will all cause tinnitus so we don’t know what the cause of yours may be. If it is allergies or sinusitis Arches Tinnitus Formula (with Ginkgo Max 26/7®) may not be helpful. If the tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, it should be helpful. An Audiologist can give you hearing tests that can determine the cause of tinnitus. If your tinnitus is at the frequency where hearing loss occurs, that is probably the cause. Please see our article on Hearing Loss.

And rest assured ginkgo will not your make tinnitus worse.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Did Dietary Supplement Worsen my Tinnitus?

Greetings Barry,

I have habituated to my tinnitus reasonably well over the past 17 years. In the last two months however, I have experienced a considerable spike in the volume. The only thing that I have been doing differently is that I’m taking a natural supplement that has been very effective in keeping my blood sugar at acceptable levels.

The supplement contains: Calcium,183 mg per tablet; Chromium, 133 mcg per tablet; Berberine (as berberine HCI) 333 mg; Alpha lipoic acid 200 mg; Gymnema sylvestre (leaf) 133 mg. Following directions I am taking three tablets a day. I have done some research, and have found no indication of ototoxicity in any of these ingredients. Do you think it’s safe to continue using this product and at this strength?

Many thanks! Doug C.

Dear Doug,

Like you, I could not find any direct evidence that the ingredients in your supplement can cause tinnitus. However, Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid and is related to quinine. Quinine is known to cause or worsen tinnitus.

The real test for whether this supplement is causing the upswing in your tinnitus is to stop using it for a couple of weeks then start again. If your tinnitus goes down when you discontinue usage then increases when you start again, the supplement is definitely the cause.

We are all sensitive to different things and what holds true for one person may not for another. In my case, I cannot take a single low dose of Ibuprofen without sending my tinnitus through the roof for several hours. Other people don’t react to it this way.

Whatever caused the increase, Arches Tinnitus Formula can help to combat it. The Ginkgo biloba in Arches Tinnitus Formula is neuroprotective and aids in preventing ototoxicity.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Blocked Ears and Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

I am from Australia. I have had a few colds and sinus infections this winter and am suffering with a constant blocked ears/head feeling and constant ringing in my ears. My doctor gave me drops for some fluid in my middle ear but they are not helping. I feel like I need to hold my nose and blow to unblock my ears all the time, but it doesn’t help. The ringing is persistent and sending me crazy.

Your products were recommended to me by a friend. Would you recommend me trying any of your products, if so which one?

Regards, Renee

Dear Renee,

Colds and sinus infections are common causes of tinnitus. This is referred to as otitis media and results in a blockage of the Eustachian tube. The result is negative pressure in the middle ear which causes fluids to pass through the membranes and fill the middle ear, hence the blocked feeling.

Treatment for otitis media, if it is not infected, can be as simple as a prescription nasal spray, such as Flonase, taken with an antihistamine. If the fluid becomes infected it is treated with antibiotics. It can take some time to clear it up so you should continue with the drops your doctor gave you. However, you may want to also discuss a nasal spray and antihistamine.

Unfortunately, Arches Tinnitus Formulas do not address otitis media and I don’t think they will be helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Will Arches help TMJ Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Do any of your products help with postural or TMJ caused tinnitus?

Thanks, Howard W.

Dear Howard,

Our products may be helpful for this condition but you should have some direct therapy for it. Postural and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) caused tinnitus are part of somatic tinnitus. This is when signals from the body interfere with auditory signals in the brain and cause or worsen tinnitus. It is totally different from tinnitus caused by noise exposure or hearing loss. If the cause of the somatic tinnitus can be determined, it can be treated.

One of the main causes of somatic tinnitus is spasm in the sternocleidomastoid muscle. This is the large muscle on both sides of the neck that helps rotate the head. Spasm in this muscle will cause tinnitus. The other main cause is TMJ, which you mention. TMJ is caused by the misalignment of the skull and jaw at the temporo-mandibular joint. This is the joint where the jaw hinges onto the skull.

Either of these can cause tinnitus and both are treatable. Most treatment options include relaxing the muscles in the area causing the somatic reaction. Please read our article on somatic tinnitus for a fuller understanding of the condition. Also, make sure to click on the TMJ dysfunction link which will take you to another article specifically dealing with TMJ. There are many treatment options for this and most are painless and non-invasive.

In both cases, Arches Tinnitus Formula can be a helpful co-treatment for the conditions. ATF increases blood flow and will help the affected muscles and clear toxins from them that are caused by the continued stress. It can also help heal the damage in the ear and reduce tinnitus.

Sincerely, Barry Keate

Head Banger Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I am 65. I banged my head against the wall and fell down. Two days later, I had ear noises. An ENT doctor said my tinnitus is a neurological problem. He said go to a neurologist. What do you make of all this?

Thanks, David D.

Dear David,

You most likely have a mild case of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or mild concussion. These injuries often cause tinnitus and other side-effects. In mild cases the brain is able to recover and hopefully your tinnitus will resolve. A neurologist is the correct specialist to determine how much damage has been done.

Ginkgo biloba has been found to be helpful in restoring neuronal damage from traumatic brain injury. Ginkgo is the primary ingredient in Arches Tinnitus Formula. I recommend 240 mg taken twice daily. Do not use ginkgo if you are on prescription blood thinning medications as ginkgo is also a blood thinner and they can be additive.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Did a chemotherapy drug cause my tinnitus?

Hello Barry,

I’ve used the Tinnitus Formula pills for almost 100 days now (I’m maybe at 90 days) and I’ve been very consistent, but no relief. My ears are still screaming (hissing) just as loud as ever. I believe my tinnitus may be caused from chemotherapy that I had in 2013 for breast cancer.

I think the drug, Taxol, did it. It definitely affected many of my nerve endings – neuropathy – in my fingers and especially my toes, which I’m still having problems with. The neuropathy is incrementally getting less but whatever it’s done inside my ears isn’t getting better. My ENT recommended I try your Tinnitus Formula to see if it would work. I spent over $100 (which is a lot of money for me) to buy the Starter Kit, but so far, there’s no improvement to show for it.

Any recommendations? Thanks. Pam D.

Dear Pam,

I’m sorry you’ve haven’t seen any results to date using our product. The problem with ototoxic medications is pretty severe and Taxol is one of the worst offenders. However, I think you may still yet respond to the Arches Tinnitus Formula.

I don’t wish to sell you “false hope” and recognize that not everyone will respond to ATF. But past experience with others in similar circumstances found that it took them a little longer than the recommended three months. You might consider trying one more bottle of the Tinnitus Formula. If no results after another bottle, I would discontinue.

Regardless, there are a couple of other supplements that can be helpful and both are very inexpensive. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter in the brain and counteracts glutamate which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate is one of the primary causes of tinnitus. GABA, which can counter-balance glutamate, can be taken in a dosage of 750 to 1,500 mg two or three times daily. It may cause drowsiness so please be careful driving or operating equipment until you know how you react to it. You should probably start at the lower dose and move up as you’re able.

The other supplement is NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). This is an antioxidant which scavenges free radicals from the body. It’s also helpful for neuropathy. There are no side effects from this and you can take 1,000 mg two or three times a day. You will not notice anything different.

As I mentioned, both of these are very inexpensive and can be found in most good health food stores.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Will a mycin-based acne cream worsen my tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

Is it safe to use Acanya with tinnitus? I thought anything with mycin is bad for tinnitus. It’s a gel or cream form and was told it was safe. Doctor wants me to use the tiniest amount three times a day for a few weeks on my nose.

Thank you, Marilyn I.

Dear Marilyn,

Acanya is a combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin. It is a topical ointment used to control acne. I believe acanya is mostly safe for people with tinnitus. It’s not on lists of drugs that cause tinnitus nor is either of the individual medications. However, there is at least one report of a young man who developed hearing loss and tinnitus using this product. Clindamycin is a potential cause however, this is a topical ointment not a drug you take system wide so side-effects will be reduced.

You may wish to use it sparingly. If any indication of hearing loss or increased tinnitus appears, discontinue immediately and consult with your doctor.

You may also wish to use Arches Tinnitus Formula at the same time. Pharmaceutical-grade ginkgo has been shown to prevent cochlear damage from ototoxic medications.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Did a cell phone or microwave cause my tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I have had tinnitus for about 2 months. I believe it has to do with the noise level in the factory I have worked in for 41 years. But, I have read that when a wireless smart meter is placed on some people’s homes they get tinnitus. I have plenty of EMF in my home from the microwave, wireless router, cell phones, iPads, smart meter etc. Now my wife has tinnitus and vertigo.

Any suggestions? Randall P.

Dear Randall,

Thank you for your message. The condition you refer to is known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity. This has been studied for years and no conclusive evidence has shown that this causes tinnitus. Nevertheless, people with subjective electromagnetic hypersensitivity, those who self-identified as being sensitive, had a higher percentage of tinnitus than control groups. The reasons for this remain unclear and it is possible that hypersensitive people share other conditions that may cause both electromagnetic hypersensitivity and tinnitus. This may be a good subject for a future article in Quiet Times Tinnitus Newsletter.

Not discounting your assertions, I believe working in a noisy factory for 41 years provides a much higher probability of causing your tinnitus than random electromagnetic radiation. Noise exposure is the single largest cause of tinnitus with fully 70% of tinnitus cases caused by continued exposure to loud noise.

Arches Tinnitus Formula should be helpful for both you and your wife. Clinical studies on pharmaceutical grade ginkgo (e.g. Ginkgo Max 26/7 found ATF) have shown it to reduce tinnitus and vertigo. Studies also show that starting treatment during early onset of tinnitus (within about 5 years) has better results than starting later.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus, Meds and Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Hi Barry,

What a great resource! I’ve sought out help from a very accredited ENT facility in town and have not found it. I’ve had tinnitus since the early 1980s from noise-induced haring loss due to involvement in rock bands.

As I’ve aged, my body’s ability to mask the tinnitus has greatly decreased, to where nowadays understanding my children’s speech (consonants) is difficult. It is very frustrating and saddening to me. I also have issues with meds which I believe are increasing my T, and am taking measures to resolve this.

In addition, due to nasal problems and excessive use of Valsalva technique and single-sided nose-blowing, I have torn my right eardrum several times. Right-side ear infections have also been common.

My question for you is: I can gently thrust my lower jaw forward and to the right and cause the high-frequency input of my right ear to greatly increase. My understanding of speech is greatly improved when I do this, but it is a bit uncomfortable and I do not hold my jaw there for any length of time. When I described this to my ENT, the response was basically, “don’t do that.”

What is actually happening here? Do I have a collapsed Eustachian tube? Am I shifting the position of my middle ear mechanism? Or possibly changing my scarred eardrum’s position to create better eardrum response?

Any help would be great, and would be a first.

Thanks very much! Scott

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your question. It’s very difficult for me to diagnose this from a distance. And, I’m not an ear doctor. I would hazard a guess that you may have a degree of conductive hearing loss as well as noise-induced hearing loss. It’s the conductive hearing loss you are affecting by moving your jaw.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when the sound is either blocked or not transmitted effectively to the inner ear. This can occur from Eustachian tube dysfunction, excessive earwax, damage to the eardrum or from otosclerosis, which is a fixing of the bones in the middle ear which conducts sound to the inner ear. This leads to an inappropriate bone growth around the base of the conducting bone. When the bones are fixed to their base, they don’t conduct as well. You can read about the difference between conductive and sensorineural hearing loss in our article Hearing Loss: An Overview.

You can also read about otosclerosis in our article titled Stapedectomy for Otosclerosis.

When you move your jaw you are re-aligning the mechanisms of the inner ear and their relationship to the Eustachian tube. This is improving your high frequency hearing. I cannot say what the exact action is that helps hearing but I believe this is encouraging. If you can find why you have conductive hearing loss, you should be able to treat it and have improvement.

Please note in the first article I linked to that an Audiologist can tell the difference between conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. I suggest you have an audiogram performed to look for conductive hearing loss. If you do have this, find an ENT who will work with you to determine the exact cause. Once found you can begin treatment.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Will an aspirin for the heart worsen my tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

New to tinnitus, 4 months. I read online that caffeine, aspirin and salt are bad for tinnitus sufferers.

I had heart surgery 10 years ago and have been taking 81mg aspirin daily. I have stopped taking aspirin.

Also I am getting headaches, what is best to take for a headache if not aspirin?

Thanks, Dan M.

Dear Dan,

An 81 mg aspirin is not going to hurt. It takes a lot more than that to aggravate tinnitus. Coffee may or may not be an issue. Most people who stop say it doesn’t change anything. Some say it does so you’ll have to be the judge.

The big problem is with salt. Salt constricts blood vessels, raising blood pressure and reducing flow. Salt can really increase tinnitus. If I have a salty meal, my tinnitus will increase for the rest of the day. You should reduce salt intake as much as possible.

The issue of pain relief for people with tinnitus is quite difficult. Please read our article on Pain Management and Tinnitus

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Benzo Withdrawal and Tinnitus

Dear Barry

I have had a case of tinnitus (ringing and a bit of hissing) mainly my left ear for the past three months.

Since January, I have been slowly withdrawing from lorazepam which I have been taking since 1997. I usually took three (sometimes two) 1 milligram tablets at night for sleep and anxiety. I am now down to half a tablet at night, and use melatonin for sleep (usually one 3 milligram tablet). I have read a fair amount about benzo withdrawal and tinnitus, and was wondering if you have any suggestions.

I don’t do particularly well with ginkgo biloba (It tends to “speed” me up a bit) because of high blood pressure issues.

I also wonder about TMJ issues and will soon talk to my dentist about it.

Thank you.
Michael W.

Dear Michael,

I’m sorry about your tinnitus. Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome is very real and must be conducted very slowly. The issue is that benzo medications fool the brain into thinking there is plenty of GABA so the brain stops manufacturing it. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for electrical inhibition in the brain. Without it glutamate, the excitatory neurotransmitter, predominates. Tinnitus is a side effect of excess glutamate. It takes a long time for the brain to reset itself and start producing GABA again.

One thing you can do is to start taking GABA supplements. These are very inexpensive and found in health food stores. A typical dose may be 750 mg twice daily. Be very careful as GABA can act like a benzo and produce a sedative effect. Be careful driving or operating equipment until you know how you react.

If 3 mg of melatonin is helpful for you, please continue with it. We offer Arches Tinnitus Sleep Formula which is a 10 mg time-release melatonin product which helps maintain healthy sleep throughout the night.

TMJ frequently causes tinnitus. Fortunately, it is treatable by a trained dentist in this field. A quick home test for this is to stand in front of a mirror, take some time and completely relax your face. Then slowly open your mouth. If you have TMJ, your mouth will most likely open somewhat sideways, it won’t be straight up or down. This is not an absolute test and some TMJ may be present even if your mouth opens straight. It’s fairly accurate though.

You can read more about TMJ Dysfunction and Tinnitus in our Tinnitus Library.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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, Lola

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.

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

Will ear plugs help sensitivity to noise?

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for over six years and I’m getting increasingly sensitive to loud “everything;” amplified music, loud speakers, clanking dishes and pots are the worst. They can bring me to my knees.

What is this called when the brain interferes with the ability to mitigate or dampen sound to something that is tolerable? My sensitivity is getting worse. I’ve worked with a doctor at a dizziness and hearing clinic and have given up on doing anything other than avoiding noise and wearing my Etymotic ear plugs whenever I need them. I even wear them in the steam room at my health club. Steam can be very loud.

Thanks, Tom L.

Dear Tom,

I’m sorry you have developed this condition. It is called hyperacusis and is the result of the brain not responding properly to incoming signals which causes loudness tolerance to collapse.

Wearing ear plugs to prevent hyperacusis from worsening is false security. Ear plugs can actually make hyperacusis worse. The practice allows people to develop a fear of sound and noise. The proper way to desensitize the ears is to provide them with sound therapy which will improve the threshold for sound tolerance over time. There are two primary ways to do this. One is with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and the other is with pink noise. Both of these take time but they are effective in reducing hyperacusis.

Please read our article on hyperacusis for more detailed information.

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.

Madelyn 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. This cannot be cured but can be helped by Arches Tinnitus Formulas. Audiological testing can determine the difference between the two. Please see our article on hearing loss, which explains this in more detail.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

A change in the weather… a change in tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

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

Jim R. Texas

Dear Jim,

Weather related changes are usually due to changing atmospheric pressure. This indicates you may have a sinus problem, 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. Please see our article on hearing loss that describes the differences.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Can Shingles Affect Tinnitus?

Hello Barry!

I recently found an Arches pamphlet among papers I got from my ENT a few years ago after having sinus surgery. I picked it up because I do have tinnitus. I’ve had it for some years and it hasn’t been too horrible.

In September I developed a pretty bad case of Shingles (I’m only 42 by the way) while recovering from discectomy and fusion of my c5-7 vertebrae. The Shingles affected my right ear and now I have hearing loss and intense tinnitus. It is horrible and is negatively impacting life.

I will be ordering your product soon. Have you come across any studies, success with your product, anything useful about improvement in tinnitus caused from Shingles? I am currently half way through a strong month-long prescription of the steroid prednisone from my ENT in hopes of repairing/preserving my nerve.

Thanks, in advance for any insight. Theresa I.

Dear Theresa,

I’m terribly sorry this happened to you but there is good news. Shingles is not a permanent problem and begins to scab over and clear up in 3 to 5 weeks. It definitely causes hearing loss and tinnitus but as the infection ebbs, hearing loss and tinnitus generally do also. About 95% of people who experience hearing loss due to shingles will have complete recovery of their hearing and tinnitus should abate.

Taking Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) should help this process along. Our proprietary Ginkgo Biloba extract used in ATF, Ginkgo Max 26/7 is known to help prevent damage to the cochlea and auditory nerve and should help in recovery. It should also calm the auditory nerve and lead to reduced tinnitus.

I wish you a speedy recovery and hope Arches Tinnitus Formula is a great help for you.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Facial Nerves Affected by Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus for two years. It has been intense and horrible. Why would a fan or refrigerator running or even my boiler running intensify it? Although I have had some relief in the overall intensity it still goes on 24/7. My right side of my face is in discomfort or pain most of the time especially when it is intense tinnitus. Why would something supposedly in my head effect nerves in my face?

Thank you, Brian B.

Dear Brian,

Structures in the head and neck frequently cause or influence tinnitus. I’m not an ear doctor and, even if I were, I cannot diagnose from an email. There are a few things here that may be at work. One is TMJ dysfunction, a misalignment of the jaw where it fits in with the skull at the temporo-mandibular joint. This is common after falls, accidents and sudden knocks on the head. One way you can see if this is the case is to stand in front of a mirror. Take some time to relax your face and body. Then slowly open your mouth. If it opens straight up and down, you probably don’t have this. But if it opens somewhat sideways, you do.

One place to start may be to consult a dentist specializing in TMJ. A local specialist can be found in the link at the end of the article. If this is not the case, a physical therapist may be able to help out.

Another possible cause is traumatic brain injury (TBI) or whiplash. Either of these can cause tinnitus and pain. This article is in two part; the second article on TBI can be seen here which discusses whiplash.

I hope you find relief. I feel if you can find the cause it will be treatable.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Teenage Tinnitus and Thyroid Issues


I have Hashimoto’s disease, which attacks the thyroid, and was recently diagnosed. My 15 year old daughter has been suffering with severe tinnitus since she was 12. She also has anxiety attacks. I had thought the anxiety might be exacerbating the tinnitus or vice versa. But now am wondering if thyroid could be the underlying cause of all of this? Do you see this much in adolescent girls?

Peggy H.

Dear Peggy,

I don’t know how often thyroid problems hit teenagers but I do know it is responsible for many tinnitus cases. Hypothyroidism is directly linked to tinnitus and, when the thyroid is treated, tinnitus reduces or disappears.

Stress and anxiety are the number 1 aggravator of existing tinnitus. Stress will take a level 2 or 3 tinnitus (on a scale of 10) and turn it into a 7 or 8 overnight. You must treat your daughter’s anxiety. There are numerous ways to do this. Please read our article on Stress and Tinnitus.

Back to hypothyroid. We also have an article about this that may be helpful. Your doctor will need to evaluate whether this is a problem for your daughter.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Heart disease and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

Is there any connection between tinnitus and heart disease?

Thank you,

Dear Irene,

The answer is yes. Cardiovascular disease and poor circulation can cause tinnitus because blood flow to the cochlea is reduced and the nerve cells responsible for hearing are not nourished properly.

Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 can be helpful for this condition. It has several actions that help reduce tinnitus. One of these is increased blood flow to the micro-capillaries that feed blood supply to the inner ear. You should not take it if you are on prescription blood thinners as Ginkgo biloba is also a mild blood thinner and they can be additive.

Provided you are not taking prescription blood thinners, Arches Tinnitus Formula should be helpful for your condition. It must be used for three months to get the full effect so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a three month supply.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The Hyperacusis Conundrum

Hola Barry,

Please, what can I use to help quell hyperacusis?

Thank you,
Ruben R.

Dear Ruben,

Hyperacusis is the collapse of sound tolerance by the brain. Everything sounds much louder than it really is. There is nothing you can take that will cure this. There are, however, several ways to bring it under control and reduce the discomfort. What you don’t want to do is avoid all sound, wear ear plugs or stay inside, avoiding sound. This provides a false security and leads to phonophobia, an overwhelming fear of sound.

Treatments such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and pink noise therapy can be helpful. Please see our article on hyperacusis and tinnitus for a complete overview.

Arches Tinnitus Formula can be helpful in lowering tinnitus, which often accompanies hyperacusis.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Diabetes and Hypothyroidism and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I have pretty bad tinnitus, hissing, roaring and I can hear every single heartbeat which is very distressing when I try to exercise because of the very loud heart pounding noise I hear.

I was on Metformin for diabetes, Metropolol for high blood pressure and Levythyroxin for my thyroid, all of which make the tinnitus worse or could have even caused it.

I want to know if there is anything for hypothyroid that I can take that will not affect tinnitus. Would the meds mentioned above (Thyrar, Nathroid, Westhroid), help without worsening it? One more question, I heard that there is a surgery for the “heartbeat tinnitus.” Is that true?

Thank you very much Barry.

Marcia H.

Dear Marcia,

Diabetes and Hypothyroid are both common causes of tinnitus so I believe they may be the initial triggers of yours. However, all the medications you are taking also have the potential to cause tinnitus. I would not advise you to discontinue any of them; that is a decision for you and your doctor. But, you should discuss this with your doctor and see if you have some alternatives.

Arches Tinnitus Formula can be helpful in reducing this type of tinnitus and reversing some of the ototoxic effects of the medications.

The thyroid medications you mention, Thyrar, Nathroid and Westhroid, are all considered to be Armour Thyroid products. They have been safely used since the 19th century and were only replaced when synthetic drugs came out. There are far fewer side effects from Armour Thyroid than the synthetics. I recommend you discuss with your doctor the potential of changing this. Here is an article on Thyroid Dysfunction and Tinnitus.

Hearing your heartbeat in your ear is called pulsatile tinnitus. This is caused by turbulent blood flow in an artery close to the cochlea or the nerves leading to the auditory cortex. There are many possible causes of this condition. If the exact cause can be found, there is generally a treatment for it. I hope this is helpful and you can reduce your tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Acid Reflux and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I was recently prescribed Omeprazol 20mg for GERD and I was finally sleeping through the night. But as a 20+ year tinnitus sufferer I noticed a huge spike in pitch after about the 4th day taking the drug. I then read Omeprazol can worsen tinnitus. Against my doctors wishes I stopped taking it and my tinnitus calmed back down after a couple of days.

My question: Will the use of your products allow me to continue the Omeprazol?

Thank you
Perry C.

Dear Perry,

I’m very sorry this happened to you. I know the discomfort of GERD (gastroesphageal reflux disease) and the severe heartburn it can cause. I have been taking omeprazol (trade name Prilosec) for years and, fortunately, it does not increase my tinnitus. It does for others however and you seem to be one of them. Taking Arches Tinnitus Formula may help keep the tinnitus down while you are using this medication.

Unfortunately, all medications for GERD have the potential to cause or worsen tinnitus. The real solution is to get to the root of the problem and prevent heartburn in the first place. Contrary to popular opinion, heartburn is not caused by an excess of stomach acid but by not having enough of it. Taking hydrochloric acid pills during meals can help but there are certain precautions you must take.

Neil Bauman, PhD, is an excellent source of knowledge about drugs that can cause tinnitus. He has a page on GERD and what can be done to reduce or eliminate it. He has listed 10 different strategies that can be utilized to combat GERD and everyone who has it should be aware of this.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Did car accident or blood pressure meds cause tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Reading your information on tinnitus is very informative. I developed tinnitus about 3-4 months after a car accident in which I was hit in the back. However, a “hearing clinic” said it probably is the blood pressure medication I was taking. I have since changed the medication to one that says it does not cause tinnitus.

My doctor put me on Amitriptyline saying that it will improve the tinnitus. I have only been on this for a few days. The doctor says the blood pressure tablets did not cause my tinnitus even though it does say that they do on the internet. She says that she cannot say what causes it. Please advise and help if you can help.

Yours Sincerely,

Elaine C.

Dear Elaine,

I agree with your doctor; the blood pressure medications probably did not cause tinnitus. Although there is the potential for this to happen, the odds are quite low. I believe it is the accident itself. TMJ dysfunction is a common result of whiplash and it can frequently cause tinnitus.

There are other treatment options for the tinnitus. Acupuncture can be helpful for it and Ginkgo biloba has been shown to be helpful. We also have an informative article on how head and neck injuries cause tinnitus.

You should be checked for TMJ dysfunction. Specialists in this area are dentists with advanced training in the field. At the bottom of the previously cited article on TMJ and tinnitus, there is a link to the American Academy of Cranio Facial Pain. Inside their website is a way to find a specialist in your area. A TMJ specialist will be able to tell you whether you have this or not. If you do, treatment can begin immediately. Almost all treatment options are painless and non-invasive.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Static in Her Ear

Hello Barry,

I have suffered with tinnitus for over 30 yrs. resulting from an inner ear infection. Until now I have adjusted and learned to live with the ringing. Recently, my right ear (only) has developed an intermittent, very harsh sound of static. This is very unlike any previous experience. No one, my MD or ENT specialist has an explanation or remedy. Have you heard of this symptom?

Thank you,

Kristi W.

Dear Kristi,

You may be experiencing Middle Ear Myoclonus in which a muscle inside the middle ear is in spasm. This can create several different kinds of sounds including something like static.

There are two muscles inside the ear. They are both attached to the bones of the middle ear that conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea. These muscles are protective; they tighten down when loud sounds are present and mute them. But when they are in spasm, they can create annoying sounds.

If this is the case, they can sometimes be heard by someone on the outside. An observant ENT may notice the eardrum vibrating.

There are several treatments for this including a hand pressure technique, anti-anxiety medications, acupuncture and biofeedback.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Hospital Roulette – What Caused Her Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

You helped me enormously last year when an MRI caused tinnitus. I recovered well thanks to taking your advice. Sadly, I have once again had a setback.

I was in hospital for a couple of days with severe abdominal pains eventually traced to my lower back problems. During that stay i was given oral morphine just once and two IV drips of paracetamol and one diclofenac rectally. I worried about their effects and refused codeine and more NSAIDs despite a lot of pain. The day after I returned home I noticed more tinnitus in my left ear which was very mild before and tinnitus in my right which I never had plus the return of the pressure sensation in my right.

I am so upset worried and don’t know which drug caused it or was it noise in the ward from bleeping monitors though to be honest it did not seem unduly loud. Have you any experience of others having this problem? I know I have not had a long duration of these meds but since my original acoustic trauma I have been very careful what I took but I was in severe pain.

I wanted if this was likely to be permanent or temporary of course no one can say for, sure but I know how knowledgeable you are on this subject. Also what can I do to help myself? I can even hear it over the TV which I never have before. It is not screaming but I seem to be sensitive to it.

I would appreciate any advice


Dear Veronica,

I’m very sorry for your pain and discomfort and hope it has been reduced or eliminated.

Opioids don’t cause tinnitus and paracetamol is just acetaminophen, the ingredient in Tylenol. Diclofenac lists tinnitus as a common side effect so I think this is the culprit here. Beeping monitors are not loud enough to cause hearing damage.

This is most likely a temporary condition and it should reduce over time. You can help it go down by taking antioxidants. I recommend Arches Tinnitus Formula, 4 capsules daily, and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). I don’t know if I recommended that after the MRI but NAC is a strong antioxidant and should help lower the sound level. NAC is very inexpensive and found in most health food stores. I would try 1,000 mg taken twice daily. Arches Tinnitus Formula will also help to lower the sound level. You may need to take both of these for a couple of months.

Whenever you take any unknown medication, it will be best if you use both of these beforehand. This will prevent toxic effects from the medication damage your hearing.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Tamiflu and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Unfortunately, I’ve come down with the flu and just started taking an oral anti-viral medication called Tamiflu. I also restarted your recommended anti-oxidant regimen of Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ubiquinol, and L Methionine, in addition to NAC and your Tinnitus Formula.

I have noticed my tinnitus being louder since starting Tamiflu.

Should the anti-oxidants give me protection from ototoxicity, and would you expect the level of my tinnitus to drop back to baseline after finishing the Tamiflu?

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely, David F.

Hi David,

I cannot find any reference to Tamiflu causing tinnitus. This doesn’t mean that it didn’t cause your increase; many side effects aren’t discovered for a long time. It does mean, though, that it is not a powerful ototoxic drug or that would have been discovered by now.

I think you are pretty safe from long-term damage if you continue with these anti-oxidants. Make sure you take 1,000 mg of NAC twice daily. Your tinnitus should decline after discontinuing the Tamiflu.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Can Rx ingredient related to an artificial sweetener cause tinnitus?


I have a question about phenylalanine. I know it is somehow related to aspartame, which is a neurotoxin.

My doctor recently gave me a new .25 mg oral dissolving tablet of clonazepam (klonopin) for use at bedtime, as it helps with night time panic attacks. I noticed on the tablet label that each dose also contains .56mg of phenylalanine.

I am concerned that this additional substance in the tablet could be aggravating my tinnitus. Is this something to be concerned about? Thanks!

Frank O.

Ellicott City, MD

Dear Frank,

Thank you very much for this question. It threw me initially and I had to investigate phenylalanine to find out just what it is. I still don’t know why the manufacturer included it with Klonopin but I have some information about it.

Aspartate and glutamate are both excitatory neurotransmitters. They are necessary for proper brain function but become dangerous when they predominate over the inhibitory neurotransmitters, primarily GABA.

Aspartame is made by the combination of aspartate and phenylalanine. Both are released during metabolism of aspartame. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. This means it is necessary for protein formation but cannot be manufactured in the body and must be obtained through food sources or by supplementation. Food sources for this are protein rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and beans.

In the body, phenylalanine is converted to another amino acid, tyrosine, which, in turn, is converted to dopamine and norepinephrine. These are key neurotransmitters that transmit signals between nerve cells.

Because some antidepressants work by raising levels of norepinephrine, phenylalanine has been tried as a possible treatment for depression. This may be why it is included with Klonopin.

Phenylalanine is available as a dietary supplement. NOW Foods offers it in a 500 mg capsule and suggests taking 1-3 capsules daily. The claim is it increases neurotransmitters that have anti-depressant qualities.

I think taking a small dose of phenylalanine with Klonopin will be fine and will not increase tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Singing in the Ears

Hi Barry,

I have experienced tinnitus over a decade. Thunderous noise and high pitched whistle. Also I have had hyperacusis since youth and now have sensorineural hearing loss which is worsening. Suddenly three months ago I developed never-ending songs, musical rhythms, marching bands and male voice choirs in the temporal and parietal lobes. The volume varies from very loud to tolerable and tunes and rhythms change quite often.

The only factor which seems to be involved is stress, hurrying, panicking increases the sound but meditation, relaxation does not seem to function to quieten it. Have you any other suggestions how I can obtain a few minutes peace during the day and at night.

Thank you for your help.
Yvonne H.

Dear Yvonne,

Stress is the number-one aggravator of tinnitus, or whatever else bothers us, and will always make it worse.

The songs, rhythms and choirs you hear are called Musical Ear Syndrome. This almost always happens in those who have significantly impaired hearing. If the brain doesn’t get enough audio stimulation it makes up for it by creating or remembering other sounds. This can be helped by making sure you have enough sound input to put the brain to rest.

Your tinnitus can be helped with Arches Tinnitus Formula. It has been shown in clinical trials to be helpful for the majority of people who use it. It is especially helpful for those who have hearing loss accompanying their tinnitus. In this case we have a 75% to 80% success rate in reducing tinnitus loudness. It must be used for at least three months (four bottles) to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three month supply at a $20 reduction below retail.

I hope this is helpful.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Napping Tinnitus?

Hi Barry:

I have had tinnitus for over 4 years. I think I am dealing with it despite the constant noise, ringing, and hissing. I have sought help with local ENT ‘s and the results have not been remarkable.

My question to you, and I know this may sound very strange, is about an increase noise level after dozing off in the afternoon hours. If I sit down to read or watch television around 4:00 PM and let myself take a very short nap when I wake up the sound is very much elevated. Have you ever heard of this in the past and what would cause this to happen? I almost feel silly relating this to anyone, but it has happened time and again. It usually lasts until I get a good night’s sleep and the next morning the sound is back to its normal level. I guess the answer would be just don’t doze off! I just wondered if you had any insight as to the cause.

Rob J.

Dear Rob,

When people have tinnitus that worsens with position, such as a nap, it is considered somatic tinnitus. This is where signals from the body interfere with audio signals and affect tinnitus. The two most common causes of somatic tinnitus are TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction and spasm of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). TMJ dysfunction occurs when the jaw is out of alignment with the skull. The SCM is a large muscle in the neck which helps turn the head. It starts below the ear and goes down to the neck area. Both are treatable conditions.

It may be when you take a nap, you are aggravating one of these conditions. If your head falls back it will stretch the SCM or stress the TMJ. One thing you may try is this: Instead of falling asleep in your chair, when you feel sleepy lay down on a couch or bed. This way you are mimicking the way you sleep and, hopefully, will not wake up to increased tinnitus.

TMJ can be treated by a dentist familiar with the condition. Spasm of the SCM can be treated by a physical therapist or by using a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit. These are fairly inexpensive and used extensively in hospitals to relax spasming muscles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Dental Drills and Tinnitus


I have hyperacusis causing me to be very sensitive to noise. Is there a noise cancellation option (other than musician ear plugs) to aid with sound reduction so I can tolerate dental work drilling?

Thank you,
Heidi G.

Dear Heidi,

Hyperacusis or extreme sensitivity to sound can be a very thorny issue. Unfortunately, no noise cancellation technique, including ear plugs, will help dampen drills used in dental work. The sound is directly transmitted to the ear through bone conduction, which nothing can stop. The correct way to ensure hearing safety is to ask the dentist to take breaks every five seconds or so. The hair cells in the cochlea will be stressed by the drilling but not killed. They will have a chance to recuperate during the breaks. Please see our article Dental Issues and Tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Parkinson’s Disease and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Can tinnitus cause Parkinson’s disease? My husband has been treated for tinnitus for the last seven years and has hearing aids, but still gets tinnitus bad. Now he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Thank you,
Teresa S.

Dear Teresa,

Tinnitus does not cause Parkinson’s disease but they may be related. Excess glutamate in the auditory pathway causes glutamate excitotoxicity, which leads to tinnitus and other neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s. This relationship is outlined in our article on the basics of tinnitus.

Also, several years ago researchers were experimenting with implanted brain electrodes to control serious Parkinson’s symptoms. They found they could reduce the spasms of Parkinson’s and those patients who also had tinnitus experienced relief from the ringing sound. So the areas of the brain affected by both are very close together.

To date, there has been no causative relationship proven between the two conditions but treating one can often positively affect the other.

Arches Tinnitus Formula contains Ginkgo Max 26/7®, our trademarked ginkgo extract. This proprietary extract is high in bilobalide, a glutamate antagonist, so important for the reduction of tinnitus noise. It will probably be very helpful for your husband’s tinnitus and may help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. It should be used along with any medication prescribed by his neurologist.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Inner Ear Infection Spikes Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Have you heard about the condition vestibular neuritis? My tinnitus got so loud that I had an episode of acute vestibulitis, had you heard of anyone experiencing this?

Thank you,
Karen A.

Dear Karen,

Vestibular neuritis is an infection of the vestibular nerve. This commonly affects balance but generally does not include tinnitus. Labyrinthitis is a related infection of both the vestibular and cochlear nerve that affects balance and commonly does cause tinnitus. You most likely have labyrinthitis.

These infections are usually viral, not bacterial. They can be related to systemic infections in the whole body. These include herpes, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and some others. There are no specific tests to diagnose either of these conditions so diagnosis is usually made by examining the symptoms. Because the symptoms of these conditions can mimic other medical problems, a thorough examination is usually conducted to rule out other causes, such as stroke, head injury, cardiovascular disease, allergies, neurological disease and anxiety.

When other conditions have been ruled out, medications are often used to control balance issues, anxiety and nausea.

Most people will have resolution of the infection after a few weeks. It is possible the infection can hide for some time and come back later but, if it is treated successfully, no permanent damage occurs.

You should see an ENT specialist to formally diagnose and treat this condition.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Drug-Induced Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Please help! I am new to tinnitus. Is it possible that excitotoxicity/ototoxic tinnitus can fade with time? I’ve had this affliction, due to ibuprofen, for a month. Please respond when possible!

Thank you,
Chris V.

Dear Chris,

I’m sorry this happened to you. There is some good news that I’ll outline.

1 – Ototoxic means that the medication is toxic to the ears, specifically the hair cells in the cochlea that change vibrational sound to electrical signals. These hair cells do not die immediately but become weakened. Over time, if the toxicity is continued, they will die. If the toxicity is removed, they have the chance to recover. While ibuprofen does have the capacity to cause tinnitus, it is not extremely ototoxic and hopefully the damage to your ears will recover. This may take some time but there’s a good chance it will resolve or at least settle down at a lower level.

2 – The initial onset of tinnitus can be very stressful. The stress contributes to tinnitus and makes it sound much louder than it otherwise would. Over time, many people emotionally adjust to the idea of having tinnitus and the very adjustment makes for a reduction in the sound level. It is very important to try to reduce stress and be accepting of tinnitus without giving in to anxiety or depression. I know this is difficult in the early stages but it will make a significant, and positive, difference.

3 – In the event it is chronic, there are strategies to help cope with tinnitus. There are several therapies that can help you relax and reduce tinnitus. Stress reduction techniques include exercise, relaxation techniques, biofeedback and hypnotherapy. All of these have been clinically shown to reduce tinnitus and are outlined in our article.

4 – Arches Tinnitus Formula has also been shown in clinical studies to reduce tinnitus loudness for the great majority of people who use it. It can take up to three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a three month supply of four bottles. You can purchase them individually but the price of the Starter Kit is significantly reduced from the single bottle price, you save on shipping, and you don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three month period.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus resolves or reduces to a point where it is no longer bothersome.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Sudden Burst of Sound Affects Entire Head

Hi Barry,

I experienced a loud burst of sound in my right ear and when it occurred and I went directly to an ENT specialist. He informed me that I experienced nerve damage and nothing could be done to eliminate the resultant tinnitus. Overall the sound is of low intensity however of greater concern is the muffled dull sensation I have in and around the ear. It feels like I have clogged ear passages as if I was suffering from a head cold. When driving and going over bumps I actually get a jolt of noise in my ear. Very bothersome.

Would you know what is causing the congestive feeling and which of your products might relieve this clogged sensation. Note I am on day two following the unfortunate incident. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Rob A.

Dear Rob,

It’s difficult to diagnose this after an ENT has offered no help. However, it seems to me you may be experiencing Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), which is often accompanied by a loud “pop” or other noise, followed by muffled hearing and ear fullness. About 1/3 of these patients completely recover, another 1/3 have partial recovery and 1/3 do not recover.

I think it is imperative you begin Arches Tinnitus Formula immediately. The first ten days are crucial to recovery. Clinical studies show Arches Tinnitus Formula is very helpful for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss. Approximately 75% to 80% of those patients have a significant reduction in sound levels or full recovery. It can take up to three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full 100 day supply of four bottles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus Troubles Times 2

Hello Barry,

Thank you for your article on tinnitus. Very helpful. I have pulsatile tinnitus which developed about six years ago. I believe it was occurred from whiplash. After I went to a chiropractor who maneuvered my neck and made it worse (louder). Throughout the years I would also grind my teeth and developed TMJ which I’ve learned to control.

I got a hearing tests and according to the audiologist, my tinnitus was from hearing loss (33%). But I really believe my tinnitus is from whiplash. I am now 62 and still looking for some relief. What do you suggest?

Thank you,
Florence M.

Dear Florence,

You may have two different contributors to your tinnitus. If you have hearing loss, this is the largest cause of tinnitus among sufferers. About 80% of people with tinnitus have it due to hearing loss. Arches Tinnitus Formula has been clinically shown to reduce tinnitus sound levels for the great majority of these people. Please see our article Do You Suffer from Tinnitus?

Pulsatile tinnitus is totally different and always due to turbulent blood flow rather than smooth blood flow. The causes of this are numerous but it can be treated successfully. It is necessary to know the exact cause for treatment to be effective. A vascular surgeon is the specialist to see for this. Please see our article on pulsatile tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Throbbing Tinnitus


This morning really frightened me. I woke up with my heartbeat throbbing in my left ear very loudly, which is normally not too bad. My right ear is screaming and whistling as I type this. I think my hearing is now being affected. I took a Xanax and the left ear subsided a bit but the right is very bad. Is this typical of tinnitus? I’ve had it for 20+ years and never came close to this morning’s event. It changes sound frequently but not to the extent of filling my whole head. How bad can it get?

Thank you,
Diane M.

Dear Diane,

I’m very sorry this happened; it must be frightening. Pulsatile tinnitus is always due to turbulent blood flow in an artery or vein close to the cochlea. There are many possible causes of this, among which are; increased pressure on cerebrospinal fluid due to hypertension, atherosclerosis and hyperthyroidism. The proper specialist to see is a vascular surgeon who can examine the entire vascular system to find the cause.

The fact you took a Xanax and it helped may indicate hypertension as the cause of your pulsatile tinnitus.

You mention that your tinnitus changes sound frequently. I don’t know what this means. I don’t think you mean it changes frequency, probably just loudness. If it changes frequency, that is a different type of tinnitus. If it changes sound level often, it may be a form of somatic tinnitus. This is when signals from the body interfere with auditory signals and cause or worsen tinnitus. Somatic signals can originate in muscle spasm in the head or neck, dental problems or TMJ, where the jaw is misaligned with the skull at the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). Any of these will cause tinnitus to fluctuate in intensity. It is possible you slept differently last night and twisted your neck.

Stress is also a huge aggravator of tinnitus. If you can relax you may find the sounds decrease.

I hope this is helpful and your bad morning improves greatly.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

WiFi Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Over the last two years I’ve had a sudden onset of tinnitus. I am 61. I’ve noticed that I’ve also become sensitive to WiFi frequencies. Is there a relationship?


Dear Rockne,

This is a unique and interesting question; thanks for sending it in.

There is a major controversy over whether or not some people are sensitive to radio and Wi-Fi frequencies and develop symptoms from the radiation. The condition is referred to as Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Hypersensitivity. Symptoms include, but are not limited to; tinnitus, insomnia, vertigo, cognitive impairment, loss of memory and concentration and cardiac effects such as arrhythmia and tachycardia. Tinnitus is reported by the majority of self-described sensitive people.

Some systematic reviews of studies show participants claim to suffer from EMF Hypersensitivity but are not able to distinguish between when electromagnetic radiation is present and when it is not. Numerous individual clinical studies differ completely and document that people are able to distinguish radiation presence and symptoms can be turned on and off by the radiation.

I am skeptical of systematic reviews. They do not allow the investigator insight into the methods used in individual studies and these methods differ significantly. If these studies are conducted in hospitals or clinics, the presence of electromagnetic radiation is surely universal. Hospital equipment abounds with devices radiating radio frequencies. Everything from electrical equipment, electrical wiring, video monitors, all emit these frequencies. How then are people who suffer from EMF Hypersensitivity to distinguish between background radiation and that used in the trial. We simply don’t know. Studies of this nature need to be conducted far away from any contamination from radiation.

I personally believe there is enough evidence to support the fact that there are people sensitive to this radiation and they need to avoid it whenever possible. If you believe you are sensitive try turning off TVs, receivers and monitors when not in use, changing the home Wi-Fi system to wired Ethernet, not engaging anything with Bluetooth connectivity, not using a microwave oven, and using the speakerphone on your cell rather than holding it up to your ear. Studies indicate that symptoms should disappear as the electromagnetic radiation is reduced or eliminated.

This will be the subject of our next article in the March 2017 issue of Quiet Times.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

How to determine if Tinnitus is caused by sinus issues or ear problems


How can I tell if the ringing in my ears is from sinus or ear problems?


Chris A.

Dear Chris,

Thanks for sending in this question. It is a very important one and deserves a close look.

Hearing loss is most likely the cause of your tinnitus. There are two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted through the eardrum and the small bones in the middle ear to the cochlea. The most common causes of conductive hearing loss are: fluid in the middle ear from colds, allergies or infection; otosclerosis, perforated eardrum, or impacted earwax.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea or to the auditory nerves that connect the inner ear to the brain. This happens in the majority of cases of hearing loss. The most prevalent causes of sensorineural hearing loss are: noise exposure, ototoxic drugs, viruses, various diseases, head trauma, aging and tumors.

The two can be distinguished by means of an audiogram. This article link shows audiograms from fluid build-up in the middle ear, age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss. It clearly shows the differences in these three conditions.

So, you can tell what is happening by visiting an ear doctor or an audiologist and have a hearing test conducted. Then you can look at treatment options.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Disc surgery, Shingles and then Tinnitus

Hello Barry!

I recently found an Arches pamphlet among my ENT papers from a few years ago after having sinus surgery. I picked it up because I do have tinnitus. I’ve had it for some years and it hasn’t been too horrible. In September I developed a pretty bad case of Shingles (I’m only 42 by the way) while recovering from discectomy for a herniated disc and fusion of my c5-7 vertebrae.

The shingles affected my right ear and now I have hearing loss and intense tinnitus. It is horrible and is negatively impacting life. I will be ordering your product soon.

Have you come across any studies, success with your product, or anything useful about improvement in tinnitus caused from Shingles. I am currently half way through a strong month-long prescription of the steroid prednisone from my ENT in hopes of repairing and preserving my nerve.

Thanks, in advance for any insight.

Theresa I.

Dear Theresa,

I’m terribly sorry this happened to you but there is good news. Shingles is not a permanent problem and begins to scab over and clear up in 3 to 5 weeks. It definitely causes hearing loss and tinnitus but as the infection ebbs, hearing loss and tinnitus generally do also. About 95% of people who experience hearing loss due to shingles will have complete recovery of their hearing and tinnitus should abate.

Taking Arches Tinnitus Formula should help this process along. Our higher potency Ginkgo biloba in ATF is known to help prevent damage to the cochlea and auditory nerve and should help in recovery. It should also calm the auditory nerve and lead to reduced tinnitus.

I wish you a speedy recovery and hope Arches Tinnitus Formula is a great help for you.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Did hip replacement cause tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus for about a year now. I have been taking Paxil for many years, so I don’t think it’s from the Paxil. In September of 2016 I found out that I have a toxic level of cobalt in my system from a metal on metal hip replacement. Once I get a revision done and the cobalt is gone will the tinnitus get better or is it irreversible?

I thank you for any information you can find out for me. Sometimes I feel like it is driving me crazy.


Gayle P.G.

Dear Gayle,

I did a little research and found that cobalt does indeed cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Cobalt can be chelated out of the system. Perhaps that is what you mean by a revision. There is no research I can find about whether or not tinnitus is reduced after chelation, or revision. If you have sensorineural hearing loss from the cobalt, this means nerve damage and is probably permanent. One way to find out is by having an audiologist give you a hearing test. Audiograms can tell if the hearing loss is there and, if so, if it is sensorineural or caused by something else. Our article, Hearing Loss: An Overview will show you how the audiograms differ and what they mean.

Even if it is sensorineural hearing loss, there are many therapies that can be helpful. Millions of us have this condition. I developed sensorineural hearing loss from loud noise in the military and have had tinnitus for the last 50 years. Most people adapt to a certain degree and over time the tinnitus doesn’t bother them as much. Please know that the stress caused by tinnitus is the greatest aggravator of it and will always make it worse. If stress can be reduced, tinnitus is reduced.

Helpful therapies include acupuncture, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy. You can read about these therapies in our Tinnitus Library. There is a search engine there where you can look up the articles.

Arches Tinnitus Formula was developed specifically for tinnitus caused by sensorineural hearing loss and has been clinically shown to be helpful for the great majority of these patients. It can be used in conjunction with any of the above therapies. It takes up to three months to get the full benefit of the product so we recommend the Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a three-month supply.

Another article, The Science Behind the Product discusses the exact scientific basis of Arches Tinnitus Formula and how it works.

I hope this is helpful for you and you can reduce the sound level.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Did spinal fluid leak cause his tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Are you familiar with Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension causing hearing loss and tinnitus?


Dear David,

As you probably know, Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension (SIH) refers to a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid. If the fluid and resulting pressure impact the vestibular canals in the inner ear, hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus can occur.

SIH is quite rare, occurring in 1 in 50,000 people per year. It can be brought on by connective tissue disorders, trauma, even vigorous exercise. In most cases, however, the cause is unknown. Many cases spontaneously resolve. If not, medical management that includes bed rest, caffeine restriction and oral hydration may be sufficient to reduce symptoms.

Medical procedures such as an epidural blood patch or another type of fibrous sealant can be used to close the area of leakage. Surgical repair is rarely required.

After resolution of the leak, abnormalities improve within days to weeks. Hearing loss and tinnitus should also decrease.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Plucking ear hair cause tinnitus?

Hey Barry,

I recently had an ear infection, and I am type 2 diabetic. A few days after the infection, I had some outer ear hairs plucked out, and since developed tinnitus, I did have hard wax in the ear, which has now been removed, I still have tinnitus, in that ear.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Jeff O.

Dear Jeff,

I don’t think having hairs plucked will cause tinnitus. You may still have some infection in the middle ear. This will cause tinnitus but it should clear as the infection goes away.

On the other hand, Type II Diabetes is also a major cause of tinnitus. One study showed at least 84% of people with tinnitus had a sugar metabolism issue, either insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes, or diabetes itself. When they went on a diet suitable for diabetics, the great majority had improvement or complete resolution of their tinnitus over a 2-year period.

Here’s an article on how insulin resistance and diabetes cause tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Pain in the neck tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I have been suffering from neck pain and stiffness off and on for several years. Movement of my head and neck in certain positions turn ringing in my right ear on and off. Recently, the Tinnitus had been more frequent, louder, and sometimes last for up to 2 days continuously. These events are always accompanied by stiff neck and sometimes pain in the neck, base of the skull, and the jaw. I’m trying to find a specialist in my area (Los Angeles, CA) who can help me.

Daniel E.

Dear Daniel,

There are a couple of problems that could be causing this. You mention jaw pain. This is often caused by TMJ dysfunction, where the jaw is out of alignment with the skull. Tinnitus is a common side effect of TMJ. A dentist knowledgeable in the field can pretty easily determine if you have or don’t have TMJ. If you do, a simple bite guard usually helps re-align the jaw and reduces symptoms.

The other possibility is you have suffered whiplash sometime in the past. This knocks the top two vertebrae, C1 and C2, out of alignment. This can impinge on the hearing nerve and cause tinnitus. It can also cause a stiff neck. In this case, an Upper Cervical Chiropractor can help. Do not rely on a regular chiropractor. Upper Cervical specialists have extra training in this.

There are many Upper Cervical Chiropractors and knowledgeable dentists in the LA area. I’m sure you can find competent people there.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

“Heady” condition leads to questions of tinnitus

Hey Barry,

I’ve experienced sudden reduced hearing, with pressure in both ears, and a continuous whining, buzzing and hissing. I have a headache, and an overall “head” condition that is busy and unpleasant. Is this likely to be tinnitus or something else?

Thank you,
John O.

Dear John,

This sounds like it may be Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) which causes hearing loss, a feeling of fullness, and sometimes vertigo.

It is important to get treatment as soon as possible. Many people recover from this, some partially recover and others not at all. It is best if it’s treated within 10 days of onset. I advise you to begin taking N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) immediately in the dosage of 1,000 mg taken twice daily. NAC is an inexpensive antioxidant found in most health food stores. It helps protect nerves and neural pathways in the auditory system.

You should also begin using Arches Tinnitus Formula, Arches Stress Formula and Arches B12 Formula. These three products combine in Arches Combo Pack. They have been found in clinical studies to provide nutrients that support the underlying conditions leading to this condition and can reverse it in many cases.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Non-aneurysm bleeding leads to constant ringing

Hi Barry,

About six weeks ago I suffered a non-aneurysm bleed near my cerebellum and brainstem. I’m recovering, but two weeks after the bleed hit I started getting a ringing tone in my ear. Since then it’s progressed to a high pitched ring in my right ear, buzzing in my head and a low pitched ring in my left ear. The ringing is constant. I’ve been going crazy ever since. A month of this has put me on edge.

I’ve gone to a chiropractor and acupuncturist for help but neither has proven successful. I’m considering cranial sacro-therapy as well. I feel my situation is a more unusual case given this is a rare bleed/occurance, so any guidance for someone in my position would be appreciated.


Dear Kat,

An aneurysm, as you probably know, is a weakening of an artery, usually in the brain, that leads to a large bulge in the artery wall. If the bulge ruptures, it is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. People with non-aneurysmic bleeding have a much better prognosis than those with a ruptured aneurysm. About 20% of those with non-aneurysmic bleeding suffer from hearing loss, which generally causes tinnitus.

The hearing loss and tinnitus may be caused by increased pressure on the auditory or vestibular nerves. Hopefully, when this pressure abates the tinnitus will reduce as well.

I don’t think you are a candidate for Arches Tinnitus Formula as the Ginkgo biloba in the formula is a mild blood thinner. This may increase the risk of further bleeding.

Craniosacral therapy involves the gentle manipulation of the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum. The object is to reduce pressure and alleviate pain and dysfunction. This may be a good therapy to try. I should caution that the bleed must be healed before trying this. There is a slight chance that it could be affected by the slight pressure changes brought on by craniosacral therapy.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Car crash Tinnitus?

Hi Barry

I was involved in a (car) collision in November 2014. I did have some upper back/neck pain. In February 2015, I developed tinnitus. I was examined by an ENT in December 2015 with no obvious cause. Since then, I have also developed a fullness in my ears. Could the collision have caused the tinnitus or is it just coincidental?

Eva C.

Dear Eva,

Yes, your collision probably did cause your tinnitus. There are two ways it may have happened.

1 – You had whiplash. This knocks the top two vertebrae, C1 and C2 out of balance. They can impinge on hearing nerves causing tinnitus. In this case an upper cervical chiropractor can be helpful. These are specialists in the upper cervical area and should not be confused with regular chiropractors.

2 – The impact caused TMJ dysfunction. This happens when the jaw is out of alignment with the skull and can be the result of accidents. In this case a dentist familiar with TMJ can be helpful. They will give you a mouth guard that re-aligns the jaw and skull.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Teeth Grinding Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

My ears have been ringing for almost 2 years. I know I do grind my teeth, and I know I still have wisdom teeth that I think are the cause of my ear ringing. Should I have my wisdom teeth pulled? Does it mean I have an infection because my ears are ringing or as long as I can bear it I’ll be okay health-wise?

Matt M.

Dear Matt,

Grinding your teeth is most probably the cause of your tinnitus. This is called bruxism and it is one of the primary causes of Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction. TMJ will usually cause tinnitus. The good news is, bruxism is a habit and as such, it can be unlearned. There are several therapies to reduce the clenching or grinding of teeth that are pretty effective.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Aspirin or Xanax Cause Her Tinnitus?

Hello Barry,

I take Xanax, 1 mg at night for sleep for the past seven years. I also take 81mg of aspirin (14 months) for my heart. Will it cause buzzing in the ears? I haven’t been diagnosed yet, though the pharmacist said aspirin can cause tinnitus. I see an ENT in one week. I am scared.

Lisa C.

Dear Lisa,

An 81 mg aspirin taken daily will not cause tinnitus. It takes a lot more aspirin to actually cause it.

Xanax, on the other hand, commonly cause tinnitus in up to 10% of people who use it. There are other dangers as well. Xanax is addicting and causes dependence. Over a period of time, you must take a higher dosage to get the same effect. If you do not increase the dosage you can actually be withdrawing from it at the same time you are taking it.

Withdrawal from Xanax and other benzodiazepine medications often causes tinnitus and numerous other neurological conditions. It must be withdrawn from at a very slow rate to minimize the side effects. Here is an article on Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Shingles caused Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for 18 months now ever since getting shingles. I had shingles on my left hand side and my tinnitus is in my left ear, I have also lost part of my hearing on that side as well. None of the doctors I have consulted agree on the cause of my tinnitus which is so frustrating as I know for a fact that it was the shingles virus that caused the damage.

My ear drum felt weird three days after my shingles diagnosis and the tinnitus just erupted in that ear. It really is so unbearable as it’s such a screeching sound. Please let me know if people have had an operation to cure this, I’m more than happy to lose the remaining 80% of my hearing on that side.

Thanks in anticipation Barry.

Dear Jillian,

I’m very sorry to hear this. Shingles that affects the ear is known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This can cause pain, hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus.

You do not want to have surgery to cut the auditory nerve. People have done this and lost their hearing but had the tinnitus remain. Then tinnitus is the only thing they hear.

Arches Tinnitus Formula may help to reduce the sounds. It 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

Cardio Event Causes Tinnitus


Will anything help if tinnitus appeared after a CVA?


Dear Starr,

Ginkgo biloba may help. CVA refers to Cardiovascular Accident, usually an ischemic stroke, where blood supply is cut off to an area of the brain. This damages neurons and can cause numerous neurological side effects, such as tinnitus.

A clinical study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebral Vascular Disease shows ginkgo “protects against stroke-related neurological deficits in human subjects.”

Our pharmaceutical-grade Ginkgo Max 26/7® is a primary ingredient in Arches Tinnitus Formula. It should not be taken with prescription blood thinners, such as Coumadin, without the prescribing physician’s understanding and approval. If a prescription blood thinner is being taken, it can be reduced to compensate for the blood thinning effects of ginkgo. There are no other interactions besides being additive.

Ginkgo is great brain food. It should be taken for at least three months to get the full benefit. We recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full 100 day supply of four bottles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Lyme Disease and Pulsatile Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

A family member has tinnitus as a result of Lyme disease. I understand the implication of inflammation. She has pulsatile tinnitus hearing her blood flow with no hearing loss thankfully. Can you recommend what supplements and in what amounts and or name brands would be beneficial.

Many thanks for your time.
Randy R.

Dear Randy,

Lyme disease often causes tinnitus. This is the first time I’ve heard of it causing pulsatile tinnitus, which is due to turbulent blood flow.

Fortunately, there is a new treatment for Lyme disease. It involves the use of Stevia extract, the plant based sugar substitute. Initial studies show the extract kills the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease more effectively than antibiotics. See an article on Lyme disease and this new treatment.

Hopefully, this new treatment will resolve the pulsatile tinnitus. If not, you should send your family member to a vascular surgeon for diagnosis. Once the exact cause of the turbulence is found, cure rates are high. Here’s an article on pulsatile tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus and Parkinson’s

Hello Barry,

The doctors think I may have Parkinson’s disease. I have loud ringing in my ears and it feels like electric shocks in my head at times especially when I stand up … so much so that I sometimes fall to the floor. Is there a relationship with tinnitus and Parkinson’s?

Best regards,
David J.

Dear David,

This is a very interesting question. Parkinson’s disease and tinnitus seem to operate on different neural pathways but there are similarities. Parkinson’s disease is due to insufficient dopamine in the brain, while tinnitus is due to insufficient GABA. Both are neurotransmitters that operate on different brain receptors so, superficially, there is no connection.

However, there can be an underlying connection. Many years ago scientists were studying deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s. This involves the placement of electrodes in the brain that stimulate the motor neurons to reduce symptoms. They found that those Parkinson’s patients who also had tinnitus reported their tinnitus symptoms significantly reduced when the electrodes were powered on. Deep brain stimulation is now routinely used for advanced Parkinson’s disease and should help tinnitus also.

Also, researchers in Taiwan recently studied 5,000 patients over the age of 65 with hearing loss. They compared them with 20,000 people without hearing loss. They found the people with hearing loss were 1.77 times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease than those without hearing loss. The researchers stated that dopamine, the absence of which causes Parkinson’s, helps protect the cochlea from noise exposure. Inadequate dopamine can thus lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.

So, the two conditions are different but somewhat intertwined. Parkinson’s can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus but doesn’t need to if dopamine medication is taken.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Motrin, Tinnitus and a Knock on the Head

Hi Barry,

I am age 62. On Jan 9th I had a fall on ice where my feet went out from under me in front causing me to strike the back of my head on the steps of the semi-truck tractor I had been driving. I hurt my neck and upper back.

I am taking up to 2400 mg of Motrin a day while doing PT at a clinic. I’ve had tinnitus as a result of the concussion. Is the use of Motrin going to make it permanent? I have trouble sleeping because of this.

James L.

Dear James,

Unfortunately, Motrin (ibuprofen) can cause tinnitus. It also causes hearing loss, which leads to tinnitus. My own personal experience is even a low dose Motrin causes my tinnitus to spike. I use Tylenol when I need pain relief. That also presents a problem because Tylenol is essentially liver poison and too much of it can be life threatening. Tylenol must be used at a dosage that is no higher than that listed on the label. This is an upper limit of 3,000 mg per day.

Most NSAID pain relievers have the possibility of causing tinnitus. This does not mean everyone who uses them will get tinnitus but the potential is there. Other methods of pain relief include acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga and topical capsaicin. You may want to read our article on safe and effective pain management for people living with tinnitus.

An upper cervical chiropractor may be helpful for your tinnitus. During injuries like whiplash, hearing nerves can become pinched by the upper vertebrae. An upper cervical chiropractor can relieve this pressure and reduce tinnitus. Upper cervical chiropractors are a specialist in the chiropractic field and should not be confused with regular chiropractors.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I have tinnitus and need a cure.

Gary A.

Dear Gary,

There are many potential causes of tinnitus. The most common one is hearing loss due to age, noise exposure, toxic medications or explosive event. This accounts for up to 85% of all tinnitus cases. It is called sensorineural hearing loss and, unfortunately, there is no cure for this type of tinnitus. It is due to nerve damage in the cochlea,

There are also other causes of tinnitus. Some of these may be disease conditions, while others relate to TMJ dysfunction, bruxism, or pinched nerves in the upper neck. These can be treated and the tinnitus can be greatly reduced or cured.

For the great majority of people with tinnitus there is no cure. There are several treatments which can reduce the annoyance and anxiety of tinnitus or reduce the tinnitus sound level. These treatments are available from a variety of therapists and include biofeedback, mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and some sound therapies. Articles on other therapies can be found in our Tinnitus Library as well.

For most people who have hearing loss-induced tinnitus, Arches Tinnitus Formula can be very helpful. Darius Kohan, MD, a highly regarded ENT physician in New York City, has stated that Arches Tinnitus Formula works to lower sound levels in 75% to 80% of these people.

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

Tinnitus Times Three

Hi Barry,

I am diabetic for over 30 years. I took Bumetamide water pill for six months a few years ago. I have used both Cialis and Viagra for around eight years off and on. I also have consumed a great amount of diet soda 40 years. Any of these might cause tinnitus. Is it most probable regardless of what I do, this problem will stay with me or get worse?

Jim – age 75

Dear Jim,

You are correct that most of what you have consumed can cause tinnitus. Bumetamide is a “loop” diuretic and these medications frequently cause tinnitus. I don’t know if it caused yours but it’s too late to do anything about it. Cialis and Viagra can cause tinnitus, but the incidence is low. For most people, they will not cause it.

I think the real problems here, and something that can be managed, is your Type 2 Diabetes and use of diet sodas. Diabetes is a common cause of tinnitus. One study showed between 82% and 94% of people with tinnitus had hyperinsulinemia. This is where the body does not respond well to its own insulin and leads to diabetes. In this study they placed the patients on a diet suitable for diabetics and over 50% of them had significant reduction or total elimination of their tinnitus over two years.

Diet sodas are much more harmful than people realize. For one thing, Aspartame, which is the non-sugar sweetener in most, creates cravings for carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates convert almost immediately into sugar when digested. This totally defeats the purpose. Aspartame is also responsible for many neurological conditions, including tinnitus. You should really stop using these products.

To answer your question; no, I don’t think your problem will stay at its current level or worsen, provided you take steps to improve your diet and become healthier. You have a good chance of reducing tinnitus and enjoying life more fully.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Which came first… tinnitus or hearing loss?

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus for years and also mild hearing loss. Does tinnitus cause hearing loss or does hearing loss cause tinnitus?

Jeanne M.

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for your question; it is one frequently asked by people with tinnitus. The truth is, tinnitus does not cause hearing loss but hearing loss causes tinnitus. Many people think tinnitus is making their hearing worse. This is not the case. Continued hearing loss makes tinnitus worse.

Exact numbers vary but some estimates are that as high as 90% of people with tinnitus have it as the result of hearing loss. This can be caused by aging or exposure to noise, either a single large explosive event or years of exposure to loud noise. There are also a number of disease conditions and medications that are toxic to the ears that can cause tinnitus.

You may want to view our article that describes how noise exposure leads to damage of the hair cells in the cochlea and how this translates to the ringing sound most of us hear as tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus gets worse after lunch

Hi Barry,

I have got tinnitus since last six months and my audio metric test is normal. The ringing sound worsens after lunch and continues till dinner time. Is it related to my sugar levels? My 10-hour fasting blood sugar level is 120-125 and post meal is 145- 160. Should I start any diabetes drugs to lower the blood sugar levels and will that reduce my tinnitus?

Hemant M.

Dear Hemant,

Tinnitus is definitely related to blood sugar levels and is most likely the cause of yours spikes. Type 2 Diabetes and hyperinsulinemia are a common cause of tinnitus and reducing blood sugar levels will reduce or eliminate tinnitus.

Hyperinsulinemia is when the body becomes insensitive to the insulin produced in the pancreas. This leads to higher blood sugar levels. It is the first step on the slippery slope to Type 2 Diabetes. One clinical study showed that up to 92% of tinnitus patients have this condition.

Type 2 Diabetes and hyperinsulinemia can be controlled by diet and exercise. I believe this is the course you should adopt before going onto insulin. It takes time but it works.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Lying down tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

What can you tell me about tinnitus only when lying down? Makes it hard to sleep. My wife is 66 and never had tinnitus and on no RX’s. This is a recent thing that started a few months ago.

Thank you for any comment.
Bob K.

Dear Bob,

This sounds like somatic tinnitus. That’s when signals from the body (somatic signals) interfere with auditory signals, causing tinnitus. The most common cause of this is TMJ dysfunction. That’s when the jaw is out of alignment with the skull at the TMJ joint. Ask your wife to sit facing you. Take a minute for her to completely relax, then ask her to slowly open her jaw. If she has TMJ, it won’t open straight up and down but will be a little sideways. If this is the case, a dentist familiar with TMJ can make her a mouth guard which will align the jaw with the skull.

If that’s not the case, it is probably a spasm of a muscle in the neck, called the SCM. A physical therapist can help with calming this. There are other causes as well. Here’s an article on somatic tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Meds that cause Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Will the tinnitus go away if I quit taking the drugs that cause it?

Linda S.

Dear Linda,

There are over 300 prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause tinnitus. Whether your tinnitus will recover depends on how toxic the medication is and how long you have taken it. If the medication has stressed the hair cells in the cochlea, it can be temporary and withdrawing will help. If the hair cells are stressed to the point they are dead, tinnitus is permanent. So there is no clear answer to your question.

Some low toxicity medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may not cause permanent damage. Others, like some chemotherapy drugs, cause permanent damage almost immediately.

Even though tinnitus may be permanent, there are ways to reduce the intensity and aggravation of it. Arches Tinnitus Formula can help in this case.

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. 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, plus free shipping and don’t have to worry about running out during the critical thee-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Ear fullness, neck pain, plus an MRI

Hi Barry,

My ears have so much pressure, fullness, ringing, and loss of hearing. I had a neck fusion a few years ago, and not sure what to do. I had an MRI of the brain and was told “it’s just tinnitus.” I don’t think this is accurate. I don’t leave the house much due to neck pain and loud ringing and I just feel “woodie.” Please help.


Dear Susan,

There are many possible causes of ear fullness, tinnitus and muffled hearing. The MRI you received is a routine test to determine if there is an acoustic neuroma present. Acoustic neuroma is a rare, benign, slow growing tumor that occurs on the hearing nerve. An MRI wouldn’t necessarily show other causes of your symptoms.

Among the most common, and easily treated, causes of ear fullness is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. This is where the eustachian tube is blocked due to allergies, colds and flu or infections. Another, more serious cause, could be Meniere’s disease, in which the fluid in the vestibular (balance) system builds up and causes pressure and balance problems, along with ear fullness and tinnitus. We have an article on the most common causes of ear fullness you should read.

There is another cause not listed in the article. This is TMJ dysfunction, where the lower jaw is out of alignment with the skull. This can be due to accidents, falls, grinding teeth or other causes. Common symptoms are pain, ear fullness and tinnitus. This can be treated by a dentist trained in TMJ.

I recommend you see an ENT specialist for a complete workup to determine the cause. These conditions are treatable. If this doesn’t reveal anything relevant, you should see the surgeon who performed the neck fusion to see if this is causing your symptoms.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Could tinnitus lead to dementia?

Hi Barry,

Recently an article ran stating that tinnitus was actually a brain disorder and could eventually lead to dementia or Parkinson’s Disease.  Is this true?

Cathy H.

Dear Cathy,

What you say is mostly but not wholly correct.

Tinnitus is a brain disorder. It is due to hyperactivity in the auditory cortex. But what causes this hyperactivity? It is generally caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. When these cells are damaged, they release high amounts of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that causes the hyperactivity. This is one reason Arches Tinnitus Formula is helpful; it contains a high level of Bilobalide, which is a glutamate antagonist.

It is not tinnitus that leads to cognitive decline and dementia but hearing loss, which most often accompanies tinnitus. Many people have hearing loss without tinnitus. This results in cognitive impairment. People who have tinnitus without hearing loss do not have cognitive impairment.

Hearing loss inhibits input to the brain, as does uncorrected eyesight. Without proper input, areas of the brain degenerate and the brain actually shrinks, leading to dementia. Most people with poor eyesight wear glasses but the majority of those with hearing loss do not wear hearing aids. I recommend hearing aids to people even though they may not help their tinnitus. Hearing aids help keep the brain active and alert.

Parkinson’s disease can lead to hearing loss. Parkinson’s is due to inadequate levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine protects the inner ear from noise exposure so inadequate levels can lead to cochlear damage and hearing loss due to noise exposure. This can also lead to tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Napping tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve experienced a sudden onset of tinnitus. It’s been going for 40 minutes after waking from nice nap. I’m 78 with no serious heath conditions normal weight.

Thank you,
Dorinda E.

Dear Dorinda,

I wouldn’t worry about this too much. This is a normal occurrence, especially among older folks. As we age our ears wear out and we suffer various degrees of hearing loss, which is responsible for tinnitus.

If you want to limit this from occurring in the future, I recommend 1,000 mg daily of NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). NAC is a very inexpensive anti-oxidant found in most health food stores. It protects hearing and is extremely healthy to take. It inhibits free radical damage throughout the cells in the body. There are no side effects from using it.

If this does occur more regularly in the future, please email me and I will recommend our product, Arches Tinnitus Formula, which is effective in reducing tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

ENT no help with Meniere’s Disease

Hello Barry,

I’ve used your tinnitus formula in the past and found it effective at reducing the severity of my tinnitus. I’ve had tinnitus in both ears for 48 years now. However I am currently experiencing severe vertigo, ear fullness on the right side and roaring tinnitus on that side.

An ENT doctor diagnosed me with Meniere’s disease. He gave me no meds or advice other than reducing salt and caffeine! Would the Combo pack help with the Meniere’s symptoms? I’ve had enormous emotional stress over the last two years, plus I’m menopausal and have cervical spinal stenosis.

Can you shed any light on why this has occurred so aggressively now? My ENT was a dead loss. I wonder about an association with the upper cervical spine and stress levels?

Thanks Barry.
Aideen L.

Dear Aideen,

There are good ENTs and not so good ENTs. I’m surprised yours didn’t offer you any anti-dizziness medication, at the least. Answering one of your questions, yes I think Arches Tinnitus Formula can help and the Combo Pack perhaps more so. Here’s an article on Meniere’s disease and how ginkgo, the primary ingredient in ATF, can help.

I think an upper cervical chiropractor is really worth investigating. Lately, it’s been found that Meniere’s can be caused by pinched nerves in the top-most vertebrae and those who practice upper cervical chiropractic can help, in some cases dramatically. Here’s an article about how this new treatment works on Meniere’s disease.

Finally, stress hits us at our weakest point and will make any malady worse. This is especially true with Meniere’s and tinnitus. If you can reduce your stress, both conditions should improve.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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