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ASK BARRY Tinnitus expert, Barry Keate, answers your questions about Tinnitus Send your question to: Ask Barry
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Screaming Child Tinnitus
Good morning Barry from New Zealand,
I'm a 50 year old male who just over a year ago started experiencing a high pitch noise in both ears. The trigger event, I believe, was high pitch screaming from a young child sitting close to me in a cafe. It was almost immediately after this that I noticed the noise in both my ears. Since this time I've been to both an audiologist and an ENT specialist who have told me that I have tinnitus and that my hearing is below average.
I did try some acupuncture for a relatively short time but this did not seem to help. For your information, I have some heart disease and for this my cardiologist has me taking daily: 10mg Ezetrol, 100mg Aspirin, 10mg Amirol , Folic Acid, Multivitimin B complex tablet, 100mg Ubiquinol capsule and x3 fish oil capsules. Having outlined some background information my qustions are:
- What would you recommend I try to help reduce the noise levels?
- Would you recommend I drop or reduce any of the medications I am currently taking?
- Would I need to consult my GP/Cardiologist before taking any of your products?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I believe you have a wise person for a cardiologist. Most are unaware of the health benefits of ubiquinol, omega-3 fish oil, folic acid and b-complex vitamins. These are all very good. The Ezetrol is to reduce cholesterol, aspirin is very heart healthy. The only one I am unsure of is the Amirol, which is an anti-depressant.
Acupuncture can help in about 40% of tinnitus cases but it must be pursued rather long-term; at least 10 sessions.
I don't think you need to cut back on any of your medications. I recommend adding Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) to them. This must be taken for 3-4 months (4 bottles minimum) before you can determine how helpful it will be. Do not combine with prescription blood thinners. Ginkgo biloba, in ATF, also thins the blood and they can be additive. Aspirin is also a blood thinner but if you keep the dosage to 100 mg per day, you should be fine.
It is always best to consult with your doctor. Since your cardiologist seems to be very open and up to date, I would consult there. Please print out and show him a clinical review of 19 clinical studies using Ginkgo for tinnitus.
Wishing you quiet times,
Vertigo and Pulsatile Tinnitus
1. Can you tell me about Benign Postural Vertigo associated with tinnitus?
2. Is pulsating tinnitus more serious than say a continuous type ringing?
Benign Paroxysmal Position Vertigo (BPPV) is a condition where movement of the head induces short lasting but intense vertigo. Benign signifies it is not very serious and is not progressive; paroxysmal means sudden or unpredictable; positional indicates it comes about with a change in head position.
The condition often begins following head trauma or a severe cold. This condition will usually resolve itself within several weeks but sometimes it may become chronic. I experienced BPPV for a period several years ago that lasted for a few weeks. I have not had a recurrence.
The probable cause of BPPV is the dislodging of small calcium carbonate crystals that float through the inner ear fluid and strike against nerve endings within the balance apparatus at the end of the semicircular canals in the inner ear.
Treatment for the most part consists of a 15 minute physical therapy technique called the Otolith Repositioning Procedure. This procedure involves moving the patient into various positions that moves the small crystals away from the nerve endings. This has proven effective for about 80% of cases. Occasionally, a second treatment is required.
I have not seen references to BPPV causing or worsening tinnitus. Most ENTs will say it does not cause hearing loss or worsen tinnitus. However, I have seen some internet posts where people say their tinnitus worsens from BPPV, so it probably does occur in some people.
Pulsatile tinnitus is usually more bothersome to people than regular tinnitus. It is caused by turbulent blood flow in a blood vessel close to the cochlea. The person is actually hearing their heart beat inside the ears. Depending on the exact cause, this condition is reversible.
Wishing you quiet times,
Self Help for Tinnitus?
I have now had tinnitus for six months, more on than off, and would like to inquire what you recommend for self help / self- taught habituation. My tinnitus is very annoying at times but also manageable at best the rest of the time. I would like to get on with my life without worrying about tinnitus every day.
I have searched the internet for tips for self habituation and can't find any really good tips as when you get on the blogs you can get either very positive as well as very negative comments.
Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your question. There are several valid habituation therapies available for tinnitus. None of these therapies are what you would call "self help" in that they all involve some degree of medical intervention.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Neuromonics are both treatments that aim to teach habituation and to essentially "rewire" the brain so it doesn't pay attention to the tinnitus. They are fairly expensive, with costs around $5,000.00 for each therapy. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy takes up to 2 years while Neuromonics takes about 6 months.
Another valid treatment for tinnitus habituation is Biofeedback. This therapy teaches the patient to relax, lower blood pressure and stress levels. I recently went through a personal Biofeedback regimen and found it quite helpful.
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. If you are under a physician's care, we encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.