Tinnitus is a well-known problem among adults, but tinnitus doesn’t discriminate by age. Many children also experience the symptoms of tinnitus. While adults can usually determine that the sounds they are hearing are abnormal, many kids assume the noise is a regular part of life. Listen to your child if he or she reports tinnitus symptoms as they may be a result of an underlying problem.
Tinnitus is caused by a number of different conditions in both adults and children. The disorder is linked to wax build-up in the ear canal, problems in the circulatory system, misaligned jaw joints, noise-induced hearing loss, and head and neck trauma. Slow-growing tumors on nerves in the face and ears can also cause tinnitus. Your family pediatrician can help rule out any specific ear problems. If there are not any obvious issues, you will likely be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist or audiologist for further investigation.
If the examination uncovers a specific reason for your child’s tinnitus, the issue can usually be alleviated by addressing the underlying problem. Unfortunately, many incidences of tinnitus are not associated with a specific issue. In this case, there is no way to eradicate the problem, so your focus should shift to helping your child cope with the sounds he or she is hearing.
Your child may find that his or her tinnitus makes concentration difficult. One way to combat this is to provide background noise. Consider playing soft music or running a fan when your child needs to concentrate. If your child is suffering from hearing loss alongside tinnitus, a hearing aid can help her focus on important sounds and filter out distractions.
Tinnitus can cause some kids to experience psychological distress. If this is the case with your child, it is important to be reassuring and supportive. Explain to your child that tinnitus is a common condition that many other kids and adults experience. Ask your audiologist about how you can explain tinnitus to your child in a way that makes sense to them.Take steps to help your child deal with stressful situations, as many kids find that stress can make their tinnitus symptoms much worse.
Finally, reassure your child (and yourself) that most kids outgrow tinnitus naturally. While it may be a nuisance now, with time your child can overcome it.