SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS: Markku Vesala and Hazel Goedhart of TinnitusTalk
TOPIC: Markku Vesala, founder of Tinnitus Talk, and Hazel Goedhart, content strategist, discuss how the online support forum began in 2011, its mission and goals, as well as their own journeys with tinnitus. Both note that internet forums pose a unique challenge in terms of questionable advice as well as causing some members to fixate on their tinnitus. Nonetheless, the online community can provide a sense of connection and meaning for people with tinnitus.
*Online tinnitus support forums can encourage important communication about the condition, thereby providing a sense of community and empowerment. However, with no gate-keeping mechanism to manage misinformation, it's critical that forum visitors crosscheck information with credible tinnitus websites that vet content, particularly for individuals who recently developed tinnitus or are suffering from depression. False information can contribute to increased tinnitus distress, anxiety, purchases of useless products, and delay in seeking appropriate research-based treatment for its management.