Many older people experience the persistent noises of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), however few individuals realize it strikes kids too. Many children also experience the symptoms of tinnitus. Unlike adults, who can usually figure out that the noises they keep hearing are outside of the norm, children are more likely to assume that everyone hears these sounds. 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 kids. 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. Bring your child to your family doctor to 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 hearing instrument specialist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
Should your child’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 kids 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. Run a fan or soft music in the background while your child is at home. Hearing aids can be helpful for children with hearing loss by helping them filter out distractions and focus on important sounds.
Some kids experience emotional distress as a result of tinnitus. 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 kids 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.