Tinnitus, commonly known as “ringing in the ears,” affects millions of Americans each year. But did you know that children can experience tinnitus too?
Tinnitus in children is not uncommon. Research shows that between 6 and 13 percent of children with normal hearing experience tinnitus from time to time. Tinnitus often goes unnoticed in children for a few reasons; they are too young to describe the tinnitus, they have come to think of it as normal, or they aren’t troubled by it enough to mention it.
How Does Tinnitus Present Itself in Children?
Tinnitus affects children the same way it does adults. The symptoms of tinnitus present themselves as a ringing, buzzing, humming, or whistling sound inside your child’s ear or head. Tinnitus can range from mild to debilitating.
Many children experience tinnitus on a sporadic basis and are not affected by the sounds they hear. However, one in 12 children with tinnitus experience the symptoms so severely that it interferes with their sleep or concentration in school.
Causes of Tinnitus
There are many factors that can cause tinnitus. Some causes include:
- Cumulative noise exposure from loud sounds
- Wax build-up in the ear canal
- Ear or sinus infections
- Misaligned jaw joints
- Head trauma such as a concussion
- Second-hand smoke exposure
- Hearing loss
Helping Your Child if They Have Tinnitus
At this time there is no specific treatment for tinnitus. Fortunately, most children outgrow tinnitus. If your child has a severe case of tinnitus that is affecting their well-being, then you should take them to an audiologist. An audiologist will evaluate your child’s hearing and discover the cause of the tinnitus. They will look at your child’s health history and if they take any medication. They will be able to verify if your child’s medication is causing the tinnitus or any other factors that may be contributing to the ringing in their ears.
Recognize the Signs of Tinnitus
With young children, it can be difficult for them to understand if something is wrong with their hearing. As a parent, you want to recognize the signs of tinnitus in your child, so you can help them experience relief. Some common signs of tinnitus in children include:
- Reports of ringing, buzzing, humming, clicking, or other sounds they may hear
- Sensitivity to noise
- Poor attention and restlessness in a very young child
- Severe fatigue
- Anxiety or depression
To be proactive about your child’s hearing health and overall well-being it’s important to visit an audiologist if you suspect they have tinnitus or hearing loss. An audiologist will be able to identify the signs of tinnitus, diagnose any conditions, and help your child experience relief from tinnitus.
Find a pediatric audiologist near you and be proactive about your child’s health.