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. This according to recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is remarkably common. Out of every 5 Us citizens one has tinnitus, so it’s essential to make sure people have trustworthy, correct information. Sadly, new research is stressing just how prevalent misinformation on the web and social media is.

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 build community. But ensuring information is displayed correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:

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

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a difficult challenge: The misinformation presented is usually enticing and fact checking can be time consuming. We simply 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 lasts for longer than six months.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

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

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

  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The wishes of people who have tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent forms of this misinformation. There is no “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatment options that can help you maintain a high standard of life and effectively regulate your symptoms.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as buzzing or ringing in the ears. But newer hearing aids have been developed that can help you effectively regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: The specific causes of tinnitus are not really well known or recorded. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as a direct outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly extreme or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other factors can also result in the development of tinnitus.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: The connection between hearing loss and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. There are some medical issues which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
  • Your hearing can be restored by dietary changes: It’s true that certain lifestyle issues may aggravate your tinnitus ((as an example, having anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.

Accurate Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available

For both new tinnitus sufferers and people well acquainted with the symptoms it’s crucial to stop the spread of misinformation. There are several steps that people should take to try to protect themselves from misinformation:

  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing specialists or medical professionals involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
  • Consult a hearing expert or medical professional: If you would like to see if the information is trustworthy, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to a respected hearing specialist.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Any website or social media post that claims to have knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly nothing but misinformation.

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

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

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