Alarming False Information Regarding Tinnitus And Other Hearing Problems

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

You could be opening yourself to startling misinformation regarding tinnitus or other hearing problems without ever realizing it. This according to recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you might realize. One out of 5 Americans struggles with tinnitus, so it’s essential to make sure people have reliable, correct information. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this kind of misinformation according to a new study.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

If you’re looking into tinnitus, or you have joined a tinnitus support community online, you’re not alone. A great place to build a community is on social media. But making sure information is displayed truthfully is not well regulated. According to one study:

  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was categorized as misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups had misinformation
  • There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos

This quantity of misinformation can be an overwhelming obstacle for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: The misinformation provided is often enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. We 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.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Many of these mistruths and myths, of course, are not invented by social media and the internet. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A trusted hearing professional should always be consulted with any concerns you have about tinnitus.

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

  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will lose your hearing: The connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. There are some medical concerns which could cause tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, many people believe that hearing aids won’t be helpful. Your tinnitus can be successfully managed by modern hearing aids.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: The precise causes of tinnitus are not really perfectly understood or recorded. It’s true that extremely extreme 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.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: The desires of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most common kinds of this misinformation. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, successfully manage your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle changes (for many drinking anything that contains caffeine can make it worse, for example). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.

How to Uncover Truthful Facts About Your Hearing Issues

Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for people who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. To shield themselves from misinformation there are a few steps that people can take.

  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. You probably have a case of misinformation if a website or media post professes a miracle cure.
  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing specialists or medical professionals involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
  • Check with a hearing specialist or medical professional: If all else fails, run the information that you found by a trusted hearing specialist (if possible one acquainted with your situation) to find out if there is any credibility to the claims.

The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking skills are your best defense against Startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing issues at least until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation

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

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