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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry: April 2009

Do you have questions about tinnitus, our products or specific treatments? Ask Barry. Arches President Barry Keate will select the most representative questions each month publication. Regardless all questions will receive a personal reply from Barry.

ASK BARRY Tinnitus expert, Barry Keate, answers your questions about Tinnitus Send your question to:  Ask Barry

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NOTE: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to your email inquiries are not substitutes for a physician's advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry.

This month's questions:

A Step Closer to a Cure for Tinnitus?

Hi Barry

I saw a snippet on BBC news stating,"Scientists have come a step closer to finding a cure for tinnitus as they now know what causes it." Have you heard anything about this announcement?

Thanks for creating your wonderful website. I have found so much helpful information on it for dealing with my tinnitus.

Jay

Hi Jay,

Thanks for sending this to me. I found the article on the BBC website regarding a study on excitable nerve activity as the cause of tinnitus.

There has been continuing research in this area for at least a decade and it is now common knowledge among researchers that over-excitement of brain neurons in the auditory cortex is the primary cause of tinnitus. Exactly why the neurons become excited may be open to question and the paper you refer to indicates there are genetic changes that may be at the root of the problem. If this is the case, the research does indeed lead to a clearer understanding of the mechanisms at work in tinnitus.

One of the primary causes of over-excitement is glutamate, which is abundantly released when the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that creates over-excitement and continual firing of neurons in the auditory cortex. The result of continual firing is the neuron becomes depleted and dies, causing permanent damage. One avenue in reversing this is to increase the amount or effectiveness of the GABA in the brain that counteracts the effect of glutamate. GABA is an acronym for gamma-aminobutyric acid and is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In 2002, Drs. Shulman, Strashun and Goldstein published results of experiments that showed the central pathway of tinnitus through the brain is the GABA receptor.

There are several medications that work to counteract the effects of glutamate. One of these is Ginkgo biloba, found in Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. You can read an article in our Tinnitus Library that explains excitotoxicity (over-excitement leading to the death of neurons), and the various medications used to reduce it.

The study listed on the BBC was in guinea pigs and did not offer a therapy for the condition. It did isolate some of the genes involved. Studies on gene therapy will eventually lead to a cure for tinnitus, but this is a long ways away. Stem cell research has the potential to provide tools to alter the genetic damage caused by tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

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Loud Music and Hearing Loss

Dear Barry,

I am writing to you in light of your recent recommendations to Jake (tinnitus sufferer's exposure to the noise of a gun shot - Quiet Times 3/09) regarding taking NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine).

I have had tinnitus now for 4 months. Back in November 2008 while in a club I suffered a sudden and unilateral hearing loss in my left ear, possibly triggered by the loud music. Four months later I still have significantly reduced hearing loss in the lower frequencies, aural fullness and tinnitus. The tinnitus actually began to subside very slightly during around month 3 whereby there would be moments where I wouldn't hear it and, when I did, it was generally less intense.

I have been taking Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula and Dr Seidman's Anti-Age/Energy Formula for almost two months and believe that both of these products have likely contributed to the the improvements Having done some reading on NAC.and based on your recommendations to Jake, I have decided to start that as well. How much NAC should I take? Secondly, any further advice at all of any type would be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Mark Knight

Dear Mark,

Thank you for using the Relief and the Anti-Age Formulas. These products should be continued for at least 3-4 months to determine efficacy. NAC may also be helpful. It is quite inexpensive and can be found in better health food stores. I recommend 500-1,000 mg twice daily; I use 1,000 mg twice daily. In addition to helping with tinnitus, NAC is a powerful antioxidant and helps detoxify the body of free radicals.

It sounds to me as if your hearing loss and tinnitus are of the Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) type rather than noise-induced. Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus are generally in the high frequency range where SSHL leads to the symptoms you describe.

I am currently researching aldosterone for SSHL. This will be the main article in our May newsletter, Quiet Times. Aldosterone is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands. Its primary known functions are to regulate the absorption of sodium and the excretion of potassium in the kidneys, thereby maintaining proper blood pressure. In the past, SSHL has been considered an auto-immune condition and has been treated by Prednisone, a steroid that blocks the body's immune system. There is new evidence that this may not be the case and that aldosterone works better than Prednisone for restoring hearing.

Interestingly, the FDA has banned aldosterone as a bio-identical hormone. This is very unusual as the FDA does not generally interfere with bio-identical hormone therapy except in extreme cases. Since aldosterone is a natural hormone and exists in everyone's body, it defies logic to ban a bio-identical product. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact there is a commercially sold synthetic analog of aldosterone called fludrocortisone. This synthetic drug is manufactured by Barr Laboratories and distributed under the brand name Florinef. There are many side effects of Florinef that do not occur with aldosterone and it has not been studied for its effect on SSHL.

Aldosterone can be purchased from Canadian compounding pharmacies with a US doctor's prescription. I suggest you have a hormone test for aldosterone; you may find you have a low level. You can get hormone tests from a compounding pharmacy in the US. If you do have a low level, you can ask for a prescription from your doctor.

The May newsletter will have a more detailed examination of this natural hormone and its effects on SSHL.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

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Take TRF with other tinnitus products?

Hi Barry

Three weeks go I asked you if my tinnitus would go back to its previous, normal, manageable level after taking antibiotics that caused it to go much higher. You said it most likely would. You were right, it did. I also indicated that tinnitus had reduced to such a low level prior to the antibiotics that I had stopped taking the Tinnitus Relief Formula. But again, I listened to you. I started to take it again, and am I happy I did. So thank you once again.

I plan to take TRF forever or until I am cured (I am not holding my breath). In addition to TRF, would it be helpful to take Ringstop or Lipo Flavonoid? Would they work in synergy with TRF? For that matter, would they interfere?

Thank you, David

Hi David,

It’s great that your tinnitus has reduced to its previous level and you didn’t have long-term effects from the antibiotic. I’ll bet it’s a big relief.

It certainly won’t hurt to take RingStop and Lipoflavonoid in combination with TRF but I doubt it will help much. RingStop is a homeopathic product for which there is zero scientific evidence it is helpful for tinnitus. Homeopathic products are extremely inexpensive to produce and are marketed heavily because the profit margins are high. However, I have never heard of anyone benefiting from them in terms of reduced tinnitus.

Lipoflavonoid is another story. It has been around for a long time, is made by a reputable company, and, in the past, was recommended by many doctors for tinnitus. It consists of very low levels of B vitamins and Bioflavonoid Complex. While these may be helpful in larger doses, I believe the dosage is much too small to be effective for tinnitus. Lipoflavonoid was first marketed as a product to help with dizziness and vertigo due to Meniere’s disease. There is some clinical evidence that it is effective for this. However, it is ineffective for reducing tinnitus and clinical studies have also shown this.

I believe a better option is to include Arches Tinnitus Stress Formula and B-12 Formula along with the TRF. Our Stress Formula contains 100 mg each of all the major B vitamins (10 to 100 times the amount in Lipoflavonoid) and also has Citrus Bioflavonoids. The B-12 Formula contains 1,000 mcg of vitamin B-12 in a sublingual tablet, designed for better absorption. Clinical studies have shown a statistical link between B-12 deficiency and tinnitus.

The combination of the Stress and B-12 Formulas provides all the necessary B vitamins to support the nervous system, reduce stress, enhance energy production, and they can be helpful for reducing tinnitus. That is why we include them in our Combo Pack at a reduced cost. Dr. Seidman always recommends the Combo Pack over TRF by itself. The entire Combo Pack is a three-month supply of all our tinnitus products and sells for $150.00. A three-month supply of TRF is $120.00 so the Stress and B-12 Formulas are only another $30.00 for three months.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

NOTE: "Ask Barry" is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to your email inquiries are not substitutes for a physician's advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry.