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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry: June 2008

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:

On-again, Off-again Tinnitus

I have an unusual type of tinnitus that I have not seen anyone else describe on any of the tinnitus blogs. I have tinnitus in only my left ear and it is cyclic. It is there for about 2 days then goes away for about 2 days and then returns. This cycle has been repeating for the last year. Barry, do you think that any of your formulas can help me? Also, have you obtained any new information regarding the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment?

Robert Hanson

Dear Robert,

I don't believe what you describe is that unusual; I hear of it fairly often. I also hear people say their tinnitus is much worse for a certain amount of time, then recedes, not entirely but mostly, before returning at high volume.

No one seems to have a good explanation for this. It may be related to hormonal changes. Have you had your thyroid function checked? It could also be related to other outside influences however, the repetition of the cycle seems to rule against this.

I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for why this happens. Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula helps others with repetitive tinnitus and should help you.

Neuromonics seems to be effective on controlling tinnitus. What is unknown is for how long it is effective. Previous clinical studies only lasted for 6 months. There are studies underway now that will go out to 3 years. Neuromonics will cost about $5,000 but should be helpful. A four bottle trial of Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula costs about $150.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate


Can Ginkgo Cause Stroke?

Hi Barry,

I have been 480 mg of extended release ginkgo along with magnesium, acetyl l carnitine with (alpha) lipoic acid and fish oil, for my problems with tinnitus, as well as the after effects of a concussion. I have had amazing results! It's been sort of a miracle cure on all fronts.

However, I am very alarmed over a recent study that states that people using Gingko biloba (extract) for years have a much greater chance of getting a stroke. However, it's due to blood clotting instead of blood thinning, which seems peculiar. Do you know of any long term studies that contradict or support these claims? Also, I had read that a ginkgo tolerance can result if used in higher doses. Do you know if this is accurate. I would really love to take this herbal medicine combo for the rest of my life, but I am getting nervous that it could do some damage. I am also nervous that it'll conk out on me.

Thanks, Justin Renfro

Dear Justin,

This is excellent news that you’ve had such a great response to these supplements. I would not stop using them.

There has been a host of bogus clinical studies in the US, mostly paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, that are designed to disparage the use of dietary supplements. The pharmaceutical industry is desperate to disprove supplements because so many of them are more effective (and at much less cost) than prescription medications.

Recent clinical studies would have you believe that Vitamin E causes heart attacks rather than prevents them and that anti-oxidants do not support health and may even cause cancer. These studies are biased and designed or manipulated to reach certain conclusions. Furthermore, this only happens in the US where the pharmaceutical industry finances the FDA, clinical trials and the medical schools. European countries do not have this problem because their health industry is publicly financed.

For a look at what the German Commission E thinks of Ginkgo biloba, please read their monograph in our Tinnitus Library.

Ginkgo biloba does not cause stroke; instead, it actively prevents stroke. It thins the blood while at the same time increases the strength and elasticity of blood vessels. In Europe, Ginkgo biloba is the #2 prescribed medication for a large number of ailments and millions of people use it on a daily basis. There is absolutely no evidence that Ginkgo causes stroke in these people.

I have never heard that prolonged use of Ginkgo causes tolerance and the idea strikes me as preposterous. You can no more build up a resistance to Ginkgo than you can to Vitamin C. I’ve been using it for twenty years. When I discontinue, as I did recently as a test, my tinnitus gets much louder. When I begin again the tinnitus lowers. It doesn’t completely go away but, for me, the sound reduces by approximately 70%. There is no indication of increased tolerance.

I advise you to continue with your successful regimen and don’t pay attention to every negative comment that comes down the line.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate


Canadian Drug for tinnitus?

HI Barry,

I was wondering about a drug called SERC. I understand that this drug is prescribed in Canada for tinnitus, but is not available in the US. Do you know anything about it, and its effectiveness?

Thanks Frank Grand Rapids, MI

Dear Frank,

SERC is betahistine dichloride, an antihistamine. It is primarily used for Meniere’s disease and vertigo but has also been used in limited applications for tinnitus. It was originally approved for use in the US circa 1960 but was revoked five years later because of lack of evidence of effectiveness. Read more on on SERC in Alternative Treatments for Tinnitus, Part 3 in our Quiet Times Archives.

Providing you do not have Meniere’s disease or vertigo, a better choice is Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula. This has been shown in numerous clinical trials to help a majority of people with tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate


BTW - I have taken your Tinnitus Relief formula since last December with good results. It has lessened, (not eliminated) my tinnitus appreciably.

Thanks for a great product. Frank

Editor's Note: SERC side-effects can include stomach upset, rash, nausea, worsening asthma, headache, and chest tightness. Betahistine is not sold through ordinary US pharmacy chains but it can be obtained through US compounding pharmacies, with a prescription and is rarely covered by insurance.

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.