Tinnitus In Children

This page was updated on Wednesday 21st of February 2018

Children and Tinnitus
Tinnitus is frequently believed as being common only in adults; this is not the case because children can suffer from tinnitus too.  Causes of tinnitus in children could be the result of ear infections, noise exposure and head injuries. Children with tinnitus can grow out of the infliction; others carry it into adult life believing that the noise or noises in the ears are normal.

In severe cases children can suffer from hearing difficulty resulting in poor grades at school.  The psychological effect upon the child will vary according to the tinnitus severity and often can result in sleep apnea.

Tinnitus ReliefIf you suspect that your child has tinnitus then consultation with the family doctor or pediatrician is the first step.  In most cases your family doctor will give you a referral for your child to visit an ENT specialist (ears, nose & throat).  The ENT specialist will then have your child embark upon a treatment with the view of eliminating the tinnitus sounds.

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Common treatments may include:

  • Advising the child that the condition is not unusual and there is no medicine or surgical procedure that can be used to cure tinnitus. Explaining to the child what tinnitus is and possible treatments and projected outcomes, will help relieve the stress and anxiety that the child may be experiencing.
  • Further testing perhaps involving hearing tests and CT scans
  • Sound therapy is commonly used in treating tinnitus in children.  A sound generator is used blocking out the tinnitus noise experienced by the child.  In this process the brain is trained to overlook the tinnitus sound.  Children are much better at adapting to different environments and stimulants than adults, so it is probable that if the condition is treated carefully they will have a full recovery.
  • Directions will also be given to improve the child’s ability to sleep and to relax.
  • Hearing impaired children may have relief from tinnitus by wearing hearing aids.  Straining to hear can often worsen the effects of tinnitus.

Remember:  Middle ear infections and waxy buildup in a child’s ear can cause temporary tinnitus.
If treated correctly tinnitus in children usually results in a full recovery.

Useful Resources:

Tinnitus in childhood:   tinnitus.org.uk/tinnitus-in-childhood

Children and tinnitus:   hear-it.org/Children-have-tinnitus-too

Dangerous Decibels:   http://www.dangerousdecibels.org

Wise Ears:   http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/wise/Pages/Default.aspx

Noisy Planet:   http://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/Pages/Default.aspx

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