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Tinnitus Library

Ask Barry - January 2007

OJ aggravate tinnitus? Barry, Are there certain foods or drinks that might aggravate tinnitus? I thought I read that orange juice might be a problem for people with tinnitus so I quit drinking orange juice a week ago and seem to notice a difference, is there a connection?

Bob Tutschulte

Dear Bob, Orange juice does not cause or worsen tinnitus except as it consists of a high amount of simple sugars. These sugars metabolize almost immediately and cause a sugar rush. Researchers have found that most people who have tinnitus also have a sugar metabolism dysfunction called hyperinsulinemia, which is a reduced ability by the body to respond to insulin. When these people were placed on a diet suitable for diabetics, most of them improved over several years. An article on this can be found in our Tinnitus Libray.

Diet certainly can and does affect tinnitus. Dr. Seidman recommends his tinnitus patients restrict themselves to a healthy diet and reduce or eliminate intake of high fat foods, simple sugars (as found in orange juice), salt, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. I refer you to an article on Diet and Tinnitus in our Tinnitus Libray.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

Microscopic embolism and tinnitus

Dear Barry, I am newly diagnosed and the cause has been guessed as a microscopic embolism following neck surgery that traveled to the ear. My tinnitus is currently distressing me and my otolarynologist has today referred me to a clinic for support. I do feel very alone however as I know of no one with this condition. Any advice or support you could give would thus be welcome.

Cordially, Stephanie

Dear Stephanie, There are many people with tinnitus. In the USA there are over 50 million people with the condition and 15 million per year visit their doctor seeking help. I’m sure you will meet many people with tinnitus now that you know what you have and begin learning more about it. There are Tinnitus Support Groups in the UK and you may consider joining one of them.

I microscopic embolism (blood clot) that traveled to your ear is probably blocking circulation in one of the small capillaries that feed the inner ear. It seems to me that medications could dissolve this and open up the capillary in which it’s lodged. However, I’m not a doctor and perhaps medications that dissolve clots aren’t effective in small capillaries. I would get a second opinion and ask that question.

I see you purchased three bottles of Arches Tinnitus Relief Formula recently. This may help to reduce the blockage of the clot. Ginkgo biloba (in Arches TRF) increases circulation and thins the blood, among other effects. Hopefully, this will help your ear return to its previous balance and improve circulation in the inner ear. We recommend you use it for three months, which requires four bottles. I suggest you purchase at least one more bottle before you run out.

In the meantime, diet is very important in managing tinnitus. It is most important to avoid salt, which constricts blood vessels and reduces circulation. Many people notice a reduction in tinnitus once salt is lowered. Other food items to avoid are processed sugar foods, high fat foods, especially trans-fats, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, other than in moderation. Also avoid processed and pre-packaged foods, especially junk food. These foods are loaded with salt and flavor enhancers, which are neurotoxic and cause or worsen tinnitus. We published an article on Diet & Tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times, Barry Keate

B Vitamins for tinnitus

Barry, Is there a benefit for tinnitus suffers to take vitamin B12 and other B vitamins. I have heard this has helped some of them.

Thanks, Sue Conner

Dear Sue, B vitamins in general are very good in regulating stress, energy and mood. They can be very helpful for many people with tinnitus. It has been shown that most people who suffer from tinnitus are deficient in B-12 and taking supplements helps them. It has recently been learned that vitamin B-12, in the form of methylcobalamin form, protects against glutamate damage to the neurons in the auditory nerve. We wrote an article on the benefits of B-Complex vitamins.

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.