Questions Asked by the Tinnitus Community - Answers Provided by Arches President, Barry Keate

Note: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to 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.
Cross-Over Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I am one of your customers. I have very loud ringing in each ear. They are at different levels of pitch and volume (caused by loud noise exposure). Usually I can easily tell them apart but sometimes they appear to “cross-over” to one very loud noise in the center of my head rather than on each side. When this happens, it causes me even more stress.

Have you heard of such a thing from anyone else? I use hearing aids with white noise or wave noise which is of some benefit in general, watch my salt intake, use blood pressure medicine as well as your supplement. But this what I call middle of the head “cross-over” causes me even more distress than the right and left ringing. Any thoughts? Both ears are constant 24 hours a day.

Thanks,
Rick

Dear Rick,

Tinnitus usually begins in the ear, especially if it is due to noise exposure. But it eventually moves to the auditory system in the brain. It is a condition that effects the entire auditory system, from the cochlea to the dorsal cochlear nucleus and onto the auditory cortex. Tinnitus can be heard in any of these structures. That’s the explanation but it doesn’t do much to help you.

You may be interested in trying another tinnitus therapy, along with Arches Tinnitus Formula. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy trains the brain to avoid the aggravation and distress of tinnitus.

Biofeedback trains the patient to control automatic functions of the body that were previously uncontrollable. You can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, practice deep relaxation, and more.

Both of these therapies are widely used to treat tinnitus and the majority of people who use them report very good outcomes. They both work well with Arches Tinnitus Formula

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Dietary Tinnitus Triggers?

Hi Barry,

I have been taking the Tinnitus Formula since Feb. 19. Last week my tinnitus got worse, making it hard to focus. Is it normal for it to get worse before it gets better?

Are there specific vitamins, minerals, and foods that are known to be triggers to make the tinnitus worse?

Thanks!
Diane M

Dear Diane,

No, this is not normal and it’s very likely caused by something else. I have been getting a lot of messages from people whose tinnitus has spiked in the last couple of weeks. In many cases this spike in tinnitus intensity is caused by additional stress from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the necessity to shelter in place, and the isolation of social distancing.

Stress is the #1 trigger for tinnitus and can worsen it significantly. When the stress recedes, tinnitus tends to go back to its previous level.

There are a lot of foods that can worsen tinnitus. Fast food contains high amounts of sodium, which makes tinnitus worse. Sodas, especially diet sodas, should not be consumed as the artificial sweeteners in most can trigger tinnitus.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus reduces.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Can you take too much Vitamin B?

Hi Barry,

My question is regarding B vitamins, and how they can be toxic. I have had doctors tell me that taking to many much B vitamins can cause permanent nerve damage. What amount of B vitamins do you have to take and for how long before they become toxic?

Respectfully submitted,
Darrell

Hi Darrell,

Thanks for asking this question. It is a valid concern and not many people are aware of any toxic levels for B vitamins. B vitamins are essential in that they enable many of the basic functions of metabolism in the body.

Generally, B Vitamins are water soluble and flush through the body quickly. For this reason they need to be replenished on a daily basis. Most of the B vitamins are non-toxic at any level but there are some for which you should be careful.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) – At doses higher than 50 mg per day, skin flushing may occur with some forms of niacin. This is harmless and only lasts a few minutes. Arches uses niacinamide which generally does not cause flushing. Therapeutic doses of 1500 to 1600 mg per day can be used but with the risk of liver toxicity. Arches Tinnitus Stress Formula contains 100 mg.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – Diarrhea can occur at doses of 10 – 20 grams per day. Arches Stress Formula contains 100 mg.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – An acute toxic dosage has not been established but B6 may cause neurotoxicity at a dose of 300 to 500 mg per day. Arches Stress Formula contains 100 mg.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) – Doses above 1000 mcg (micrograms) could conceal the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in older people. Arches Tinnitus B12 Formula contains 400 mcg of methylfolate, a superior form of folic acid which does not need to be metabolized for absorption. It also contains 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

The B vitamin your doctor was most likely referring to is B6, which can cause nerve damage. However, Arches Stress Formula and most other companies B-complex vitamins have dosages well below the threshold level for any damage.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Can Yoga make Tinnitus worse?

Hello Barry,

Can tinnitus get worse after yoga exercise? And can tinnitus get worse in social gatherings?

Thank you,
Sylvia H.

Dear Sylvia,

Tinnitus can get worse after any exercise however it usually doesn’t last long. In fact, it has been shown that Yoga increases GABA production in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to calm electrical activity and reduces tinnitus in the long run. In one study participants underwent 60 minutes of yoga exercise and were compared to a group that spent the time reading. Participants in the yoga study increased brain GABA levels by 27% over those in the reading group.

If social gatherings are loud, they can definitely worsen tinnitus. Most times it will only be a temporary worsening. However, repeated exposure to loud sound can result in damaged hearing that will make tinnitus permanently worse. It’s a good idea to wear hearing protection during exposure to loud sound to prevent permanent damage.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Pour on the salt, pour on the tinnitus

Dear Barry,

After much detailed experimentation, following your literature’s advice, I have determined that an ultra-low sodium diet reduces the ringing substantially. My question is, if I do have a higher sodium diet one day, why am I OK the rest of that day, but wake up with the increased ringing which lasts 24 hours? Then, approximately 40 hours later after the high sodium food, I wake up and the ringing is back in lower levels.

Why does it take so long for the increased ringing to start up and why does it last so long before quieting down. P S Ultra low sodium for me is less than 400 MG a day. The higher sodium diet in question was about 800 MG in one day. What was added was a cup of cottage cheese! Also I am not overweight or have any health problems.

Or, am I imagining this cause and effect? Thank you! Lesley R.

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for your message; this is very important to many people who suffer from tinnitus.

You are not imagining this. It is common knowledge among tinnitus professionals that increased sodium intake exacerbates tinnitus and reducing sodium is helpful in reducing the sound level. Why it takes until the next day to affect you is beyond me. We all process things differently and your metabolism of sodium must be fairly slow. If I have a salty meal, it only takes a couple of hours to increase the tinnitus and the increase only lasts until the next day, when it is generally returned to normal.

You can reduce the amount of time tinnitus is increased by drinking lots of water. This should flush the excess sodium through your system faster.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Chinese food – tinnitus connection?

Dear Barry,

I started work at a Chinese restaurant buffet, two months ago, and I get to eat all I want. I noticed ringing in my ears about two weeks ago. I wonder is it from MSG and all the chemicals they use.

I noticed they have a storage room filled with buckets of MSG and lots of other spices. I must quit eating there then see what happens. I ate a pizza the other day, and noticed ringing got louder.

I need info on what to eat proper. I quit caffeine and alcohol cold turkey. I’m scared of this ringing. Any info you can give me please do.

Thanks,
Eric

Dear Eric,

Diet is a very important part of what keeps our bodies and our hearing healthy. There are numerous food additives, including MSG, that can cause or worsen tinnitus. People with tinnitus should avoid or reduce intake of salt, sugar and sugar substitutes. processed and fast foods, nicotine and food additives such as MSG and Aspartame.

MSG in particular is a dangerous additive that has many side effects. The FDA has tried to ban it but food companies pour money into lobbyists who fight to keep it legal. Other side effects include headache, heartburn, sweating, swelling and flushing of the face, among others. Please read our article on Diet and Tinnitus. Note under the section on MSG there is a link to previous article on Neurotoxins and Tinnitus. Please read that also.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

New Babies Stress Wife’s Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

My wife is suffering from sensation of sound “flowing” into her ear. This does not happen 24/7. It only happen at certain times, like when she feels stressed. We were blessed with twins recently. Please help. How can I help my wife to get this problem resolved?

Thank you,

Aravind

Dear Aravind,

Congratulations on your new babies! I have 7-year old twin granddaughters so I know the havoc and confusion that can reign with two new babies.

I believe your wife does not have a serious case of tinnitus. If it only occurs when she’s stressed, it’s pretty mild. Stress is a major aggravator of tinnitus and always makes it worse.

I think she should be able to control her tinnitus through diet and exercise. It is very important to know which foods aggravate tinnitus and which are good for you. One study showed almost 90% of people with tinnitus have sugar metabolism disorders such as insulin resistance or even diabetes. People with tinnitus should avoid sugary foods and especially sodas, which contain more sugar than almost any other processed food. On the other hand, sugar substitutes are most often harmful, with the exception of Stevia.

Salt should be avoided as it will always make tinnitus worse. The ideal diet consists of whole foods, with a minimum of pre-packaged and canned foods. Pre-packaged foods are always high in salt as it is used as a preservative to increase shelf life. We have an article on Diet and Tinnitus that may be helpful.

Exercise is very good for reducing stress and your wife should take some time to go on long walks. This will settle the nervous system and improve tinnitus.

If her tinnitus remains after altering diet and exercise patterns, she may want to use Arches Tinnitus Formula Starter Kit. This 100 day supply of our formula has been clinically proven to reduce tinnitus for most people. It can take up to three months to become fully effective so we recommend the Tinnitus Starter Kit.

I hope this is helpful and wish the very best for your family.

Wishing you and your wife quiet times,

Barry Keate

A “Honey” of Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Thirteen years ago I wrote to you about my tinnitus, it is non-stop; a type of musical sounding, choir-like humming. It can get very loud and also sounds like an engine running all the time. I wear two hearing aids for quite a few years. Now, I have just read something about honey (causing tinnitus). I have honey on my cereal each day could that be a lot of the cause?

Thank you, Hazel D.

Dear Hazel,

Thank you for your question. I doubt that honey on your cereal would cause this. Excess sugar, especially if you are diabetic, can and does cause tinnitus. Adhering to a diet suitable for diabetics can reduce the noise level. This month’s Quiet Times Newsletter featured an article on the subject: 5 Types of Sugar Substitutes: What to Avoid If You Have Tinnitus.

However, I don’t think you have that kind of tinnitus anyway. What you are describing is musical tinnitus, or musical ear syndrome. Many people who are hard of hearing have this and some people actually like it. This occurs when the brain does not have sufficient sound input and it creates its own. The sounds can be anything from choral humming to TV ads.

We published an article on musical ear syndrome you may find helpful.

Sincerely,

Barry Keate

A Sweet Tinnitus Question

Hi Barry,

I have a question regarding the natural sweeteners stevia and erythritol: Where do they fit in as to being healthy or not healthy? Does either act like a carcinogen? Is it really true when they say zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sugars, zero fat? Is all of that truth or fiction?

Thanks,
Matthew L.

Dear Matthew,

Many of the mainstream artificial sweeteners (Equal, Splenda etc.) are known to exacerbate tinnitus and generally be bad for one’s health.

Stevia however is an excellent choice. It is from a natural plant in South America and is much sweeter than sugar so less is used. Stevia is very healthy to use.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. It is less sweet than sugar and is not completely calorie-free. It is not completely absorbed by the body so can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea if too much is taken. Erythritol actually has 0.24 calories per gram, with only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still has 70% of the sweetness.

Stevia has zero calories and sugars.

Neither of these is carcinogenic. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose are carcinogenic and have many other side effects. These should be studiously avoided.

We have an in-depth article about sugar substitutes and tinnitus that you may find helpful.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Fast Food, Loud Music and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

How do you stop tinnitus spikes? I hardly eat salt, drink caffeine free soda once in a while, and eat some fast food but even food at home makes no difference. Any ideas? Food might not make difference. I ate salad with chicken and no difference. I believe I have self-induced tinnitus due to listening to music with my tablet. Can it go away? I have had it for 22 months.

Thank you,
Ron R.

Dear Ron,

If you have tinnitus due to listening to music, you have hearing loss. There is no cure for hearing loss-induced tinnitus but there are therapies that can reduce the sound level and the aggravation.

A proper diet is necessary to keep tinnitus from getting worse. Salt is the biggest culprit. Fast food contains a large amount of salt and should be avoided. Sodas are also bad for tinnitus because of sugar or sugar substitutes and should also be avoided. Here is our article on Diet and Tinnitus.

Arches Tinnitus Formula has been shown in scientific studies to reduce tinnitus sounds for the great majority of people who use it. It takes three months to become fully effective so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Type 2 Diabetes, Diet and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I have type 2 diabetes and changed my diet. I allow one treat every couple of weeks (take-out – but apart from that mainly fresh fruit and salad). Yesterday I did over do the grapes and bananas (also just drink water and Pepsi Max) and today my tinnitus is terrible. Could this be due to the natural sugars in the grapes or the three bananas I ate yesterday?

Thanks for your help,
Phillip R.

Dear Philip,

Fresh fruits and vegetables are very good for those with diabetes. Fruit juices should be avoided because juices concentrate the sugars. Whole fruit has enough fiber that it slows sugar metabolism and avoids the sugar spikes of juices and other sugary drinks.

Pepsi Max on the other hand is not safe. Pepsi Max is sweetened with Aspartame, a known neurotoxin. It overexcites brain neurons until the point where they become depleted and die. Because of this, it is known as an excitotoxin. Aspartame is known to trigger or worsen many neurological conditions such as MS, epilepsy, Alzheimers, diabetes and tinnitus.

I suggest limiting your fluid intake to water and green tea. These are very healthy and won’t aggravate your diabetes or tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Does diet affect tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

Do you think that things we eat make tinnitus worse? I can’t figure it out. What are we supposed to eat now, and what will help spikes? And your formula; how does that work and how long will it take? Is it a permanent fix or I would have to take it forever?

Thanks,
Ron R.

Dear Ron,

Diet is very important for controlling tinnitus. Many people don’t know salt is a major aggravator of tinnitus and may be chowing down on salty snacks wondering why their tinnitus is spiking. There are many other considerations that are discussed in this article on Diet and Tinnitus.

It takes about three months to get the full benefit of Arches Tinnitus Formula. This is consistent with all dietary supplements used to relieve any condition. After tinnitus is reduced you must continue to use the Tinnitus Formula to keep it that way. Many people find they can reduce the dosage of the Tinnitus Formula after the first three months and still get good results. This depends on the individual. We have a detailed article on the science behind Arches Tinnitus Formula and how it works to minimize symptoms.

Since it takes up to three months to get the full benefit, we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a three-month supply. It requires four bottles of the Tinnitus Formula. You can purchase these individually but there is a significant cost saving by purchasing the entire Starter Kit. Plus, you won’t run the danger of running out during the initial period.

I hope this is helpful for you and answers your questions.

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Pre-diabetic, with sugar cravings and tinnitus

Hello Barry,

In February I was told that I am pre-diabetic. I also have constant ringing in my ears. So if I use only natural sugar substitutes like stevia, lo han guo or glucose, then should I have better blood readings as well as less or no ear ringing? I have been trying to change my eating habits but my craving for sugar and overall hunger seems to have increased. Will using only the above recommended sugar substitutes help relieve me of the hunger and sugar cravings?

Thank you,
Lillian M.

Dear Lillian,

Those sugar substitutes are very good and should be used. You also need to eliminate or dramatically reduce simple carbohydrate intake. Simple carbohydrates convert to sugar almost immediately after ingestion. Being pre-diabetic means you have hyperinsulinemia. This is resistance to insulin and the condition leads to diabetes. It takes a long time to reverse. You should be on a diet suitable for diabetics for at least a couple of years. As the hyperinsulinemia reduces, your tinnitus should also reduce.

Please read our article on how insulin resistance and diabetes cause tinnitus

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Gluten and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Just wondering your thoughts on gluten contributing to or even the cause of tinnitus?

Thank you!
Lyndia G.

Dear Lyndia,

There hasn’t been a lot of research on this but there does seem to be a connection. Celiac disease, the condition afflicting people who are gluten intolerant, is associated with malabsorption; specifically Vitamin B12. Lack of B12 is a known cause of tinnitus.

There also seems to be a link between Celiac disease and hearing loss. In one clinical study, published by the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, a neurological correlation has been found between Celiac disease and sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). SNHL is the condition where hair cells in the cochlea are damaged and hearing is impaired. This is the primary cause of tinnitus in about 85% of cases.

There are many anecdotal reports of people with tinnitus who stopped ingesting gluten and their tinnitus improved. The International Tinnitus Journal reports on one case. A patient with severe high pitched tinnitus reported a considerable decrease in tinnitus with a gluten free diet.

More studies are necessary to explain the exact relationship between Celiac disease and tinnitus. However, there does seem to be a definite affiliation between the two.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The tinnitus, Meniere’s disease and low-carb connection

Hi Barry,

Is there any other research involving tinnitus, Meniere’s disease and a low carb diet as a fix to help alleviate symptoms?

Best regards,
Catherine B.

Dear Catherine,

Yes, there is. Although the original cause of Meniere’s is unknown, it results in the build-up of fluids in the vestibular canals which control balance. High sugar foods cause the body to retain fluid and this can make Meniere’s disease worse. Therefore, a low carb diet should be helpful for Meniere’s.

Sugar metabolism disorders, such as hyperinsulinemia (a precursor to diabetes), has long been known to cause tinnitus. One study showed between 84% and 92% of tinnitus patients were shown to have hyperinsulinemia. When placed on a diet suitable for diabetics, over 50% of patients who adhered to the diet had significant improvement or complete resolution of their tinnitus. The researchers stated sugar metabolism disorders are one of the probable causes of Meniere’s disease as well as tinnitus.

A 2016 study published in the International Archives of Otolaryngology found identification of carbohydrate metabolism disturbances is important to minimize the patients’ clinical symptoms.

Low carb diets are very healthy for a number of reasons, tinnitus and Meniere’s included.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate


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