A number of older people experience the persistent noises of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), but few individuals realize it strikes children too. Many children also experience the symptoms of tinnitus. While adults can usually determine that the sounds they are hearing are abnormal, many children 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.
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 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.
Should your childâ€™s specialist find a specific issue that is causing the tinnitus, there is a good chance that the problem can be addressed and the condition eliminated. However, many children 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.
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.
Some kids experience emotional distress as a result of tinnitus. If this is the case with your child, it is important to be reassuring and supportive. 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.