By Barry Keate
Barry Keate, has lived with tinnitus over 40 years and has published 150+ research articles on numerous aspects of tinnitus. He is an expert on the condition and a well-known advocate for those with tinnitus.
Readers of our Quiet Times newsletter know that Arches Tinnitus Formulas also publishes a monthly help column, “Ask Barry,” where readers can ask questions about tinnitus. As you’d expect, there are common themes. Here we address two of them in the final installment of this three-part series.
Why Do I Hear My Heartbeat in My Ears?
This is the most frequent question I receive. This condition is called pulsatile tinnitus, and it is more common than I used to think.
Pulsatile tinnitus sounds like whooshing or thumping in the ears in synch with the heartbeat. Those who also have regular tinnitus often consider pulsatile tinnitus the more bothersome of the two.
Pulsatile tinnitus is different in that it is not due to damage to the cochlea or hearing nerve. Instead, it is caused by turbulent blood flow. It occurs when the normally smooth laminar flow of blood is disturbed. If this turbulence happens close to the cochlea, it can be heard when the heart beats.
There are many different possible causes of pulsatile tinnitus and different therapies that can be addressed to each type. The cure rate is quite high, once the problem has been correctly identified. The specialist to consult for pulsatile tinnitus is a vascular surgeon. Advanced imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and carotid artery ultrasonography, allow proper diagnosis.
In some cases a serious underlying condition exists, and in rare cases pulsatile tinnitus can lead to a catastrophic event such as a stroke. For most people, though, it is just highly aggravating.
Possible causes include atherosclerotic carotid artery disease, where the blood vessel is narrowed by cholesterol buildup; infection or inflammation of the Eustachian tube, which sometimes also causes decreased hearing and a feeling of fullness in the ear; hypertension, or high blood pressure; and benign intracranial hypertension (BIH), or increased pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid. This last condition often occurs in young, overweight women.
Other causes include glomus tumor, a benign vascular tumor and venous hum, which is increased blood flow through the jugular vein (patients who are pregnant, anemic, or have thyroid problems may be affected by this); intracranial vascular lesion, an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein; and twisted (or tortuous) arteries, which pinch blood flow and cause it to become turbulent.
If pulsatile tinnitus originates in the arteries, pressure applied to the upper neck on the side of the tinnitus should alter or reduce it. If it originates in the veins, the Valsalva maneuver may improve it. This involves blowing against closed lips and a pinched nose, forcing air into the middle ear.
For a more detailed examination of this problem, please see our article, Pulsatile Tinnitus – Causes and Treatments.
Why Should I Use Arches Stress and B12 Formulas?
We discussed in Part 2 of our Frequently Asked Questions that Arches Tinnitus Formula is the most important product for relief of tinnitus. Arches Stress and B12 Formulas are important support products. While they may not directly reduce tinnitus in most patients, they are important for reducing stress and essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Stress is the number one aggravator of tinnitus. It will take a Level 2 or 3 tinnitus (on a scale of 10) and turn it into a Level 7 or 8 virtually overnight. People with tinnitus must learn to control stress. It constricts blood vessels, reducing circulation, and increases heart rate and blood pressure. These changes directly influence the perceived degree of tinnitus.
Arches Tinnitus Stress Formula consists of high potency B-complex vitamins. They are essential for human metabolism and energy production. They help maintain healthy skin, eyes, and muscle tone and support the functions of the liver and central nervous system. B vitamins are known to act as stress relievers and energy enhancers. They work synergistically and must be used together to perform efficiently.
B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they pass through the system and are not stored in fat cells. They must be replaced on a daily basis. They are also easily destroyed during cooking and the preparation of processed foods.
Arches Tinnitus B12 Formula is a separate product, because vitamin B12 is poorly absorbed from the stomach. It is best taken as an injection in a doctor’s office or as a sublingual lozenge, dissolved under the tongue. Our B12 Formula is a sublingual lozenge.
Arches Tinnitus B12 Formula delivers vitamin B12, in the form of methylcobalamin, directly to the system. Methylcobalamin is the superior form of Vitamin B12. Other forms, such as cyanocobalamin, have to be converted to the methyl form in the liver before they can be used.
It is estimated that 15-20% of the population is deficient in Vitamin B12. This vitamin protects against neuronal damage that is the primary cause of tinnitus. It reinforces the myelin sheath which insulates nerve fibers, and helps regenerate damaged neurons.
The B12 Formula also contains folic acid, which is essential for energy production, protein metabolism, and the formation of red blood cells. Deficiency in folic acid quickly leads to anemia and clinical depression. Folic acid reduces birth defects, such as spina bifida, and is recommended for pregnant women.
For more discussion of B vitamins, see our article, How B Vitamins Help Tinnitus.
For those with tinnitus originating in the cochlea and auditory nerve (the great majority of tinnitus patients), Arches Tinnitus Formula® is the primary product to use. Combining this with Arches Tinnitus Stress® and B12 Formula® will stabilize the nervous system, support a healthy good mood, and improve chances for reducing the sound level. All these products can be found together in Arches Tinnitus Combo Pack, a 90-day supply of all three products.