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 supporting this. Allot more people have tinnitus than you might think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one struggles with tinnitus, so ensuring people have access to accurate, reliable information is important. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this sort of misinformation according to a new study.
How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?
You aren’t alone if you are looking for others who have tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to build community. But there are very few gatekeepers focused on ensuring disseminated information is truthful. According to one study:
- There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos
- Misinformation is found in 44% of public facebook pages
- Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was classified as misinformation
This amount of misinformation can be an overwhelming obstacle for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: The misinformation presented is frequently enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. 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 known as chronic tinnitus when it continues for longer than six months.
Common Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Social media and the internet, of course, did not invent many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. You need to go over questions you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.
Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better comprehended by exposing some examples of it.
- Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially severe 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: The wishes of people who have tinnitus are exploited by the most common kinds of this misinformation. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. You can, however, effectively manage your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
- You will go deaf if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The link between loss of hearing and tinnitus does exist but it’s not universal. There are some medical problems which could cause tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing untouched.
- Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus is experienced as a select kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, lots of people presume that hearing aids won’t be helpful. Your tinnitus can be effectively managed by today’s hearing aids.
- Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that some lifestyle issues may exacerbate your tinnitus (for many drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse, for example). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating certain foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
Correct Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available
For both new tinnitus sufferers and people well accustomed to the symptoms it’s crucial to stop the spread of misinformation. There are a few steps that people can take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:
- 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? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
- If it’s too good to be true, it most likely isn’t. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly little more than misinformation.
- A hearing specialist or medical professional should be consulted. If all else fails, run the information that you found by a trusted hearing specialist (preferably one acquainted with your situation) to find out if there is any credibility to the claims.
The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking skills are your best defense against startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing issues.
If you have read some information that you are unsure of, set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist.