A number of adults hear the constant noises of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), however few people realize it affects kids too. Kids 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. Listen to your child if he or she reports tinnitus symptoms as they may be a result of an underlying problem.

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. 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 children 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 tinnitus can be difficult to deal with, in time your child will likely overcome it.

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