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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry - December 2004

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 Get answers right now to your questions on tinnitus

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What is memantine?

Dear Barry,

I just got my copy of my first newsletter, and am printing out your responses to the questions contained in this issue. Thank you so much for your helpful information. So far what I've read makes me feel as if I've gotten more information from your comments than from the 2 ENTs I seen!

I'm taking the Arches formula, and am still in my first bottle, and want to badly to see results, but haven't yet. I will be patient and continue using them until 3 months are over. If I notice a difference, should I continue to take them? And for how long?

Also, what is memantine? Is it an over the counter medication, and herbal supplement, or a prescription drug? It sounded promising and something that I'd like to look into.

I'm going to restart taking melatonin. I was taking it for sleep problems, but am sleeping well, and want to know if besides being a sleep aid, it helps in any other way with tinnitus.

Thank you,

Barbara

Dear Barbara;

Thanks for your message and kind words. Please be patient with the Relief Formula. Most people do not notice any difference even after two months, though some do. It takes at least three months for it to reach full effectiveness. Dr. Seidman is even telling some of his patients to use it for four months. He’s seen responses in his patients who did not notice a difference at three months. If it is effective at that point, you need to keep using it as it is a maintenance therapy. I’ve been using it for twelve years. Many people find that after they receive an appreciable reduction in sound levels, they can gradually reduce dosage until they find the minimum dose that is an effective therapy. We do not recommend going below two capsules daily.

Memantine is an interesting prescription medication. It has been used mostly in Europe as a glutamate blocker. Glutamate is produced in the inner ear. When the hair cells in the ear are damaged, they overproduce glutamate which becomes toxic to the neuroreceptors and slowly kills them. I refer you to an article we published earlier this year on Antioxidants and Tinnitus. At the end of the article is a discussion of the physiological process of hair cell damage and tinnitus. This article can be viewed by clicking here.

So glutamate is one of the main villains in the production of tinnitus. Memantine operates to block the action of glutamate and thereby reduces tinnitus symptoms. It may work. It has been used in Europe, apparently successfully, for the management of tinnitus. It is only approved for use in the US for Alzheimer’s disease, for which it also seems to be helpful. This approval only occurred last October. Before that is was not allowed for any use in this country. It will be difficult in the near future to get a doctor to prescribe it for tinnitus because of its lack of approval. Clinical trials in the US for Memantine and tinnitus are scheduled but it may be a couple of years before approval. It is marketed in the US under the trade name Namenda.

Of particular interest to us is how this compares to the action of Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is also a powerful glutamate antagonist. In addition, it is a strong antioxidant within the inner ear. When you read the article on Antioxidants, you’ll see that the result of excess glutamate is the creation of a cascade of free radicals. It is these free radicals that do most of the damage to the auditory nerve. In addition to antagonizing the production of glutamate, ginkgo also neutralizes the free radicals that are created. Thirdly, ginkgo increases blood flow, especially in the microcapillaries that feed the inner ear. The inner ear, like the brain, is totally dependent upon the blood flow for its source of nutrients. Ginkgo operates in three separate modes to fight hair cell damage and the resulting tinnitus.

Melatonin seems to be mostly helpful for those people who have difficulty sleeping. Perhaps this is because in promoting sleep it helps rejuvenate and relax them. Melatonin may not be tremendously helpful but it is an antioxidant in its own right and very healthy to take.

Wishing you quiet times

Barry Keate

Shea Clinic treatment

Dear Barry,

I have had tinnitus since March of 2004. I have tried acupuncture, ginkgo biloba, a mouthpiece to combat TMJ, all to no avail. I have been taking your 90 day compound for about 3 weeks now. Hopefully this will help.

I have heard about doctors at Shea Ear Clinic in Nashville TN who have been successful with an operation where they drill two holes in the ear and inject some kind of medication into the holes. Are you familiar with this procedure?

Walt Mosher

Dear Walt,

I’m fairly familiar with the Shea Ear Clinic. They have an excellent reputation and are very knowledgeable about tinnitus and other conditions of the middle ear. They have developed some new treatments for tinnitus including intravenous lidocaine, in combination with other medications, for reduction of tinnitus sounds. Their website provides a lot of information about their therapies (http://www.sheaclinic.com/home.asp).

The procedure you mention is called Transtympanic Perfusion using lidocaine and it is one of the therapies they offer. Dr. Michael Seidman has also done research in this area. He wrote an article on the potential of this therapy and others, which can be seen by clicking here.

Most of these therapies are designed to help people with cochlear-synaptic tinnitus. This is the type where the hair cells of the inner ear have been damaged and hearing loss occurs. You mentioned trying a mouthpiece for TMJ. If you have some TMJ, it’s a completely different condition.

TMJ is a condition where the lower jaw is out of alignment with the skull. The Tempero-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) is where this occurs. Typically there is no hearing loss and treatment is completely different. The mouthpiece you mention is just the beginning step in TMJ therapy. The good thing about TMJ is that it can be quantified and treated by a TMJ specialist. These specialists come from the dental profession. Dr. Ira Klemons is one of the leading TMJ specialists in the US. He wrote a very encouraging article about the condition that can be seen by clicking here.

If you have TMJ, I suggest you explore this further. There are many treatments available. The American Academy of Cranio-Facial Pain is the organization for TMJ specialists. Their website is http://www.aacfp.org. They have a referral area where you can find a number of specialists in your state. They can tell you in a single visit whether you have this condition or not and, if you do, how serious it may be.

Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula® works very well in conjunction with any of the above therapies.

Wishing you quiet times

Barry Keate

Antioxidants for tinnitus

Barry

Was just wondering if antioxidants help reduce tinnitus if a person is already taking ginkgo? I've tried Arches but never took it with an antioxidant.

Thanks

S.C. from Iowa

Dear SC,

Antioxidants can be helpful in reducing tinnitus. One of the ingredients in our Relief Formula is chelated zinc, an important antioxidant, shown in clinical studies to be effective in reducing tinnitus. Antioxidants in general will definitely be helpful in preventing further damage to your hearing and increased tinnitus. You can view an article discussing there use by clicking here. Furthermore, antioxidants prevent many diseases, including some forms of cancer. They are one of the secrets of longevity.

You cannot take too many antioxidants. Of particular importance to those with tinnitus are Zinc, Vitamins C and E, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. All of these antioxidants and more are found in Dr. Seidman’s Antioxidant Formula which can be found on our website by clicking here.

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.