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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry - January 2013

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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January 2013 Questions:

Medical Marijuana  for Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

Does medicinal marijuana treat symptoms of tinnitus?

Thank you, John D.

Dear John,

This is a very interesting question and one that does not have an easy answer. As someone who supports the use of medical marijuana, I hope that there is some usefulness in this regard. Many pro-marijuana websites have testimonials from people who say marijuana helped reduce the severity of tinnitus. The rationale is that the person becomes calmer. Marijuana eases stress and anxiety. Stress is the leader in making tinnitus worse and reducing stress can significantly help reduce tinnitus.

Also, anti-seizure medications help some people in reducing the anxiety caused by tinnitus. Tinnitus is considered by many to be a form of auditory epilepsy. Marijuana has anti-seizure properties and may be helpful for this reason also.

On the other side of the question, there are reputable physicians who say marijuana will make tinnitus worse.

Unfortunately, there have not been any relevant clinical studies that show whether marijuana is helpful or harmful for people with tinnitus.

The only thing I can say is to try it for yourself. If it helps reduce the sound level, very good. If it makes tinnitus louder, I recommend you immediately discontinue usage. Don't aggravate tinnitus for a long period; it could become permanent.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Would Rather be Deaf than Hear the Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I have severe tinnitus. Most likely from having hearing loss, since my high school years. I wear hearing aids, in both ears, and this tinnitus is driving me crazy. I can't sleep or concentrate on anything. I am about ready to use some ear drops, because being deaf would definitely be welcome.

I have been to ENTs also, and hitting dead ends no matter where go, or who I see, such as ENT'S. They believe the tinnitus was caused by that or some other problem. I have tried a couple different bottles from pharmacies, that claim they would possibly help, so far nothing. If I lose my hearing completely, which is possible, would I still hear the roaring, etc? Please help!

Phyllis L.

Dear Phyllis,

I'm very sorry your tinnitus is so severe. I have also had severe tinnitus in the past and spent several years taking tranquilizers to help calm me down. I don't recommend that now, there are many other avenues to try with much less side effects.

The products on pharmacy shelves are generally unhelpful. Nearly all of them are based on homeopathic principles but there is not a shred of scientific evidence that homeopathy has any effect on tinnitus. We, however, have compiled 35 clinical studies on the ingredients used in Arches Tinnitus Formulas that show efficacy in reducing tinnitus sounds. You must follow the science on this. Many of the clinical studies we have can be viewed in our Tinnitus Library under Clinical Studies on the left side.

There are many avenues to explore. Most ENTs don't know an awful lot about tinnitus. One that does is Dr. Michael Seidman. He is world renowned for his work in this area and he claims to help up to 90% of his patients. He doesn't cure them but he does help to lower the sound level significantly.

Another treatment that can be very effective for tinnitus is biofeedback. This is a well known therapy that teaches patients to relax and control their autonomous bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature. There are many biofeedback centers in most large cities. They are generally run by psychologists who use this technique for a variety of problems.

Please do not consider deafness. Tinnitus may start in the ears but it moves to the brain. If you were deaf, you would most likely hear the roaring noise and nothing more.

I pray this gives you some information and hope for the future.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Sensitive Teeth and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I have loud hissing in my left ear from early afternoon until I go to bed.  For the last few months this is getting louder, I also have had the gum around my back teeth sore and swollen, this is also on my left side and my tooth feels very sensitive and bleeds when cleaning.  Could teeth have anything to do with tinnitus?

Many thanks. Janice W.

Dear Janice,

Dental problems can definitely affect tinnitus. Tooth abscesses or impacted wisdom teeth are a known cause of tinnitus. Dental problems can aggravate Tempero-Mandibular Joint (TMJ)  dysfunction. This is a condition where the jaw is out of alignment with the skull. An infected tooth will spread inflammation that can also cause tinnitus. You may well have an infection that should be examined.

It may be that dental problems are exacerbating your tinnitus but I don't think it's the only cause. Tinnitus caused by dental problems will be continuous until resolved. Since yours is not continuous and begins in the early afternoon, I think you have a component of somatic tinnitus where signals from the body interfere with  audio signals and increase tinnitus. This interference can be caused by many conditions, from TMJ to muscle spasm in the large muscle that moves the head. It's very possible you have TMJ and an infected tooth and the tooth is making it more pronounced. I suggest you consult with your dentist on this. The dentist can also tell you if you have TMJ.

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. We encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.