Hearing Aids by Tricia Leagjeld - Redmond, OR

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

You could be opening yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever realizing it. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may recognize. One out of 5 Americans has tinnitus, so it’s important to make sure people have reliable, accurate information. The web and social media, unfortunately, are full of this type of misinformation according to a new study.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

You’re not alone if you are looking for other people with tinnitus. A good place to build a community is on social media. But making sure information is disseminated accurately is not very well regulated. According to one study:

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

For anyone diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can present a daunting obstacle: Fact-checking can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation presented is, frankly, enticing. We want to believe it’s true.

What Is Tinnitus?

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 persists for longer than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Social media and the internet, of course, didn’t create many of these myths and mistruths. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. A reputable hearing specialist should always be consulted with any questions you have about tinnitus.

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

  • Tinnitus is caused only by loud noises: The precise causes of tinnitus are not really well known or recorded. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially extreme or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other issues can also lead to the development of tinnitus.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the most prevalent kinds of misinformation exploits the desires of people who have tinnitus. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, effectively manage your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Because tinnitus is experienced as a select kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, many people believe that hearing aids won’t be helpful. But today’s hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully manage your tinnitus symptoms.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: It’s true that in some cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a connection is not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain diseases which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle issues might exacerbate your tinnitus ((for example, drinking anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating some foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.

How to Find Accurate Facts Concerning Your Hearing Issues

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

  • Look for sources: Try to get a feel for where your information is coming from. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing professionals or medical experts? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post professes a miracle cure.
  • A hearing expert or medical professional should be consulted. If you’ve tried everything else, run the information that you found by a trusted hearing professional (preferably one acquainted with your case) to see if there is any validity to the claims.

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking techniques are your best defense against Startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing Concerns 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 professional.

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