Hearing Services of Nashville

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

You could be opening yourself to startling misinformation regarding tinnitus or other hearing problems without ever realizing it. This as reported by recent research published in The Hearing Journal. Tinnitus is surprisingly common. Out of every 5 Us citizens one struggles with tinnitus, so it’s essential to make certain people have reliable, correct information. The internet and social media, sadly, are full of this type of misinformation according to new research.

Finding Information Regarding Tinnitus on Social Media

You’re not alone if you are looking for other people who have tinnitus. A great place to find like minded people is on social media. But making sure information is displayed truthfully is not well regulated. According to one study:

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

For individuals diagnosed with tinnitus, this quantity of misinformation can provide a daunting challenge: The misinformation presented is often enticing and fact checking 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. This buzzing or ringing is known as chronic tinnitus when it continues for more than six months.

Prevailing Misinformation About Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

The internet and social media, of course, did not create many of these myths and mistruths. But they do make spreading misinformation easier. A reputable hearing specialist should always be contacted with any concerns you have concerning tinnitus.

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

  • If you’re deaf, you have tinnitus and if you have tinnitus, you will go deaf: 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 concerns which could lead to tinnitus but otherwise leave your hearing intact.
  • Loud noises are the only cause of tinnitus: It’s really known and understood what the causes of tinnitus are. It’s true that very severe or long term noise exposure can lead to tinnitus. But traumatic brain injuries, genetics, and other factors can also result in the development of tinnitus.
  • There is a cure for tinnitus: One of the most prevalent kinds of misinformation plays on the hopes of those who suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus has no miracle cure. You can, however, effectively handle your symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with treatment.
  • Your hearing can be improved by dietary changes: It’s true that some lifestyle problems may exacerbate your tinnitus (for many drinking anything that contains caffeine can make it worse, for example). And the symptoms can be lessened by eating certain foods. But there is no diet or lifestyle change that will “cure” tinnitus for good.
  • Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus: Many people believe hearing aids won’t be helpful because tinnitus is experienced as ringing or buzzing in the ears. But newer hearing aids have been designed that can help you successfully regulate your tinnitus symptoms.

Accurate Information About 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 can take to attempt to shield themselves from misinformation:

  • A hearing specialist or medical consultant 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.
  • If the information appears hard to believe, it probably isn’t true. You most likely have a case of misinformation if a website or media post claims to have a miracle cure.
  • Look for sources: Try to find out what the sources of information are. Was the information written by or sourced from hearing specialists or medical experts? Is this information documented by dependable sources?

Something both profound and simple was once said by astrophysicist Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Not until social media platforms more carefully separate information from misinformation, sharp critical thinking techniques are your most useful defense against shocking misinformation concerning tinnitus and other hearing concerns.

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

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