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

You could be opening yourself to startling misinformation regarding tinnitus or other hearing problems without ever recognizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research supporting this. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you might recognize. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so ensuring people have access to accurate, trustworthy information is important. The web and social media, sadly, are full of this type of misinformation according to a new study.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You’re not alone if you are looking for others who have tinnitus. Social media is a great place to find like minded people. But there is very little oversight focused on ensuring displayed information is accurate. According to one study:

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

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a difficult challenge: The misinformation introduced is frequently enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. We simply want to believe it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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 lasts for more than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Common Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Social media and the internet, of course, did not invent many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You need to go over questions you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.

Debunking some examples may show why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:

  • Tinnitus is caused only by loud noises: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Many people, it’s true, have tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly severe or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other issues can also lead to the development of tinnitus.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The wishes of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent forms of this misinformation. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively manage your symptoms.
  • Hearing aids won’t help with tinnitus: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as buzzing or ringing in the ears. But modern hearing aids have been developed that can help you successfully regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in some cases tinnitus and loss of hearing can be connected, but such a link is not universal. There are some medical issues which could trigger tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing untouched.
  • Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle changes (for many consuming anything that has 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

Stopping the spread of misinformation is extremely important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for people who are already well acquainted with the symptoms. There are several steps that people can take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:

  • Look for sources: Try to learn what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Do reliable sources document the information?
  • Check with a hearing specialist or medical professional: If you would like to determine if the information is reliable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing professional.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it most likely isn’t. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post professes a miracle cure.

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking skills are your best defense from shocking misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation

Make an appointment with a hearing care expert if you’ve read some information you are unsure of.

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