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

You might not realize it but you could be exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. The Hearing Journal has recently published research that backs this up. Allot more people suffer from tinnitus than you may think. Out of every 5 Americans one struggles with tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have trustworthy, correct information. Sadly, new research is stressing just how pervasive misinformation on the web and social media is.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

If you’re researching tinnitus, or you have become a member of a tinnitus support community online, you’re not alone. Social media is a great place to find like minded people. But ensuring information is displayed accurately is not very well moderated. According to one study:

  • There is misinformation in 30% of YouTube videos
  • 34% of Twitter accounts were categorized as having misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups included misinformation

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can provide a difficult obstacle: Fact-checking can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation introduced is, frankly, enticing. 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. If this buzzing or ringing lasts for more than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Prevailing Misinformation Concerning Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Many of these mistruths and myths, of course, are not created by the internet and social media. But spreading the misinformation is made easier with these tools. A reputable hearing specialist should always be contacted with any concerns you have about tinnitus.

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

  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t help because tinnitus is experienced as buzzing or ringing in the ears. Your tinnitus can be successfully managed by modern hearing aids.
  • You will go deaf if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be caused by certain ailments which leave overall hearing untouched.
  • Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that your tinnitus can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle changes ((as an example, having anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be decreased by eating some foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • Tinnitus is caused only by loud noises: The specific causes of tinnitus are not really well known or recorded. It’s true that extremely extreme or long term noise exposure can lead to tinnitus. But tinnitus can also be linked to other things like genetics, traumatic brain injury, and other factors.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: The hopes of people with tinnitus are exploited by the most common types of this misinformation. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatment options that can assist in maintaining a high standard of life and effectively organize your symptoms.

Correct Information Concerning Your Hearing Loss is Available

For both new tinnitus sufferers and those well acquainted with the symptoms it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. There are a few steps that people should take to try to shield themselves from misinformation:

  • Look for sources: Try to determine what the sources of information are. Are there hearing professionals or medical experts involved? Is this information documented by reliable sources?
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is probably little more than misinformation.
  • A hearing specialist or medical professional should be consulted. If you want to determine if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing professional.

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 alarming misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more carefully distinguish information from misinformation

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