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ASK BARRY Tinnitus expert, Barry Keate, answers your questions about Tinnitus Send your question to: Ask Barry
December 2012 Questions:
Is there really a cure for Tinnitus?
I have been to three ENT doctors, and they all say that tinnitus is a problem caused by the brain trying to compensate for hearing loss, caused by the cochlear (tiny hairs) in the ear being damaged by loud sounds that I have experienced sometime in my life. They say that there is NO product on the market that can cure this problem. What is your answer to these specialists who have practiced ENT medicine for years? Please GIVE ME AN ANSWER.
Sincerely, Frank P.
The physicians you contacted are absolutely correct; there is no cure for tinnitus. There is no product, including Arches Tinnitus Formulas that will cure this condition. However, the other half of the answer is missing. There are many therapies that can reduce the effects of tinnitus. Therapies such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, diet control and Arches Tinnitus Formulas have all been conclusively shown to help many people reduce the sound level.
The American Tinnitus Association has issued public pronouncements, urging ENT doctors to stop telling patients there is nothing that can be done because that is obviously a false statement. Any ENT who says you must "learn to live with it" is simply showing his or her ignorance of the subject.
I give you Michael Seidman, MD, who is director of Otology and Otologic/Neurologic Surgery at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan. Dr. Seidman is one of the most widely recognized tinnitus experts on the planet. He claims to help, not cure, up to 90% of the tinnitus patients he sees. A couple of years ago Dr. Seidman gave us permission to publish the tinnitus treatment protocol that he uses in the clinic.
There is a lot of clinical evidence that the ingredients used in Arches Tinnitus Formula™ are helpful for tinnitus. We have collected 35 clinical studies that show them to be helpful for most people with hearing loss and tinnitus. The studies are too numerous to detail but I have referenced many of them in an article on the science behind Arches Tinnitus Formula.
Additionally, there are close to 2,000 ENTs in the US who regularly refer their tinnitus patients to the use of our products.
I hope this is helpful in giving you a more complete picture of tinnitus treatment and some hope that you can reduce yours.
Wishing you quiet times,
Getting off Benzos with Tinnitus
I currently experience tinnitus (began during my bout with anxiety) and we have exchanged e-mails previously. Your advice is always very helpful.
You mention in the article in your most recent newsletter (Nov/2012) that dosage reductions of benzodiazepines should be in the range of 10% every two to four weeks. I’m currently on a low dose of 1/4 to 1/2 mg. of clonazepam daily as my recovery from anxiety continues. I’m not sure how to follow this guideline other than to begin taking these small doses of the medication every other day... then every three days, and so on. Is this reasonable?
William K., Jr.
This is an excellent question; thanks for sending it in. When I was writing the article, there was so much information, I had to select what to discuss and what to leave out. The withdrawal protocol did not make it into the article. Perhaps this was a mistake but at least I can rectify that now.
When withdrawing from benzodiazepines, the protocol is that the patient is usually switched from medications that have a short half-life to one with a longer half-life. The half-life of a medication is the time it takes for half the medication to be metabolized and leave the body. This makes the withdrawal easier because the effects of the medication last longer. In your case, I believe your doctor should switch you from Klonopin (clonazepam) to Valium (diazepem). Klonopin has a half-life of 18 to 50 hours while Valium has a half life of 20 to 100 hours with the primary metabolite of Valium having a half-life of 36 to 300 hours.
Another consideration is that equivalent doses of Valium are approximately 20 times the dose of Klonopin. Therefore, 1/4 mg of Klonopin is equivalent to 5 mg of Valium and 1/2 mg Klonopin is equivalent to 10 mg of Valium.
You will have to coordinate this with your prescribing physician, of course. After a successful transition to Valium, the physician will be able to prescribe lower and lower doses. I believe compounding pharmacists will be able to provide an exact dosage required for steady withdrawal.
Good luck; I hope you are successful. This is a pretty small dosage so you shouldn't have too much trouble.
Wishing you quiet times,
Ear Wax Removal and Tinnitus
I have had tinnitus for nearly ten years now. It all started with my ears being syringed (irrigated with water) by the nurse at my doctor’s office to remove ear wax.
I have good days and bad days. But ear wax has continued to be a problem. Once I was sent to hospital to have my ears vacuumed. It was better than the water irrigation at the doctor's office but I found the vacuum was very loud in my ears. My ears were a bit sore after. The noise in my ears afterwards was no worse but I am still not keen in getting them cleaned even at hospital with the vacuum.
I would like to know what you think about the vacuum method of cleaning ears to remove wax?
Thank you for your question. Any type of ear cleaning can pose dangers but I have heard some very scary tales regarding vacuuming earwax. Quite a few people have told me their tinnitus started when their ears were vacuumed. I have not had my ears cleaned but if I did, I would prefer simply softening the wax in a solution and letting it migrate its way out of the ear canal. Acceptable solutions are mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin or commercial ear cleaning drops. The American Academy of Otolaryngology provides their guidelines on ear wax removal.
Wishing you quiet times,
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. We encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.