Tinnitus in children
Tinnitus is not something only adults experience. Many children hear tinnitus, too, and the symptoms and strategies for managing tinnitus in kids are pretty much the same as they are for adults.
Some children, particularly those who’ve had tinnitus from a young age, may think everyone experiences it and not let it bother them but, for others, it can be frightening. They may wonder where the noise is coming from or, in older children, may even worry they are going mad or having auditory hallucinations.
It’s important to reassure your child that tinnitus is very common and that there are many ways to manage its symptoms.
- Explain what is happening in simple terms. A good approach would be to say their brain is hearing a sound which doesn’t have matching sound outside. Sometimes our brains play tricks on us but it’s entirely possible to train them not to listen to the tinnitus sounds.
- Get your child’s hearing checked as tinnitus is often experienced by those with hearing loss, though this is not always the case. Hearing aids are an excellent solution for tinnitus in those who also have hearing loss.*
- Speak to a professional to get expert, tailored advice for your child. Solutions for managing tinnitus are often very simple and a hearing professional will help to quickly identify the right solutions for your child.
- Practice relaxation exercises with your child. Stress and anxiety are proven to worsen the symptoms of problematic tinnitus. Regular relaxation will help lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and take their mind off tinnitus.
- Have a chat with their teacher to let them know what is going on. If your child is having trouble concentrating in class because of their tinnitus, there are many simple ways to make things easier for them, such as moving them away from noisy areas. Your hearing professional will be able to help you with this.
- Encourage your child to speak up when tinnitus is becoming problematic, whether it’s at home or school. If they feel embarrassed by their tinnitus, you could discuss a discreet way they can signal to the teacher without drawing attention to themselves.
- Foster healthy habits in your child, such as healthy eating, lots of exercise and, most importantly, lots of fun! When our minds are absorbed in hobbies and activities we enjoy, they are less likely to focus on the sounds of tinnitus. Plus, the happy hormones may help to keep your child relaxed and alleviate anxiety.
- Don’t despair about your child’s tinnitus. While it’s a good idea to seek professional help, rest assured most people’s tinnitus goes away on its own and, while there is no specific ‘cure,’ it can easily be effectively managed.
*If your child has hearing loss you may be eligible for government-subsidised services from Australian Hearing. Call 1300 740 301 or live chat with a Hearing Help specialist to find out more.