Tinnitus is a common condition among adults, but the disorder also strikes children. Children are equally at risk for this potentially debilitating disorder. 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. 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.
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 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. Background noise is an effective way to fight back against this problem. 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. Explain to your child that tinnitus is a common condition that many other kids and adults experience. Work with your doctors and experts to explain the problem to your child in a way he or she can understand. Take steps to help your child deal with stressful situations, as many children find that stress can make their tinnitus symptoms much worse.
Finally, reassure your child (and yourself) that most kids outgrow tinnitus naturally. While tinnitus can be difficult to deal with, in time your child will likely overcome it.