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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 realizing it. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people have tinnitus than you may realize. Out of every 5 Americans one suffers from tinnitus, so it’s important to make certain people have trustworthy, correct information. The internet and social media, unfortunately, are full of this sort of misinformation according to a new study.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

You’re not alone if you are searching for other people who have tinnitus. Social media is a great place to find like minded people. But there is very little oversight dedicated to ensuring disseminated information is truthful. According to one study:

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

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this amount of misinformation can provide a difficult challenge: The misinformation presented is frequently enticing and checking facts can be time consuming. We simply 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 persists for longer than six months, it is called chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

The internet and social media, of course, did not create many of these myths and mistruths. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A trusted hearing specialist should always be contacted with any concerns you have concerning tinnitus.

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

  • There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the more prevalent types of misinformation plays on the wishes of individuals who suffer from tinnitus. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatments that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively regulate your symptoms.
  • Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus manifests as ringing or buzzing in the ears. But modern hearing aids have been designed that can help you effectively manage your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle problems may aggravate your tinnitus ((for instance, having anything that has caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be decreased by eating certain foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • 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. There are some medical problems which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing untouched.
  • Tinnitus is caused only by loud noises: It’s really known and understood what the causes of tinnitus are. Lots of 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 like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.

How to Find Truthful Information About Your Hearing Issues

Stopping the spread of misinformation is extremely important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for those who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. There are a few steps that people should take to try to protect themselves from misinformation:

  • If the information seems hard to believe, it most likely isn’t true. Any website or social media post that claims to have knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly nothing but misinformation.
  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing specialists or medical professionals involved? Is this information documented by trustworthy sources?
  • Consult a hearing specialist or medical professional: If all else fails, run the information you’ve found by a trusted hearing professional (if possible one familiar with your situation) to see if there is any credibility to the claims.

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

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