You might not know it but you could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is surprisingly common. One out of 5 Americans struggles with tinnitus, so making sure people are given accurate, reliable information is essential. The web and social media, sadly, are full of this sort of misinformation according to new research.
How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?
You’re not alone if you are searching for others with tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to build community. But there are very few gatekeepers dedicated to ensuring displayed information is correct. According to one study:
- 30% of YouTube video results included misinformation
- 44% of public Facebook groups contained misinformation
- 34% of Twitter accounts were classified as containing misinformation
This quantity of misinformation can be an overwhelming obstacle for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: The misinformation introduced is usually enticing and fact checking can be time consuming. We want to believe it’s true.
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 known as chronic tinnitus when it lasts for more than six months.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation
Social media and the internet, obviously, didn’t create many of these myths and mistruths. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. You should always discuss concerns you have about your tinnitus with a trusted hearing specialist.
Debunking some examples might show why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:
- Tinnitus can be cured: The wishes of people who have tinnitus are exploited by the most common types 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.
- Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by some lifestyle changes ((for instance, having anything that has caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be lessened by eating some foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
- Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of people, it’s true, have tinnitus as a direct outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially severe or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
- You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The link between hearing loss and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing intact.
- Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Lots of people believe hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as ringing or buzzing in the ears. But today’s hearing aids have been developed that can help you effectively regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
Accurate Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available
For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well acquainted with the symptoms it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. To protect themselves from misinformation there are a few steps that people can take.
- Look for sources: Try to find out what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Is this information documented by trustworthy sources?
- A hearing specialist or medical consultant should be consulted. If you want to see if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to a trusted hearing specialist.
- If it’s too good to be true, it most likely isn’t. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly little more than misinformation.
Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Until social media platforms more rigorously separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking skills are your most useful defense against alarming misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues.
set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you’ve read some information you are unsure of.