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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 exposing yourself to shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing problems. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is remarkably common. Out of every 5 Us citizens one has tinnitus, so it’s important to make certain people have reliable, correct information. Unfortunately, new research is emphasizing just how pervasive misinformation on the web and social media can be.

How Can You Find Information About Tinnitus on Social Media?

You’re not alone if you are searching for other people who have tinnitus. A good place to build a community is on social media. But ensuring information is displayed truthfully is not very well moderated. According to one study:

  • Out of all Twitter accounts, 34% had what was classified as misinformation
  • 30% of YouTube video results contained misinformation
  • Misinformation is contained in 44% of public facebook pages

This quantity of misinformation can be a daunting challenge for anyone diagnosed with tinnitus: Fact-checking can be time-consuming and a large amount of the misinformation presented 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. When this buzzing or ringing persists for more than six months, it is known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss, Common Misinformation

Many of these myths and mistruths, 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 questions you have about tinnitus.

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

  • Changes in diet will improve your hearing: It’s true that your tinnitus can be aggravated by some lifestyle changes ((for example, having anything with caffeine can make it worse for many people). And the symptoms can be lessened by eating some foods. But tinnitus can’t be “cured” for good by diet or lifestyle changes.
  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will lose your hearing: The connection between hearing loss and tinnitus is real but it’s not universal. Tinnitus can be triggered by certain illnesses which leave overall hearing untouched.
  • Tinnitus can be cured: One of the more common kinds of misinformation exploits the wishes of those who suffer from tinnitus. There isn’t a “miracle pill” cure for tinnitus. You can, however, successfully handle your symptoms and retain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Tinnitus isn’t helped by hearing aids: Lots of people assume hearing aids won’t help because tinnitus manifests as ringing or buzzing in the ears. Your tinnitus can be effectively controlled by today’s hearing aids.
  • Loud noises are the only trigger of tinnitus: The specific causes of tinnitus are not always well understood or recorded. Lots of people, it’s true, have tinnitus as an immediate outcome of trauma to the ears, the results of especially severe or long-term loud noises. But traumatic brain damage, genetics, and other factors can also lead to the development of tinnitus.

Accurate Information About Your Hearing Loss is Available

Stopping the spread of misinformation is incredibly important, both for new tinnitus sufferers and for those who are already well accustomed to the symptoms. To protect themselves from misinformation there are several steps that people can take.

  • Look for sources: Try to get a feel for where your information is coming from. Are there hearing professionals or medical professionals involved? Do dependable sources document the information?
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. Any website or social media post that professes knowledge of a miracle cure is almost certainly nothing but misinformation.
  • A hearing specialist or medical consultant should be consulted. If all else fails, run the information that you found by a trusted hearing specialist (ideally one familiar with your case) to find out 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 techniques are your strongest defense against shocking misinformation about tinnitus and other hearing Concerns at least until social media platforms more rigorously distinguish information from misinformation

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