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

You could be opening yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever recognizing it. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is surprisingly common. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so ensuring people are given correct, trustworthy information is important. The internet 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 other people who have tinnitus. A great place to find like minded people is on social media. But ensuring information is displayed accurately is not very well regulated. According to one study:

  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% included what was categorized as misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups included misinformation
  • There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can present a daunting challenge: The misinformation presented is often 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. If this buzzing or ringing lasts for more than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these myths and mistruths, obviously, are not created by the internet and social media. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. A trusted hearing professional should always be contacted with any concerns you have about tinnitus.

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

  • Tinnitus can be cured: One of the most prevalent forms of misinformation exploits the desires of those who have tinnitus. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatments that can help you maintain a high quality of life and effectively organize your symptoms.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: The precise causes of tinnitus are not always well understood or documented. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially severe or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other factors can also result in the development of tinnitus.
  • Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by certain lifestyle changes ((for example, drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be decreased by eating certain foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be linked, but such a connection is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain sicknesses which leave overall hearing untouched.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, lots of people assume that hearing aids won’t help. But newer hearing aids have been developed that can help you successfully manage your tinnitus symptoms.

How to Uncover Truthful Information About Your Hearing Problems

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

  • Look for sources: Try to learn what the sources of information are. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing professionals or medical experts? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
  • 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 almost certainly nothing but misinformation.
  • A hearing expert or medical professional should be consulted. If all else fails, run the information that you found by a respected hearing professional (preferably one familiar with your situation) to find out if there is any validity to the claims.

The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your best defense against shocking misinformation regarding tinnitus and other hearing issues.

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

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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