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

You could be opening 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 have tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so it’s important to make sure people have reliable, correct information. The web 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 looking into tinnitus, or you have joined a tinnitus support group online, you aren’t alone. Social media is a great place to find like minded people. But making sure information is disseminated correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:

  • 44% of public Facebook groups had misinformation
  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% included what was classified as misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results included misinformation

This amount of misinformation can be an overwhelming challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Checking facts can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation presented is, frankly, enticing. We simply want to believe it’s true.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common medical condition in which the person suffering hears a buzzing or ringing in one’s ears. If this buzzing or ringing persists for more than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

The internet and social media, of course, didn’t create many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You need to discuss questions you have about your tinnitus with a trusted hearing specialist.

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

  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that certain lifestyle issues might aggravate your tinnitus ((for example, drinking anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating some foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
  • 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. There are some medical issues which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: The exact causes of tinnitus are not always well known or documented. It’s true that extremely severe or long term noise exposure can lead to tinnitus. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other factors can also cause the development of tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people think that hearing aids won’t be helpful. Your tinnitus can be successfully managed by today’s hearing aids.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The hopes of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent types of this misinformation. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can help you maintain a high quality of life and effectively regulate your symptoms.

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 accustomed to the symptoms. To shield themselves from misinformation there are several steps that people can take.

  • Check with a hearing expert or medical professional: If you would like to find out if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing professional.
  • Look for sources: Try to get a feel for what the source of information is. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. You probably have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your most useful defense against startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing issues.

Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you’ve read some information you are not sure of.

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