A Study of Social Media Utilization by Individuals With Tinnitus Purpose As more people experience tinnitus, social awareness of tinnitus has consequently increased, due in part to the Internet. Social media platforms are being used increasingly by patients to seek health-related information for various conditions including tinnitus. These online platforms may be used to seek guidance from and share experiences ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 06, 2018
A Study of Social Media Utilization by Individuals With Tinnitus
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Aniruddha K. Deshpande
    The Hear-Ring Lab, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    Long Island Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) Consortium, NY
  • Shruti Balvalli Deshpande
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Queens, NY
    Long Island Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) Consortium, NY
  • Colleen O'Brien
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Queens, NY
    Long Island Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) Consortium, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Aniruddha K. Deshpande: aniruddha.deshpande@hofstra.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar×
  • Editor: Ann Eddins
    Editor: Ann Eddins×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 06, 2018
A Study of Social Media Utilization by Individuals With Tinnitus
American Journal of Audiology, December 2018, Vol. 27, 559-569. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-18-0033
History: Received February 6, 2018 , Revised April 5, 2018 , Accepted May 25, 2018
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2018, Vol. 27, 559-569. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-18-0033
History: Received February 6, 2018; Revised April 5, 2018; Accepted May 25, 2018

Purpose As more people experience tinnitus, social awareness of tinnitus has consequently increased, due in part to the Internet. Social media platforms are being used increasingly by patients to seek health-related information for various conditions including tinnitus. These online platforms may be used to seek guidance from and share experiences with individuals suffering from a similar disorder. Some social media platforms can also be used to communicate with health care providers. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of tinnitus-related information on social media platforms.

Method The present investigation analyzed the portrayal of tinnitus-related information across 3 social media platforms: Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, and YouTube. We performed a comprehensive analysis of the platforms using the key words “tinnitus” and “ringing in the ears.” The results on each platform were manually examined by 2 reviewers based on social media activity metrics, such as “likes,” “followers,” and “comments.”

Results The different social media platforms yielded diverse results, allowing individuals to learn about tinnitus, seek support, advocate for tinnitus awareness, and connect with medical professionals. The greatest activity was seen on Facebook pages, followed by YouTube videos. Various degrees of misinformation were found across all social media platforms.

Conclusions The present investigation reveals copious amounts of tinnitus-related information on different social media platforms, which the community with tinnitus may use to learn about and cope with the condition. Audiologists must be aware that tinnitus sufferers often turn to social media for additional help and should understand the current climate of how tinnitus is portrayed. Clinicians should be equipped to steer individuals with tinnitus toward valid information.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this work were presented at the American Academy of Audiology Conference, Nashville, TN, in April 2018.
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