A number of adults hear the persistent noises of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), however this condition is not restricted by age. Many kids 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. If your child shows signs of tinnitus it is important to look into it to rule out any underlying condition.
There are many different conditions that can cause a person of any age to experience tinnitus. 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. Additionally, tinnitus can result from slow-growing tumors on nerves in the ears and face. 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. However, many children and adults experience tinnitus without a clear cause. 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.
Tinnitus can be distracting, making it difficult for your child to pay attention at home or at school. 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.
Some children experience emotional distress as a result of tinnitus. 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 children find that stress can make their tinnitus symptoms much worse.
Always keep in mind that many kids outgrow their tinnitus without intervention, so it may cease to be an issue. While tinnitus can be difficult to deal with, in time your child will likely overcome it.