You could be opening yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing problems without ever recognizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Tinnitus is surprisingly common. Out of every 5 Americans one struggles with tinnitus, so ensuring people have access to accurate, reliable information is important. Sadly, new research is stressing just how pervasive misinformation on the web and social media can be.
How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?
You’re not alone if you are searching for others who have tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to find like minded people. But ensuring information is disseminated correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:
- There is misinformation contained in 30% of YouTube videos
- Misinformation is found in 44% of public facebook pages
- 34% of Twitter accounts were categorized as having misinformation
This amount of misinformation can be a daunting challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Checking facts can be time-consuming and allot of the misinformation introduced 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 continues for more than six months.
Common Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Many of these myths and mistruths, of course, are not invented by social media and the internet. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You need to discuss concerns you have about your tinnitus with a trusted hearing specialist.
Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better comprehended by debunking some examples of it.
- Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Because tinnitus is experienced as a certain kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, lots of people think that hearing aids won’t be helpful. Your tinnitus can be effectively managed by modern hearing aids.
- Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: It’s not well known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. It’s true that very harsh or long term noise exposure can lead to tinnitus. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other issues can also cause the development of tinnitus.
- Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle issues may exacerbate your tinnitus ((for example, drinking anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be lessened by eating some foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
- You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in some cases tinnitus and loss of hearing can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain ailments which leave overall hearing untouched.
- There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more prevalent kinds of misinformation exploits the desires of people who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
Correct Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available
Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for those who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. To shield themselves from misinformation there are a few steps that people can take.
- Look for sources: Try to find out what the sources of information are. Are there hearing specialists or medical professionals involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
- A hearing expert or medical consultant should be consulted. If you’ve tried everything else, run the information you’ve found by a trusted hearing professional (ideally one acquainted with your situation) to see if there is any validity to the claims.
- If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is probably little more than misinformation.
Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Sharp critical thinking techniques are your strongest defense against Startling misinformation about 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 not certain of, set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist.