Do you have questions about tinnitus, our products or specific treatments? Ask Barry. Arches President and tinnitus authority, Barry Keate, will select the most representative questions each month for publication. All questions will receive a personal reply from Barry.
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Tinnitus Gets Worse After a Nap
Whenever I wake up from a nap, the ringing in my ears is more intense. Is there a reason for this?
Yes, there is a reason for this. You have what is called somatic tinnitus. This is when signals from the body become entangled with auditory signals in an area of the brain called the dorsal cochlear nucleus. These signals can cause or worsen tinnitus. Two of the most common conditions that cause this are muscle spasm in the neck and TMJ dysfunction. Muscle spasms occur in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle which extends from the ear down to the neck and helps in turning the head. TMJ dysfunction is when the lower jaw is out of alignment with the skull at the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) below the ear. One of these is most likely the cause of worsening your tinnitus and they are both treatable. Please read our article on this condition.
Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate
Crackling in the Ears
I have successfully used your product for about the last eight months. Earlier, the sound was at a very high frequency, but appears to have been circulatory in nature. Recently however, it has come back but to a lesser extent. I am also hearing a crackling noise in the inner ear, almost like something was moving around in my right ear. It may be Eustachian tube related based on some internet research I've done. What should I do?
I’m very happy our product has helped you. The crackling in your ear is most likely due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. This could also increase your tinnitus. Your Eustachian tube is most likely blocked, a condition called otitis media.
I recommend you see an Ear, Nose & Throat physician. Treatments are typically painless and non-invasive and revolve around use of a prescription nasal spray and an antihistamine.
Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate
Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Help Tinnitus?
What is your take on transcranial magnetic treatment? When people can't do antidepressant meds because none appear to be user friendly this approach is an option.
Not sure if this is wise. It appears that when someone suffering tinnitus can't even get this treatment covered by their insurance company. In fact the only way it can be approved is when the tinnitus sufferer is classified as a manic depressed person that the insurance might cover the claim.
Kind of frightening, you think?
Thank you for your question. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been studied for many different conditions, including tinnitus, and shows great promise. It was originally developed as an alternative to electro shock therapy for people with intractable depression and it seems to work well for this.
TMS has been under intense study for some time now. Unfortunately, the United States FDA has not approved it for any use other than depression. That is why insurance companies won’t cover the treatment. It is still being refined with several parameters under close scrutiny to develop the most effective combination of power, wavelength, pulse duration, coil design and other variables. This is similar to the development of cochlear implants for deaf people. It took decades of biomedical engineering before the process was refined enough for clinical applications.
For more information, please read our article on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Tinnitus.
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. We encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.