Tinnitus is a medical condition in which the patient hears a ringing or similar noise which is not produced by an external source. It can occur in one or both ears and ranges in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and may either be continuous or sporadic.
Tinnitus is not uncommon in children; however, it is often undiagnosed, as children often do not complain of it. Researchers believe that a children experiencing tinnitus will consider the noise in the ear to be normal – especially if it has been present for a long time. A child also may not be able to distinguish between the medical significance of the tinnitus and it’s psychological impact.
The condition has been linked to a number of causes, including ear injuries, circulatory system disorders, build up in the ear canal, ear infections, sinus infections, noise-induced hearing loss, or head and neck trauma.
Continuing tinnitus has be distracting and in some cases can cause psychological distress and interfere with a child’s ability to lead a normal life. Luckily, it is very unusual for a child’s tinnitus to follow them into adulthood, as they usually outgrow the symptoms over time.
If you are concerned that your child might have tinnitus, start by arranging an appointment with your family doctor. It may be necessary to have your child referred to an ear specialist. Many people who experience tinnitus find out that there is no specific issue causing their tinnitus, and therefore there is no exact cure. In some cases, external sound generators to provide background noise may help. Additional measures can also be used, depending on the severity of the tinnitus, such as use of hearing aids to help the child’s brain filter out the tinnitus noises.
While tinnitus can be a debilitating condition for some children, and it is fairly common in children, the good news is that most children outgrow the condition on their own. Parents can use a variety of methods to help their child deal with the symptoms of tinnitus.