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Perhaps some help, some hope!

Now 61, I have lived with tinnitus for about 10 years. The first few years seemed hopeless, with my ear doctor just giving me a prescription for a low dose of Prozac. This did ease my feelings of desperation, but no change in my condition.

However, he did make one comment which has put me on the road to some relief for the past several years. On one visit, he mentioned that some research suggested that tinnitus was due to an imbalance between Sodium and Potassium across the membranes of the inner ear. After noticing that the volume of my tinnitus increased terribly after a slice of pizza, I decided to go on a low-sodium diet. This has helped considerably. Now I read labels almost religiously, and have given up canned goods and many processed foods.

Perhaps an even more significant effect was discovered when I underwent a Glucose Tolerance test administered one morning after fasting all night. Before the test, "normal" tinnitus; after, terrible tinnitus--and all I had consumed was a beverage that was mostly water and glucose. However, it did contain the preservative Sodium Benzoate. This is now found in so many products, especially beverages and some other foods needing refrigeration.

Actually, I think my condition is aggravated more by these additives and preservatives than straight sodium-chloride (salt). Last year, I had to have a colonoscopy and had to drink 4 liters of water with measured amounts of salt and sodium bicarbonate to prepare my large intestine for this procedure. Much to my surprise, I had NO change in volume or distress with my tinnitus! So I think sodium benzoate and its cousins are best avoided at all times.

One other help has come from including the grain Millet in my diet. If I have eaten something which bothers my tinnitus, I have discovered that this grain seems to neutralize the offending substances over several days, bringing my tinnitus down to more tolerable levels. It is not a cure, but it sure has given me days of relief for many months now. A long time ago, a friend had mentioned that Millet was the only grain to have an alkalizing effect on the body--and that is very good when trying to balance our internal systems!

Carl Swanson


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