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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry - August 2006

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 Search our Tinnitus Library Center or FAQs

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:

Fear of Flying

HI Barry

I enjoy reading your tinnitus website. It is wonderful. You are doing a great job. I do have a question in regards to flying. My husband and I are flying to England on August. 7th for 2 weeks and I have never flown before ..It is about a 8 hour flight and I am praying that my ears are going to be ok. I have chronic tinnitus in both my ears 24/7. Will the flying make the tinnitus worse. A lot of people tell me that when you land you cant hear for a week? I don't know if this is true?

I am terrified. Could you please shed some light on this subject for me. Thank You Barry.



Dear Bev,

Please don’t be terrified; it’s going to be fine. I have never heard of anyone who couldn’t hear upon landing.

There are some precautions you can take to make flying more comfortable. Sometimes, but only rarely, the loud sounds at take-off can bother tinnitus. Jet engine sounds are low frequency and most people’s tinnitus is high frequency so there is no overlap for most people. During take-off is when the jets are loudest. This can be solved by using some inexpensive foam ear plugs that can be found in most grocery stores. If you want superior ear plugs, I recommend Mack’s Ear Plugs at They make a soft foam ear plug that is just right for flying. You probably will not need them during the flight or while landing but if you do, you can wear them the whole flight; they’re very comfortable.

The other thing to make sure of is that your ears pop easily. Ears pop due to pressure changes because they need to keep internal and external pressure equal. Take along some chewing gum to ensure your ears pop easily. Swallowing and drinking a beverage is also helpful. You can pinch your nostrils together and blow gently, with your mouth closed, to force your ears to pop if needed. There probably won’t be a problem with this but if there is, it will be during landing when pressure increases.

Stay awake during landing; ears don’t pop easily when we sleep. It is best to fly when you don’t have a head cold as a cold can plug up your Eustachian tubes and prevent ears from popping. If you do have a cold, use a nasal decongestant before and during the flight which will clear the Eustachian tubes. You can either use an over-the-counter brand or ask your doctor for a prescription nasal spray such as Flonase or Rhinocort. An over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Benadryl, may also be helpful in allowing your ears to pop easily and equalize pressure.

In a small number of people, noise or pressure changes can elevate their tinnitus. This is always temporary and will revert back to normal over a short period of time. By taking the above precautions, the chances of this are minimized.

Have a good flight and a wonderful time in England,

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Stress, High Blood Pressure and Glutamate

Hi Barry,

My tinnitus has gotten noticeably worse today. I don't know if it is high blood pressure or what. I am an attorney and I have under incredible stress lately with a very heavy case load and critical deadlines. It was so bad that I googled "tinnitus blood pressure" and found your site. It had a very good article about the use of magnesium and calcium as an effective glutamate inhibitor. I am going across the street to CVS and get some right now because it is really starting to bother me. I have the type that is a high frequency steady tone. I always suspected it was a neurotransmitter thing, but never knew about glutamate until now.

Is your Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula the best one for me under the circumstances? I already take massive doses of B-12, B-complex, and Niacin, but they do not do the trick. I also take ginkgo biloba on a rumor that it helps tinnitus, but it doesn't help much.

I also have adult ADD, so in the past year my doctor has increased me from one to two SR20 generic ritalin, which in and of itself artificially increases my heart rate, blood pressure, etc., in exchange for a bit more efficiency and functionality. Have there been any studies on that.

So what do you think, getting my life story in 2 minutes? Anything you would recommend?


Beach C.

Dear Beach,

Yes, glutamate is the primary villain in most people’s tinnitus. When there is damage to the cochlea, excessive amounts are released and neurotransmitters in the brain are tipped toward the overexcited state. This can cause tinnitus as well as other neurodegenerative conditions. There are many glutamate antagonists and I will get into them in a minute.

First I would like to emphasize that stress and high blood pressure make an enormous difference in the perception of tinnitus. Stress will take a level 3 tinnitus (on a scale of 10) and turn it into a level 7 or above. It is very important to learn how to control your response to stress. Everyone has stress but how we respond to it is important. Exercise, diet and weight loss for overweight people will make a big difference. Please review some of the other articles we have published in our Tinnitus Information section. You will find articles on diet, food additives, antioxidants, sugar metabolism and exercise that should be very helpful.

Magnesium, as you read, is a glutamate antagonist. Ginkgo biloba extract is a powerful glutamate antagonist as well. Ginkgo has many benefits including neuroprotection, glutamate antagonism, antioxidant activity and increased blood flow in the microcapillaries that feed the eyes, ears and brain. You mention you have been using ginkgo to no effect. We hear that quite a lot and generally it has to do with inferior products used in less than therapeutic doses. The Ginkgo biloba used in Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula is the highest quality, premium extract found anywhere in the world. It should be taken in a dosage of 240 mg in the morning and again in the evening and continued for a minimum of three months before you can determine how effective it will be for you. It does not help everyone but many people have a reduction in sound. We published an article about the science behind the product that describes exactly how it works. This article can be viewed here.

Some prescription medications are helpful for tinnitus. Neurontin works by activating GABA, which balances out the excess glutamate. Campral is a medication that has been used to help alcoholics wean themselves from their addiction. It is a glutamate antagonist and shows promise in helping people with tinnitus. The benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin, also activate GABA and can have a positive effect.

Ritalin is a stimulant and can increase blood pressure and stress. It does not cause tinnitus but the side effects can possibly worsen it. There are natural therapies which are very effective in reducing ADD and ADHD. Magnesium (interestingly) and Omega-3 fatty acids are two of the most often recommended. Tinnitus authority Michael Seidman, MD has developed an excellent essential oils fatty acids product that we sell on our website.

For a complete review of ADHD I recommend the Life Extension Foundation at Search for ADHD and you will find a wealth of information.

A combination of Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula, a good diet consisting of whole, fresh foods, regular exercise and stress reduction will have a beneficial effect on tinnitus for the great majority of people suffering from this malady.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Ginkgo, B vitamins and tinnitus


I am continuing to use your products and am in the 7th week with the Tinnitus Formula and B-12.

I have two questions:

1. Should the B-12 be balanced with other B Vitamins so there is no imbalance?

2. In the research that I have read on Ginkgo Biloba several clinical studies used "a highly concentrated and stable extract (EGb 761) by a company owned by Dr. Willmar Schwabe, which could be systematically tested in scientific programs".

Is the Gingko that is used in the Arches Tinnitus Formula the same as, or equivalent to, EGb 761? Thanks as always for answering my questions.


Raymond Schneider

Cape Coral, Florida

Dear Raymond;

B vitamins are always more effective when used as a complete group. The problem is not an imbalance as much as they work synergistically and reinforce each other. We separate the B-12 from the rest of the B vitamins in the Tinnitus Stress Formula because of absorption problems. B-12 is not easily absorbed through the stomach or intestines. It is best absorbed as an injection but also absorbed well as a sublingual, dissolved under the tongue.

EGb 761 is a trademark name used by the Dr. Willmar Schwabe Company of Germany. It defines minimum percentages of specific components in Ginkgo biloba that are necessary for therapeutic effect. Our ginkgo surpasses the requirements of EGb 761. In fact, the Dr. Willmar Schwabe Company purchased the company that grows and processes the ginkgo used in Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. So our product comes from the same company.

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.