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

You could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever recognizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research supporting this. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one has tinnitus, so making sure people are given accurate, trustworthy information is important. The internet and social media, unfortunately, are full of this sort of misinformation according to new research.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

If you’re looking into tinnitus, or you have become a member of a tinnitus support community online, you aren’t alone. A good place to find like minded people is on social media. But making sure information is displayed correctly is not well regulated. According to one study:

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

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a daunting challenge: Checking facts can be time-consuming and allot of the misinformation presented is, frankly, enticing. We simply 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. If this buzzing or ringing continues for longer than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Social media and the internet, obviously, did not invent many of these myths and mistruths. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. You need to go over concerns you have about your tinnitus with a reputable hearing specialist.

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

  • You will go deaf if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and loss of hearing can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain conditions which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. Many people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate result of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly extreme or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other issues can also result in the development of tinnitus.
  • Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that certain lifestyle issues may 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 there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more common kinds of misinformation plays on the desires of those who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high quality of life and effectively manage your symptoms.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Because tinnitus is experienced as a select kind of buzzing or ringing in the ears, many people believe that hearing aids won’t be helpful. But newer hearing aids have been developed that can help you effectively regulate your tinnitus symptoms.

Correct Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available

For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well accustomed to the symptoms it’s essential to stop the spread of misinformation. There are a few steps that people should take to attempt to protect themselves from misinformation:

  • Look for sources: Try to find out where your information is coming from. Are there hearing specialists or medical experts involved? Do trustworthy sources document the information?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. You probably have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.
  • A hearing expert or medical professional should be consulted. If you would like to see if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing specialist.

The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your best defense against shocking misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing issues.

If you have read some information that you are uncertain of, set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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