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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This Month's Questions:
I've been reading many of the questions people have sent you. I envy so many of these people writing in. I only wish my problem was like theirs. I had an ear injury in October when an ember from a fire flew in my ear. I know, what are the odds? I lost 80 percent of my eardrum and have nerve damage. The eardrum has been replaced, but I now have severe ringing in my ear. When noises get louder, the ringing gets louder. It gets to the point sometimes when I can't hear myself think. My audiologist made me an industrial ear plug for when I am somewhere that's loud, like a restaurant or church. I realize my ear will never be the same, but do you have any suggestions for dealing with this problem?
N. Olmsted, Ohio
I thought I'd heard it all, but yours is really one for the books. I'm very sorry this damaging accident happened to you.
The tinnitus is coming from the nerve damage, not the damaged eardrum, which is the case with most of us who have tinnitus. In this regard, your problem isn't that much different from others. Our products can be very helpful for that as can other therapies. What happens chemically is that the damaged nerves produce a cascading flow of free radicals. These free radicals continue to produce degeneration in the nerves and cause tinnitus.
In our March newsletter we published an article about Antioxidants and their effect on reducing free radicals and reducing tinnitus symptoms. Both the ginkgo and zinc in Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula are antioxidants and help with this. Ginkgo also produces an increase in the micro-circulation within the cochlea and is a powerful glutamate inhibitor, another chemical flooding the cochlea of tinnitus sufferers. There are other helpful antioxidants as well, notably N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC).
I hope this is helpful information for you and you find a way to reduce the aggravation and sound levels.
I've considered your products for a long time and feel I need to reach out and try something that appears to be quite effective
I am an Adm. Assist. in the Pharmacy Dept of a large hospital in Massachusetts. The reason that I mention that is because I am always concerned about interaction and adverse effects particularly the large dosage of ginkgo (480 mg). Have there been any reported deaths or intracranial bleeding from this amount? What I need to know is that this level (480 mg a day) is safe.
I work in an office in the basement of the hospital. The tinnitus started approximately 10/99 which will be 5 years in October. I worked in an office for 2 years which has a loud sound in the ceiling like a jet. When I assumed the job, I did not have ringing in my ears or head as I do now. I'll try to make a long story short by saying, I went to an ENT and he gave me Rhinocort. To this day, I believe that exacerbated it. As far as I am concerned, ENT's do not want to be be bothered with Tinnitus. I did see Robert Levine, MD a couple of years ago an audioneurologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
It's very bad today and hard to cope with. I need to have some help with this.
Thanks for your message and I'm very sorry to hear you suffer from this so much.
Ginkgo is very safe to take in any dosage. It is true that it does thin the blood somewhat but not nearly as much as coumadin and other prescription blood thinners. There was one anecdotal report several years ago that a woman who was taking ginkgo had a subdural hematoma however a link between the two was never established. Please keep in mind that millions upon millions of people take ginkgo for their tinnitus, mostly in Europe, with no adverse side effects whatsoever. Compare this with the hundreds of thousands of people in the US who are admitted to hospitals every year for complications with their prescription medications.
We have sold over 15,000 orders of Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula and have not had any serious complications. Some people do notice they bruise easier. My father has chronic nosebleeds and he can't take ginkgo, his nose will bleed immediately. However, ginkgo is very healthy for the vascular system and results in healthy blood vessels.
The German Commission E recommends ginkgo for tinnitus. Their report, including any cautionary notes.
Some of the findings you will see say that there is no known over dosage limit, no special warnings and no interaction with other medications. Because of ginkgo's blood thinning effects, however, we caution that it should not be taken with coumadin or other prescription blood thinners without the explicit consent and monitoring by a doctor and that it should be discontinued two weeks before any surgical procedure.
There is an excellent European overview of 19 clinical trials on the effects of ginkgo on tinnitus.
Michael Seidman, MD recommends our products to many of his tinnitus patients. He is not concerned with the dosage of ginkgo but is concerned with the dosage of zinc. A clinical study showed that 82% of people who took 50 mg of zinc daily had improvement in their tinnitus. We wanted to include 50 mg in our daily dosage but Dr. Seidman was pretty adamant that we should not do this. Zinc can safely be taken in dosages of 50 mg daily but much more than that can become toxic over time. Since we sell to the general public and don't know what other supplements they may be taking, he was insistent we only include 30 mg of zinc in our daily dosage. We send out an Instruction Sheet and ask people, if they're not taking additional zinc, to add 20 mg daily to the amount they receive in Arches TRF.
I hope this helps answer your question. If you have others, please send them to me.