Man looking up information on tinnitus in social media on his cell phone.

You could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever realizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one struggles with tinnitus, so making sure people have access to correct, trustworthy information is important. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this type of misinformation according to new research.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

If you’re researching tinnitus, or you have become a member of a tinnitus support community online, you aren’t alone. Social media is a great place to build community. But making sure information is displayed accurately is not very well moderated. According to one study:

  • There is misinformation contained in 30% of YouTube videos
  • Misinformation is contained in 44% of public facebook pages
  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was classified as misinformation

For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can provide a difficult obstacle: The misinformation introduced is often enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. We simply want to believe it’s true.

Tinnitus, What is it?

Tinnitus is a common medical condition in which the person suffering hears a buzzing or ringing in one’s ears. When this buzzing or ringing continues for longer than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these myths and mistruths, of course, are not invented by social media and the internet. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You should always discuss questions you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.

Debunking some examples might demonstrate why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:

  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as ringing or buzzing in the ears. But modern hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: The precise causes of tinnitus are not always perfectly known or documented. Many people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as a direct result of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly severe or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things such as genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle issues may exacerbate your tinnitus ((for instance, drinking anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be decreased by eating some foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: The desires of people with tinnitus are exploited by the most common kinds of this misinformation. There is no “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, effectively manage your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will lose your hearing: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain illnesses which leave overall hearing untouched.

How to Uncover Accurate Information Concerning Your Hearing Concerns

Stopping the spread of misinformation is extremely important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for people who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. To shield themselves from misinformation there are several steps that people can take.

  • Look for sources: Try to find out what the source of information is. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Do reliable sources document the information?
  • A hearing specialist or medical consultant should be consulted. If you’ve tried everything else, run the information you’ve found by a respected hearing professional (preferably one familiar with your situation) to find out if there is any credibility to the claims.
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is probably nothing but misinformation.

The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking techniques are your strongest defense against Startling misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues at least until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation

If you have read some information that you are unsure of, set up an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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