You might not realize it but you could be exposing yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may recognize. One in 5 Americans suffers from tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have trustworthy, correct information. The web and social media, sadly, are full of this sort of misinformation according to a new study.
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’re not alone. Social media is a very good place to build community. But there is very little oversight focused on ensuring displayed information is accurate. According to one study:
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was categorized as misinformation
- 44% of public Facebook groups included misinformation
- There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos
This amount of misinformation can be an overwhelming challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Checking facts can be time-consuming and too much of the misinformation presented is, frankly, enticing. We simply want to believe it.
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 called chronic tinnitus.
Common Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Social media and the internet, obviously, didn’t invent many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You should always discuss concerns you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing professional.
Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better understood by debunking some examples of it.
- Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by certain lifestyle changes (for many drinking anything that contains caffeine can make it worse, for example). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating some foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
- If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a connection is not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain ailments which leave overall hearing intact.
- Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Because tinnitus is experienced as a select kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, many people assume that hearing aids won’t help. But newer hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
- There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more prevalent types of misinformation plays on the wishes of people who have tinnitus. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
- Loud noises are the only cause of tinnitus: The exact causes of tinnitus are not always perfectly known or documented. It’s true that extremely harsh or long term noise exposure can cause tinnitus. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things such as genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
How to Uncover Truthful Facts Concerning Your Hearing Problems
For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well acquainted with the symptoms it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. There are several steps that people should take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:
- A hearing expert or medical professional should be consulted. If you’ve tried everything else, run the information you’ve found by a trusted hearing professional (preferably one familiar with your situation) to find out if there is any validity to the claims.
- 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.
- Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing professionals or medical experts? Is this information documented by trustworthy sources?
The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking skills are your strongest defense against alarming misinformation about 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 specialist if you’ve read some information you are not sure of.