A number of adults hear the persistent noises caused by tinnitus, but this condition isn’t constrained by age. Children are equally at risk for this potentially debilitating disorder. 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.
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 your appointment does not uncover any obvious issues, your doctor will likely advise you to investigate further with an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
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 kids and adults experience tinnitus without a clear cause. If there is no clear cause, addressing the problem can be difficult, making it more constructive for you to focus on helping your child cope.
Tinnitus can be distracting, making it difficult for your child to pay attention at home or at school. Background noise is an effective way to fight back against this problem. Run a fan or soft music in the background while your child is at home. 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 children to experience psychological distress. In this case it is important to be supportive and reassuring about the condition. Make sure your child understands that tinnitus is a common problem that affects many other children. Work with your doctors and experts to explain the problem to your child in a way he or she can understand. Some children find that their tinnitus gets worse when they are under stress, so work with your child to find ways to manage stressful situations.
Always keep in mind that many children outgrow their tinnitus without intervention, so it may cease to be an issue. While it may be a nuisance now, with time your child can overcome it.