There is Allot of False Information Regarding Tinnitus And Other Hearing Problems

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

You might not recognize it but you could be opening yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you might think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so it’s important to make certain people have trustworthy, accurate information. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this kind of misinformation according to new research.

Finding Information Regarding 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 there is very little oversight dedicated to ensuring disseminated information is accurate. According to one study:

  • 30% of YouTube video results included misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups contained misinformation
  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% contained what was classified as misinformation

For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can present a daunting challenge: Fact-checking can be time-consuming and allot of the misinformation provided is, frankly, enticing. 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. If this buzzing or ringing continues for more than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these mistruths and myths, of course, are not created by the internet and social media. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. A trusted hearing specialist should always be contacted with any questions you have about tinnitus.

Debunking some examples might show why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:

  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in some cases tinnitus and loss of hearing can be connected, but such a connection is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing untouched.
  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Many people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as ringing or buzzing in the ears. Your tinnitus can be effectively managed by modern hearing aids.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by certain lifestyle changes (for many consuming 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 is caused only by loud noises: The exact causes of tinnitus are not always well understood or recorded. It’s true that extremely extreme or long term noise exposure can cause tinnitus. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more prevalent kinds of misinformation exploits the desires of those who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. You can, however, successfully manage your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.

How to Uncover Accurate Facts About Your Hearing Problems

For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well acquainted with the symptoms it’s essential to stop the spread of misinformation. There are several steps that people should take to try to protect themselves from misinformation:

  • Consult a hearing expert or medical professional: If you want to see if the information is trustworthy, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to a respected hearing professional.
  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical professionals involved? Is this information documented by reliable sources?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. Any website or social media post that claims to have knowledge of a miracle cure is probably little more than misinformation.

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking techniques are your best defense against shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues at least until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation

If you have found some information that you are unsure of, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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