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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry: July 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:

Stress or Otosclerosis?

Hi Barry,

First of all, thank you for your website. I really enjoy reading about the latest tinnitus research and news.

Approximately seven years ago, I was diagnosed with otosclerosis. I had the hearing loss, but not tinnitus. The tinnitus started a couple of months later when I was going through a really stressful time with my sister's passing. I had a stapedectomy six months later, not so much for the hearing loss, but the tinnitus. My hearing improved for the first couple of years after the surgery, but the tinnitus and hyperacusis did not. What is interesting is that within the last couple of years, my hearing decreased again, but the tinnitus became a non-issue. It was still there, but did not bother me.

Unfortunately, late last year, I came down with the flu and traveled internationally. That's when my tinnitus became bothersome again. Now I feel like I am right back to where I started from years ago. I still have good days, but the bad days are really bad. I am extremely stressed about this, and obviously, that is not helping. In addition, my hyperacusis is at its worse.

In your opinion, is my tinnitus due to stress or otosclerosis? Can stress cause tinnitus to increase permanently? Is Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula effective on my type of tinnitus (assuming from otosclerosis)? Can someone over protect their ears and thus make the situation worse? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely, Lulu

Dear Lulu,

I’m very sorry about the delay in replying to you. I’ve been traveling for over two weeks and been playing catch-up since my return.

Both otosclerosis and influenza can cause tinnitus and stress can worsen it tremendously. It’s impossible to say what the cause of yours may be. An educated guess is that your tinnitus is caused by otosclerosis and worsened by stress and influenza. Stress is the number one aggravator of tinnitus and will increase the sound level dramatically. It will not cause permanent worsening and the tinnitus should reduce when the stress is relieved. Influenza can cause tinnitus but, again, not permanently. Unless there is a lingering infection, the tinnitus should reduce as the virus is cleared from the body.

Several important hormones are known to regulate hearing and deficiencies in these can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. One of these is the thyroid group, and you can read about it in our Tinnitus Library. Another is aldosterone also found in our online library.

There is recent evidence that estrogen has a major role in regulating hearing. It may be worthwhile for you to have a complete hormone workup to determine if you are deficient in any of these.

Hyperacusis is another story. It is possible to make it worse by overprotection. Dr. Jack Vernon has been developing a custom hearing aid that helps sensitive people desensitize to loud sound.

Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula should be helpful for tinnitus caused by otosclerosis. I recommend the Tinnitus Combo Pack which includes Arches Tinnitus Stress Formula and B-12 Formula, both of which are necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system. They are comprised of high level vitamin B compounds which protect nerves and produce cellular energy.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate


Took Eye Drops... then Tinnitus

Hi Barry:

I have had tinnitus for about five years and the past two years it has settled down quite a bit. However, this past November, I had to take an eye drop medication which was an anti-inflamatory medication called ketorolac (Acular). I took this for 10 days as prescribed. All was ok and no increase in the tinnitus until the last dose on day 10, and then bang it hit me and it hit hard. The ringing was loud and I mean loud. Also the tone had changed to a very high pitched tone which almost hurts me it is so high.

I also suffer from hyperacusis and this higher pitch is very uncomfortable, and the increased level is extremely distressing to me, especially when the tinnitus had been so quiet before. I didn't think I would have absorbed much medicine in an eye drop and that is why I took it. I thought I was safe, but I guess I wasn't. It has now been two month and the ringing is getting worse instead of better and the pitch just seems to be getting higher. I keep on hoping that this could still be temporary. Do you think the fact that it hasn't settled down and that there is a change of tone, means that I have caused irreparable damage and this level of tinnitus is now the level it is going to be. I am so upset with myself for taking the anti-inflamatory eye drops. I guess it built up in my system as it didn't effect me till the last day. Anyway, your opinion is greatly appreciated.

Marlene Calgary, Canada

Dear Marlene,

I’m very sorry this happened to you. Ketorolac is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for which tinnitus and hearing loss are two of the possible side effects. One medical site I visited listed tinnitus as occurring in less than 1% and another listed it as a common occurrence. The real number is probably unknown. However, it doesn’t matter to you what the numbers are if you are one of them.

I think there is a good possibility that it will be a temporary situation. It may also be that the stress of knowing your tinnitus increased has prolonged the episode. Stress makes tinnitus much worse than it would otherwise be.

I can recommend two supplements that should help. You should visit a health food store and purchase N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Take this in a dosage of 500 up to 1,000 twice daily. NAC is a very inexpensive anti-oxidant and has been used by the United States Navy to reduce damage from noise trauma. It is perfectly healthy to take and promotes good health through the neutralization of free radicals in the body.

Second, I suggest you begin taking Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. Many clinical studies confirm this is very helpful in reducing sounds for most people. Also, if taken during the first year of tinnitus or worsening tinnitus, the results improve compared to a long-standing condition.

I hope you improve quickly.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate


Frustrated with Doctors

Hello Barry,

I have taken close to two bottles of the Tinnitus Relief Formula and haven't noticed a lot of difference as of yet, maybe less fullness. I just ordered the combo pack. What other vitamins do people take with that, antioxidants, anti-aging, or what? I am very depressed with my condition. I have had minor sinus surgery, take allergy drops, been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and take 180 milligram Allegra sometimes twice a day, and take Maxzide also.

I'm 56 years old, 5'6" tall and weigh 120 pounds, otherwise feel healthy. I've have lost some of my hearing in my left ear. I have some neck problems, TMJ problems, all on the left side. I have pulsatile tinnitus and just plain ringing. I have had Meniere’s disease for well over ten years but the ringing got really bad a year ago and has stayed that way. At the time I had gone off the allergy drops for a period of time and got a bad cold virus.

Of all my problems it is the noise in the ear that drives me nuts, I have that tuning fork sound when I open my mouth, the noise is so much worse when I lower my head, etc. etc. I do have vertigo and I have had severe attacks, knocked down for twelve hours at a time, it's been a few years now since I have had a long attack. I have been to two ENT's and the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale. They are all about the Meniette's device (low pulse electrical generator).

My question is this, where do you go to a doctor that is familiar with the pulsatile tinnitus and the procedures that are involved with checking different things when you have it? I feel so depressed when I go to a doctor; they just have no interest in trying to do anything to help. The one Doctor told me I need to go to the mental health center and get on anti-depressants but I still feel I should be doing some things to help my physical problem. Can you let me know if you have any answers? I appreciate it very much. I also have several lumps in front of my affected ear, nobody knows what they are, finally the Mayo doctor said they're glands maybe. Am I wrong to be frustrated?


Dear Peg,

You are not wrong to be frustrated. Physicians these days are so specialized that it’s difficult to get one doctor who can look at the health of an entire person.

Meniere’s disease causes hearing loss and tinnitus. There are treatments that a good ENT can provide that will reduce the episodes of vertigo but they generally won’t help with the hearing loss and tinnitus. I believe the neck problems and TMJ also contribute to the ringing. When you say it gets worse when you lower your head, this indicates a TMJ connection. TMJ therapy can often reduce pain and tinnitus and you can read about it in our Tinnitus Library. At the bottom of the page is a link to find a TMJ specialist in your area.

Pulsatile tinnitus is a separate problem. This is usually caused by turbulent blood flow through a vessel close to the cochlea. There are many possible causes for this and sometimes it takes a series of tests to isolate the cause. Once the cause is determined, therapy is usually successful. You should consult with a vascular surgeon to have this condition diagnosed.

I believe the Tinnitus Combo Pack will provide relief to you. Please remember, you must use these products for three months before you can determine how helpful they will be. If the first two bottles of the Relief Formula have helped, you should continue to improve. However, TMJ and vascular therapy should be conducted simultaneously.

Body Language Vitamins Multivitamin and Antioxidant Formulas are very effective for promoting general health. While they were not designed to reduce tinnitus, any improvement in general health is helpful for tinnitus as well.

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.