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.
New year resolutions. We make them. We break them. Personally I do an involuntary eye roll when just thinking about them. But when it comes to reducing my tinnitus, I remind myself there are a few positive steps we all can take to make the coming year a little less noisy. So here then are my ongoing resolutions to manage my tinnitus:
Resolution 1: Improve Your Diet and Avoid Foods That Worsen Tinnitus
A poor diet doesn’t cause tinnitus, and eating a healthy diet won’t cure it. But a healthy diet will reduce the sound level, and the wrong foods can make it much worse.
Excessive salt has the most immediate effect and will always worsen tinnitus. Salt constricts the blood vessels, raises blood pressure and reduces blood circulation, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and ears.
Your salt shaker on the table is not the culprit. Salt is heavily used as a preservative in processed and fast foods. An estimated that 70% of Americans’ salt intake comes from processed foods. Salty snacks can also be a problem.
You may not have connected salty meals or snacks with worsened ringing. But mind your salt intake, drink lots of water to help flush excess salt from your system, and you’ll hear the difference.
Food additives enhance flavor, replace sugar or prolong shelf life. MSG, a flavor enhancer, produces glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that excites brain neurons. MSG can cause or increase many neurodegenerative conditions including tinnitus.
Sugar is also heavily used in processed foods. Over 84% of people with tinnitus have been found to have a sugar metabolism disorder called hyperinsulinemia, or increased insulin in the bloodstream. It is the first step toward Type II Diabetes. Over time, people with tinnitus and hyperinsulinemia find that a diet suitable for diabetics greatly relieves their tinnitus.
Sugar substitutes, such as Aspartame, should also be avoided. Like MSG, Aspartame produces excitatory neurotransmitters which aggravate tinnitus. It may also suppress the hormone that tells us when we’re full, which may cause us to eat more than we should.
Most low calorie sweeteners and sugar substitutes are damaging. Some are toxic to hearing in themselves. Others are dangerous synthetic chemicals that can cause numerous diseases. By contrast, sugars in fruit and vegetables are good for us, as long as they are consumed with the fruit and vegetables. However, fruit drinks tend to be very high in easily digested sugars and can aggravate hyperinsulinemia, worsening tinnitus. Stevia is the one sugar substitute that will not worsen tinnitus.
The healthiest diet for tinnitus sufferers is the Mediterranean Diet. It focuses on fresh, whole foods, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry and some red meat. It also allows for a moderate amount of wine. After people who have previously consumed a lot of processed foods become accustomed to the Mediterranean Diet, processed foods lose some of their appeal; they do not taste as good to us as before. One advantage of consuming a good diet is the taste buds improve and food tastes much better.
A full discussion of Diet and Tinnitus is found in this article.
Resolution 2: Adopt a Regular Exercise Program
Exercise improves the heart, helps maintain body weight and reduces blood pressure. It increases blood circulation in the entire body, and especially in the cochlea. Since most tinnitus is related to reduced blood circulation in the capillaries that feed the cochlea, increasing blood circulation there reduces the occurrence of tinnitus.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat physicians) recommends daily exercise as a means of controlling tinnitus. If you are new to exercise, start off slowly and gradually increase the amount over time. Try something you like, so you will stick with it. Walking, running, hiking and swimming are good examples of exercises that can help manage tinnitus.
Resolution 3: Reduce Stress with These Techniques
Stress is a natural response to life’s challenges and can result from both positive and negative experiences. In response to a stressful or threatening situation, chemical changes occur which, in turn, cause physical changes in our body. Blood vessels constrict, reducing circulation, and heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increase. When the situation is resolved, the body returns to its normal function.
With tinnitus, the body often reacts as if it is being threatened. When the tinnitus is constant and prolonged, physical responses to it, such as anxiety, depression and insomnia, can aggravate it further.
Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy all produce profound changes by lowering stress levels and can be extremely helpful in reducing tinnitus. Progressive relaxation techniques can also lower stress levels and tinnitus.
Resolution 4: Enroll in a Yoga Class
Yoga is a very effective way to control physical and emotional stress, and thus to reduce tinnitus. There is a medical explanation for this.
Much of the research discusses glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter which increases electrical activity between neurons. Excessive glutamate in the brain can cause or worsen many neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, hearing loss and tinnitus. Reducing stress lowers glutamate levels and activates calming neurotransmitters such as GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), which reduce the excitability of the neurons. This leads to a feeling of calm, and to reduced tinnitus symptoms.
A 2007 study conducted at the Harvard Medical School showed a 60-minute yoga session increased GABA levels by 27% over those of a control group who spent the time reading. This correlates with what tinnitus researchers now know, that the tinnitus signal travels through GABA receptors in the brain, when they are not functioning properly, to cause tinnitus. Once the GABA receptors are returned to normal, healthy activity, tinnitus decreases.
Resolution 5: Take Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7
Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) has been found in clinical studies to reduce tinnitus in the great majority of people who use it. It is especially helpful for those who have sensorineural hearing loss. This is the type caused by exposure to noise and by advancing age (presbycusis). Sensorineural hearing loss accounts for about 85% of hearing loss and tinnitus.
ATF acts in three ways. It is a powerful glutamate antagonist, blocking glutamate and preventing it from damaging sensitive neurons. It is an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that are generated when neurons become overexcited. And it increases circulation in the capillaries that feed the ears, eyes and brain, thus providing nutrients and fuel to the cochlea.
Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 contains Ginkgo biloba extract, zinc picolinate and odor-reduced garlic. Both Ginkgo biloba and zinc have been shown in numerous clinical studies to reduce tinnitus sound levels caused by sensorineural hearing loss. But before anyone goes to the health food store to purchase any of these compounds individually, they should be aware they may not be getting what they expect.
Consumer Labs has done extensive testing on many over-the-counter brands of Ginkgo biloba. They have found that over 75% of these brands do not meet the international standards that define Ginkgo biloba 24/6. These standards define the minimal amounts of ginkgo flavone glycosides, terpene lactones and bilobalide, the ingredient responsible for antagonizing glutamate.
Ginkgo biloba is an expensive and time-consuming product to manufacture. It takes 50 kg of raw ginkgo leaf to produce 1 kg of extract. Many ginkgo products are adulterated with rutin, a cheap extract of buckwheat, which looks very much like one of the components of ginkgo extract, when examined during normal QA procedures. Rutin provides none of the health benefits of the ginkgo but does reduce the price by 30% – 50%. There are numerous phony ginkgo products on the market; some estimates say they account for as much as 70% of all over-the-counter ginkgo product sales.
Arches has developed a higher potency, more concentrated extract of Ginkgo biloba specifically for people with tinnitus. While the standard ginkgo extract is defined as 24/6, which very few brands really reach, Arches ginkgo has increased these parameters to 26/7, reflecting increased amounts of ginkgo flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. Additionally, the amount of bilobalide has been increased from 2.6% to a minimum of 3.6%, a 40% increase. Arches has trademarked our ginkgo as Ginkgo Max 26/7®. Read the story of the development of Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7.
Arches Tinnitus Formula can be used by itself with good results, and it will significantly enhance the effectiveness of other therapies mentioned here. It takes up to three months to get the full benefit, so we recommend Arches Starter Kit, a three-month supply of four bottles. They can be purchased singly but there is a $20 savings from retail prices, you save on shipping and don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three-month period with the Tinnitus Starter Kit.
Start the year off determined to do what it takes to reduce your tinnitus and lead a calmer, quieter and happier life.
At Arches, Silence is a Science™.