You may not know it but you could be opening yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing problems. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may think. One out of 5 Americans struggles with tinnitus, so making sure people are given accurate, trustworthy information is essential. The web and social media, sadly, are full of this sort of misinformation according to new research.
How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?
You’re not alone if you are searching for other people with tinnitus. Social media is a great place to build community. But there are very few gatekeepers focused on ensuring disseminated information is accurate. According to one study:
- 44% of public Facebook groups contained misinformation
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was classified as misinformation
- There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos
For anyone diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can present a daunting obstacle: The misinformation introduced is often enticing and fact checking 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. When this buzzing or ringing persists for more than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.
Common Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Many of these myths and mistruths, 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 recognized by exposing some examples of it.
- Hearing aids won’t help with tinnitus: Because tinnitus manifests as a select kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people assume 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: It’s not well known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of people, it’s true, have tinnitus as an immediate result of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly harsh or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be linked 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 individuals who have tinnitus. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively regulate 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. There are some medical concerns which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
- Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by certain lifestyle changes ((for instance, drinking anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And there may be some foods that can temporarily diminish symptoms. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
How to Uncover Accurate Information About Your Hearing Issues
Stopping the spread of misinformation is extremely important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for those who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. There are a few steps that people can take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:
- A hearing specialist or medical consultant should be consulted. If you want to see if the information is trustworthy, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing specialist.
- If it’s too good to be true, it most likely isn’t. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.
- Look for sources: Try to learn what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more rigorously distinguish information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your most useful defense against startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing concerns.
Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you’ve read some information you are uncertain of.