Health

Does Your Child Have Tinnitus?

Discovering that your child may be dealing with a health problem can be concerning, especially if you’re unsure what the symptoms indicate. Fortunately, beginning to manage these issues starts with learning more about the underlying problem. One of the most challenging health problems for parents to understand and seek treatment for is tinnitus. Do you believe that your child may be experiencing symptoms of this condition, such as hearing loss or a buzzing and ringing in their ears? If so, let’s take a closer look at tinnitus and what can be done to alleviate these symptoms.

What is tinnitus?

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Tinnitus is the perception of noise that doesn’t have a discernible external cause. Children who are experiencing tinnitus may often complain about hearing buzzing, humming, ringing, roaring, hissing, or clicking that you or others in your household aren’t able to hear. These noises may only be slightly bothersome for some children, having little effect on their day-to-day activities. However, for other children who have more severe tinnitus symptoms, these noises can be disabling, causing them to experience mood and behavioral issues as a result. Regardless of how this hearing issue is impacting your child, you must seek help immediately, starting with a hearing test by an audiologist so that they can get the relief they need.

What treatment options are available?

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The tinnitus remedy that will work for your child will depend entirely upon your child’s diagnosis. The first step that every parent should take is taking them to an audiologist who can better assess their hearing problem and understand what’s going on inside their inner ear or middle ear. With a stronger diagnosis, you can begin working towards getting them the help they need, whether the treatment is minor or major.

What parents need to know about tinnitus is that it accompanies other underlying conditions. Tinnitus itself isn’t a condition on its own. Rather, it’s a symptom of something else that your child may be experiencing. For example, some potentially treatable causes behind these phantom noises include:

  • Ear infections
  • A buildup of earwax in the ear
  • Congestion caused by the flu or a cold
  • Side effects caused by certain drugs (such as NSAIDs or antibiotics)
  • Injuries to the head or neck
  • Problems with the neck or jaw
  • Certain medical conditions, like allergies

If your child is experiencing any of the above, these may be at the root of their tinnitus symptoms. Through treating these underlying conditions, you may then be able to eliminate the symptoms that they’re dealing with. However, this isn’t always guaranteed.

On the other hand, tinnitus can result from something more permanent, like hearing loss in children, which may present additional signs like difficulty communicating with your child or problems in school. For chronic tinnitus, however, there’s no cure. Instead, treatment focuses on making their tinnitus symptoms less prominent and easier to cope with. This means using treatment methods like hearing aids to help amplify external sounds, masking devices that use white noise to drown out tinnitus symptoms, and various therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management so that they can emotionally deal with the side effects of these noises.

While tinnitus can be concerning, the good news is that treatments are designed to help your child lead a better quality of life. Has your child complained about any of the symptoms listed above? If so, use this guide to learn more about tinnitus, what the causes of these phantom noises may be (and whether or not those causes can be treated), and what your next steps are as you help your child seek relief. No matter how severe their symptoms are, there’s always hope with the proper treatment!