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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry: April 2008

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 Barry Keate answers your questions about Tinnitus Send your question to:

Get answers right now to your questions on tinnitus Search our Tinnitus Info Center or FAQs

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. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry.

This month's questions:

Can Laptops Increase Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I have a theory that electromagnetic radiation can exacerbate tinnitus. Every time I use my lap top, it increases - or if quiet starts up. I know there is a group in Sweden that claims people are allergic to electromagnetism. What s you opinion please?

Kind regards Stephanie S.

Dear Stephanie,

I believe there is merit to this argument. The problem is that every second of every day we are surrounded by electromagnetism from a variety of sources. Every electrical or electronic instrument generates electromagnetic radiation, from power lines to televisions to computers, as you mention.

It is literally impossible to avoid this radiation unless we can manage to live in the wilderness. What we can do is prioritize those devices which produce the most radiation and try to avoid the worst of the effects. Microwave ovens are high on the list and my family has discarded ours. Not only for the radiation generated but for what they do to food. Microwave radiation reverses the polarity of the food billions of times a second and tears molecules apart, ionizing them in ways that are not fully understood. Microwave ovens are illegal in Russia and several Scandinavian countries because of this.

I believe the worst culprit, however, is cell phones. Cordless phones in our homes generate radiation as they communicate with radio frequency waves to the base unit. This is typically fairly close and the amount of radiation is gauged to travel a short distance. Cell phones have to generate enough energy to communicate with a cell tower which may be miles away. This is a powerful device and we hold it right against our heads for hours a day. The way to mitigate this is to use a Bluetooth headset and keep the phone itself away from our heads. The Bluetooth only generates enough energy to communicate with the phone, which is usually close by. Then the radiation produced by the phone is not dangerously close.

We published an article on the hazards associated with cell phone use in our Tinnitus Library.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

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Good Days and Bad

Dear Barry,

I am taking the Arches product and have only been on it for three days now and look forward to getting to the few months that lie ahead. I have a question if you would answer it for me, do you at times have good days and very bad days, and did you have times of the day, for no reason that you could put you finger on, that would just go off the meter with the ringing?

I have been watching my diet very close and today when I arrived at home, from having a good day from the ringing for the first time in a week, I ate two small pieces of garlic bread, and later had a small amount of spaghetti for supper, and about four hours after consuming the bread and taking a mile walk, things went down hill from there. I know you must be a busy person, but if you can give me some pointers or history with your tinnitus, it would be greatly appreciated.

I believe I mentioned to you in a earlier e-mail that I would be having an MRI, and I did, and that all was normal, and no tumors. Now I will be having a couple of other test to try and find out if something can be a problem, since I have become greatly discomforted with this in the past two months.

Thank you again. Ron

Dear Ron,

Many people have good days and bad days, some more than others. It is extremely difficult to determine the cause of this. I also have some days that are worse than others although not to the extent that you describe.

The four hour difference makes me think that it could be something in the food you ate. I know if I have a salty meal, it takes about four hours for my tinnitus to increase. Was the garlic bread or spaghetti very salty? If not, there may have been something else in the spices that set it off. We are all different and we all have our own sensitivities to food. Perhaps you can try to recreate the experience by eating the same thing at another time when your tinnitus is low. If it kicks it up again that would be a strong indicator that something in those dishes is the culprit.

Another possible cause is hormonal changes due to thyroid dysfunction. This occurs much more frequently in women than in men but it does happen with men. It also causes strong fluctuations in tinnitus intensity. Our next newsletter article will be on thyroid problems and their relationship to tinnitus. It will be broadcast on April 15 and you will receive our email. You may want to ask your doctors to check thyroid levels. If they are low, the solution is available and effective.

Congratulations on the test results. The great majority of people have clear MRI images. I hope you can get to the bottom of it and I hope our products are very helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Editor's Note: You can read an article by Barry Keate on thyroid dysfunction and tinnitus in this issue of Quiet Times.

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Xanthones for tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

Have you heard of any benefit from fruits high in xanthones (like the mangosteen fruit) for tinnitus sufferers?

Thank you very much! Herb Lapin

Dear Herb,

Xanthones from Mangosteen are powerful antioxidants. As such they are very healthful to take and will fight many disease conditions. However there is no clinical evidence that support the use of xanthones for tinnitus. There have not been any clinical studies conducted and the company, XanGo, does not make any claims regarding tinnitus. The product certainly won’t hurt and it may help. There is no way to know.

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. If you are under a physician's care, please share with your doctor any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry.