A number of older people experience the constant noises caused by tinnitus (ringing in the ears), but this condition isn’t restricted by age. Many kids also experience the symptoms of tinnitus. Unlike adults, who can usually figure out that the noises they keep hearing are outside of the norm, kids 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.
There are many different conditions that can cause a person of any age to experience tinnitus. Among the many potential causes are circulatory problems, hearing loss from damaging noise, a build-up of wax in the ear canal, a misalignment in the jaw joints, and trauma to the neck and head. 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.
If the examination uncovers a specific reason for your child’s tinnitus, the issue can usually be alleviated by addressing the underlying problem. Unfortunately, many incidences of tinnitus are not associated with a specific issue. 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. Consider playing soft music or running a fan when your child needs to concentrate. Hearing aids can be helpful for kids 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. Take steps to help your child deal with stressful situations, as many kids find that stress can make their tinnitus symptoms much worse.
Finally, reassure your child (and yourself) that most children outgrow tinnitus naturally. While it may be a nuisance now, with time your child can overcome it.