You might not know it but you could be opening yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. The Hearing Journal has recently published research supporting this. Tinnitus is surprisingly common. Out of every 5 Americans one struggles with tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have reliable, accurate 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 researching tinnitus, or you have joined a tinnitus support group online, you aren’t alone. A good place to find like minded people is on social media. But making sure information is disseminated correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:
- 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
- 44% of public Facebook groups contained misinformation
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% contained what was categorized as misinformation
For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a difficult challenge: Checking facts can be time-consuming and allot 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. This buzzing or ringing is known as chronic tinnitus when it continues for longer than six months.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation
Many of these myths and mistruths, of course, are not created by social media and the internet. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A trusted hearing professional should always be consulted with any concerns you have about tinnitus.
Exposing some examples might illustrate why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:
- Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: The specific causes of tinnitus are not really well known or documented. Many people, it’s true, have tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly extreme or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other factors can also cause the development of tinnitus.
- Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Because tinnitus manifests as a select kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, lots of people think that hearing aids won’t help. Your tinnitus can be successfully managed by today’s hearing aids.
- Tinnitus can be cured: One of the more prevalent forms of misinformation exploits the hopes of those who suffer from tinnitus. There is no “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, successfully manage 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 connection between hearing loss and tinnitus does exist but it’s not universal. There are some medical issues which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing untouched.
- Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by some lifestyle changes ((for instance, drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be lessened by eating some foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
Accurate Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available
For both new tinnitus sufferers and people well accustomed to the symptoms it’s crucial to stop the spread of misinformation. There are several steps that people should take to attempt to shield themselves from misinformation:
- Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing specialists or medical professionals involved? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
- 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 professes a miracle cure.
- A hearing expert or medical consultant should be consulted. If you would like to see if the information is trustworthy, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing professional.
The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking skills are your best defense from alarming misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more rigorously separate information from misinformation
set up an appointment with a hearing care professional if you’ve read some information you are not sure of.