You might not realize it but you could be opening yourself to shocking 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 think. One in 5 Americans has tinnitus, so it’s essential to make sure people have reliable, correct information. The internet and social media, unfortunately, are full of this type of misinformation according to new research.
Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media
You’re not alone if you are looking for other people with tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to find like minded people. But there are very few gatekeepers dedicated to ensuring disseminated information is truthful. According to one study:
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% included what was categorized as misinformation
- 44% of public Facebook groups had misinformation
- 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a daunting obstacle: The misinformation introduced is usually enticing and fact checking 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. When this buzzing or ringing continues for more than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation
The internet and social media, of course, 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 trusted hearing specialist.
Debunking some examples might show why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:
- Your hearing can be restored by dietary changes: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle changes (for many drinking anything that has 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.
- Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people think that hearing aids won’t help. Your tinnitus can be effectively managed by modern hearing aids.
- Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: The precise causes of tinnitus are not always well known or documented. It’s true that very harsh or long term noise exposure can cause tinnitus. But tinnitus can also be linked to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
- There is a cure for tinnitus: The wishes of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most common types of this misinformation. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
- If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: The link between loss of hearing and tinnitus does exist but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain illnesses which leave overall hearing intact.
How to Uncover Accurate Information Concerning Your Hearing Problems
Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly 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 find out 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?
- If it’s too good to be true, it most likely isn’t. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.
- Consult a hearing expert or medical professional: If all else fails, run the information that you found by a respected hearing specialist (ideally one acquainted with your situation) to see if there is any validity to the claims.
Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking skills are your strongest defense from shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more rigorously separate information from misinformation
If you have found some information that you are not certain of, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.