You might not recognize it but you could be exposing yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may recognize. One in 5 US citizens suffers from tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have reliable, accurate information. The internet and social media, unfortunately, are full of this type of misinformation according to a new study.
Finding Information About Tinnitus on Social Media
You aren’t alone if you are searching for other people with tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to build community. But there are very few gatekeepers focused on ensuring displayed information is accurate. According to one study:
- There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was classified as misinformation
- 44% of public Facebook groups had misinformation
This amount of misinformation can be a daunting obstacle for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Checking facts can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation provided 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. This buzzing or ringing is known as chronic tinnitus when it persists for more than six months.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation
Many of these mistruths and myths, obviously, are not created by the internet and social media. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. A trusted hearing professional should always be contacted with any concerns you have concerning tinnitus.
Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better understood by debunking some examples of it.
- Loud noises are the only cause of tinnitus: The specific causes of tinnitus are not really well understood or documented. Lots of people, it’s true, have tinnitus as a direct outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially harsh or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things such as genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
- Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: 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 today’s hearing aids.
- You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The connection between hearing loss and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing untouched.
- Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle changes (for many consuming 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.
- Tinnitus can be cured: The desires of individuals who have tinnitus are exploited by the most common types of this misinformation. There is no “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, effectively manage your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
How to Find Truthful Facts About Your Hearing Issues
For both new tinnitus sufferers and people well accustomed to the symptoms it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. To shield themselves from misinformation there are a few steps that people can take.
- Look for sources: Try to learn what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical professionals involved? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
- If the information seems 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.
- Consult a hearing specialist or medical professional: If you would like to find out if the information is reliable, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to a respected hearing professional.
Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking skills are your best defense against Startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more rigorously distinguish information from misinformation
If you have read some information that you are uncertain of, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.