Children and tinnitus

Tinnitus is not just for adults. Children, too, can suffer from this condition.

Often children believe the noise in their ears to be normal and have trouble describing the problem. However, identifying the problem and treating it as early as possible is important.

Children rarely complain or even talk about it when they hear the bothersome tinnitus noises. Some children who are born with tinnitus or stricken at an early age often believe that other children hear the same noises in their ears. They learn to live with it as best they can.

If you suspect that your child has tinnitus you should have your child examined first by your doctor. If necessary, your doctor can refer your child to an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Like adults, children with tinnitus rarely can be totally cured, but a variety of treatments can help most of them to cope in the best way possible. Usually, children are less burdened by preconceptions and more open to modern tinnitus therapy. Therefore, they often see good results sooner than do adult tinnitus patients. The various treatments may help the child relax and focus less on the unpleasant noises.

If your child is diagnosed with tinnitus it becomes important to reassure her that she is not the only one with this problem. Tell your child that many other children suffer from tinnitus, as well, and go through the same experience. Take the time to help your child understand what tinnitus is and that in time this problem can be overcome.

Few studies have examined the prevalence of tinnitus in children. One study estimated that between 6 percent and 13 percent of children with normal hearing experience tinnitus from time to time. Among children with hearing difficulties, the bothersome noises in the ears affect as many as 24 percent to 29 percent to some degree. Tinnitus may be caused by ear infections, noise exposure and head injuries in children, just like in adults.

Source: 'Child support', Oneinseven, issue 41, june/july 2004

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