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

You could be exposing yourself to startling misinformation about tinnitus or other hearing issues without ever realizing it. The Hearing Journal has recently published research supporting this. Tinnitus is remarkably common. One in 5 US citizens suffers from tinnitus, so ensuring people are given accurate, reliable information is important. Unfortunately, new research is stressing just how prevalent misinformation on the internet and social media is.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You’re not alone if you are looking for others who have tinnitus. A good place to build a community is on social media. But making sure information is disseminated truthfully is not well moderated. According to one study:

  • 44% of public Facebook groups included misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results included misinformation
  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% contained what was classified as misinformation

This quantity of misinformation can be an overwhelming challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Checking facts can be time-consuming and too much of the misinformation provided is, frankly, enticing. We want to believe it’s true.

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 called chronic tinnitus when it persists for more than six months.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Social media and the internet, of course, didn’t invent many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A trusted hearing professional should always be consulted with any concerns you have concerning tinnitus.

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

  • Tinnitus can be cured: The desires of those who have tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent forms of this misinformation. There is no “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, effectively manage your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that some lifestyle issues may exacerbate your tinnitus (for many consuming anything that contains caffeine can make it worse, for example). And the symptoms can be diminished by eating certain foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • Tinnitus is triggered only by loud noises: The precise causes of tinnitus are not always perfectly known or documented. Lots of people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as a direct outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of particularly severe or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other issues can also cause the development of tinnitus.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a link is not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain ailments which leave overall hearing intact.
  • Tinnitus isn’t improved by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a certain kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, lots of people presume that hearing aids won’t be helpful. But today’s hearing aids have been designed that can help you effectively manage your tinnitus symptoms.

How to Uncover Truthful Information About Your Hearing Problems

For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well accustomed to the symptoms it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. To shield themselves from misinformation there are a few steps that people can take.

  • A hearing expert or medical consultant should be consulted. If all else fails, run the information you’ve found by a trusted hearing specialist (preferably one acquainted with your situation) to find out if there is any credibility to the claims.
  • Look for sources: Try to get a feel for what the source of information is. Are there hearing specialists or medical experts involved? Is this information documented by dependable sources?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. Any website or social media post that claims to have knowledge of a miracle cure is probably nothing but misinformation.

The astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said something both simple and profound: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking techniques are your best defense from shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation

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

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