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

You could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation regarding tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever recognizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Allot more people have tinnitus than you might realize. Out of every 5 Americans one suffers from tinnitus, so it’s important to make sure people have reliable, accurate information. Sadly, new research is stressing just how pervasive misinformation on the web and social media can be.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

You aren’t alone if you are searching for others with tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to find like minded people. But there are very few gatekeepers dedicated to ensuring displayed information is truthful. According to one study:

  • 34% of Twitter accounts were categorized as having misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups had misinformation

This amount of misinformation can be an overwhelming obstacle for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: The misinformation provided is usually enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. We want to believe it.

Tinnitus, What is it?

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

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Many of these mistruths and myths, obviously, are not invented by social media and the internet. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. You should always discuss concerns you have about your tinnitus with a trusted hearing professional.

Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better comprehended by debunking some examples of it.

  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The wishes of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent types of this misinformation. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. You can, however, effectively handle your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The link between hearing loss and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain diseases which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people assume that hearing aids won’t help. But newer hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: It’s really known and understood what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as a direct outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially extreme or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle issues might aggravate your tinnitus (for many drinking anything that contains caffeine can make it worse, for example). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.

Correct Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available

For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well accustomed to the symptoms it’s essential to stop the spread of misinformation. There are a few steps that people can take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:

  • If the information seems hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. You probably have a case of misinformation if a website or media post professes a miracle cure.
  • Look for sources: Try to get a feel for where your information is coming from. Are there hearing professionals or medical professionals involved? Do trustworthy sources document the information?
  • Consult a hearing expert or medical professional: If you’ve tried everything else, run the information that you found by a respected hearing specialist (if possible one acquainted with your situation) to see if there is any credibility to the claims.

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

If you have found some information that you are uncertain of, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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