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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 recognizing it. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people have tinnitus than you might think. Out of every 5 Us citizens one has tinnitus, so ensuring people have access to accurate, trustworthy information is important. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this sort of misinformation according to a new study.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You’re not alone if you are searching for other people who have tinnitus. Social media is a very good place to find like minded people. But there are very few gatekeepers dedicated to ensuring displayed information is correct. According to one study:

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

For people diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can present a difficult obstacle: The misinformation presented is usually 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 continues for more than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

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 professional should always be consulted with any questions you have concerning tinnitus.

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

  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: The specific causes of tinnitus are not really well understood or documented. Many people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as a direct 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.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: The hopes of those with tinnitus are exploited by the most common kinds of this misinformation. Tinnitus doesn’t have a miracle cure. There are, however, treatments that can help you maintain a high standard of life and effectively manage your symptoms.
  • Your hearing can be restored by dietary changes: It’s true that certain lifestyle problems might aggravate your tinnitus ((for example, drinking anything that has caffeine can make it worse for many people). 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.
  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The link between loss of hearing and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain sicknesses which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Many people believe hearing aids won’t help because tinnitus manifests as ringing or buzzing in the ears. But today’s hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully manage your tinnitus symptoms.

How to Find Accurate Facts About Your Hearing Problems

Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for those who are already well acquainted with the symptoms. There are several steps that people can take to attempt to shield themselves from misinformation:

  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing specialists or medical experts? Do trustworthy sources document the information?
  • Consult a hearing specialist or medical professional: If you would like to determine if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to 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 professes a miracle cure.

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 techniques are your best defense against startling misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing concerns.

Make an appointment with a hearing care expert if you’ve read some information you are not sure of.