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

You could be exposing yourself to startling misinformation regarding tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever recognizing it. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is remarkably common. One out of 5 Americans struggles with tinnitus, so making sure people are given accurate, reliable information is important. Unfortunately, new research is stressing just how pervasive misinformation on the internet and social media can be.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You aren’t alone if you are searching for others with tinnitus. A great place to find like minded people is on social media. But making sure information is displayed correctly is not very well regulated. According to one study:

  • Misinformation is contained in 44% of public facebook pages
  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was categorized as misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation

For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a daunting challenge: The misinformation presented 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 longer than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these myths and mistruths, of course, are not created by social media and the internet. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. You should always go over concerns you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.

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

  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: 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 controlled by today’s hearing aids.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will lose your hearing: It’s true that in some cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: The desires of those who have tinnitus are exploited by the most common kinds of this misinformation. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively handle 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 with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating some foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: It’s not well known and understood what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate result of trauma to the ears, the results of especially extreme or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be linked to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.

How to Uncover Accurate Information About Your Hearing Issues

Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for people who are already well acquainted with the symptoms. There are a few steps that people should take to attempt to protect themselves from misinformation:

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Any website or social media post that claims to have knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly nothing but misinformation.
  • Check with a hearing specialist or medical professional: If all else fails, run the information you’ve found by a respected hearing specialist (preferably one acquainted with your situation) to find out if there is any validity to the claims.
  • 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 dependable sources?

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking skills are your best defense against alarming misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing concerns.

Schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional if you’ve read some information you are unsure of.

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