HEARING TIPS

Shocking Misinformation About Tinnitus And Other Hearing Problems

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 problems without ever recognizing it. This according to recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is remarkably common. One out of 5 Americans suffers from tinnitus, so ensuring people have access to accurate, trustworthy information is important. The web and social media, unfortunately, are full of this sort of misinformation according to a new study.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You aren’t alone if you are looking for others who have tinnitus. Social media is a great place to find like minded people. But there are very few gatekeepers focused on ensuring disseminated information is truthful. According to one study:

  • 34% of Twitter accounts were categorized as having misinformation
  • Misinformation is found in 44% of public facebook pages
  • There is misinformation contained in 30% of YouTube videos

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can provide a difficult obstacle: Fact-checking can be time-consuming and allot of the misinformation introduced is, frankly, enticing. We want to believe it’s true.

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

Common Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these myths and mistruths, obviously, are not invented by the internet and social media. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A trusted hearing professional should always be consulted with any questions you have about tinnitus.

Why this misinformation spreads and how it can be challenged can be better understood by debunking some examples of it.

  • Tinnitus can be cured: The hopes of individuals with tinnitus are exploited by the most prevalent types of this misinformation. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Tinnitus is caused only by loud noises: The precise causes of tinnitus are not really perfectly known or documented. Many people, it’s true, suffer tinnitus as an immediate result of trauma to the ears, the results of especially harsh or long-term loud noises. But tinnitus can also be connected to other things such as genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • You will lose your hearing if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: It’s true that in certain cases tinnitus and hearing loss can be connected, but such a link is not universal. There are some medical problems which could trigger tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle problems might aggravate your tinnitus (for many consuming 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.
  • Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Many people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus manifests as buzzing or ringing in the ears. Your tinnitus can be effectively controlled by today’s hearing aids.

Accurate Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available

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

  • Consult a hearing specialist or medical professional: If you would like to determine if the information is reliable, and you’ve tried everything else, talk to a respected hearing specialist.
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly little more than misinformation.
  • Look for sources: Try to learn what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical professionals involved? Do reliable sources document the information?

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” acute critical thinking skills are your strongest defense from shocking misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation

Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you’ve read some information you are uncertain of.

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