Hearing Health Blog

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 realizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Allot more people have tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so ensuring people are given accurate, reliable information is important. The web and social media, sadly, 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. A good place to find like minded people is on social media. But ensuring information is displayed truthfully is not well regulated. According to one study:

  • 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
  • 34% of Twitter accounts were classified as containing misinformation
  • Misinformation is found in 44% of public facebook pages

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can provide a difficult obstacle: Checking facts can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation presented 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. This buzzing or ringing is called chronic tinnitus when it lasts for more than six months.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

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

Exposing some examples may illustrate why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged:

  • Your hearing can be restored by dietary changes: It’s true that some lifestyle problems might aggravate your tinnitus (for many drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse, for example). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • Loud noises are the only cause of tinnitus: It’s not well known and understood what the causes of tinnitus are. Many people, it’s true, have tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly severe or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be linked to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Many people believe hearing aids won’t help because tinnitus is experienced as ringing or buzzing in the ears. Your tinnitus can be successfully managed by modern hearing aids.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The hopes of people with tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent types of this misinformation. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively manage your symptoms.
  • 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 does exist but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing intact.

Correct Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available

Stopping the spread of misinformation is extremely 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.

  • 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 almost certainly nothing but misinformation.
  • A hearing specialist or medical professional should be consulted. If all else fails, run the information you’ve found by a trusted hearing professional (ideally one familiar with your situation) to see if there is any validity to the claims.
  • Look for sources: Try to find out where your information is coming from. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing professionals or medical experts? Do reliable sources document the information?

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute 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

Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you’ve read some information you are not sure of.

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