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

You may not recognize it but you could be opening yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing issues. This based on recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Allot more people have tinnitus than you might recognize. Out of every 5 Us citizens one suffers from tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have reliable, correct information. Unfortunately, new research is stressing just how prevalent misinformation on the web and social media is.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

You’re not alone if you are looking for others with tinnitus. A great place to build a community is on social media. But there are very few gatekeepers dedicated to ensuring disseminated information is truthful. According to one study:

  • 34% of Twitter accounts were categorized as having misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
  • 44% of public Facebook groups contained misinformation

This quantity of misinformation can be an overwhelming challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: The misinformation provided is frequently enticing and fact checking can be time consuming. We simply 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 known as chronic tinnitus when it persists for longer than six months.

Prevailing Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

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

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

  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Because tinnitus manifests as a select kind of ringing or buzzing in the ears, many people assume that hearing aids won’t help. But today’s hearing aids have been developed that can help you effectively regulate your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: One of the most common forms of misinformation exploits the hopes of those who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Loud noises are the only cause of tinnitus: It’s really known and documented what the causes of tinnitus are. It’s true that extremely extreme or long term noise exposure can lead to tinnitus. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other issues can also result in the development of tinnitus.
  • Changes in diet will restore your hearing: It’s true that some lifestyle problems might aggravate your tinnitus ((for example, having 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 go deaf if you have tinnitus, and if you are deaf you already have tinnitus: The connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus does exist but it’s not universal. There are some medical issues which could trigger tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.

How to Uncover Accurate Facts Concerning Your Hearing Concerns

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

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post professes a miracle cure.
  • Look for sources: Try to find out where your information is coming from. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing professionals or medical experts? Do trustworthy sources document the information?
  • Consult a hearing expert or medical professional: If you want to determine if the information is dependable, and you’ve tried everything else, run it by a respected hearing specialist.

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

If you have found some information that you are not certain of, set up an appointment with a hearing care specialist.