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Tinnitus

Read this page if your child has ringing in her ears, or if the doctor says she may have tinnitus.

What tinnitus is
Tinnitus (tin-it-us) is a ringing in the ears. The noise can be hissing, roaring, or ringing. The sound can be very loud and annoying.

Children with tinnitus may hear the sounds all the time or only sometimes. Tinnitus can be in one or both ears.

Signs of tinnitus
Your child may feel:

  • buzzing or ringing in her head
  • a lot of pressure in her head or ears
  • pain from a bad headache
  • throbbing or vibrating in her ears
  • sensitive to sounds
  • normal noises make your child cover her ears
  • it's hard to pay attention.

Tinnitus is usually related to hearing loss.

Types of tinnitus
There are two types:

  • Subjective tinnitus. Only your child can hear the noises.
  • Objective tinnitus. Your child's doctor can also hear the noises.

The degree of your child's tinnitus can be mild to severe.

Causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can have different causes. Your doctor will do tests to see what is causing your child's tinnitus:

Hearing loss. People with different kinds of hearing loss also have tinnitus:

  • Problems in the outer ear, like too much ear wax.
  • Problems in the middle ear, like an infection or otosclerosis.
  • Problems in the inner ear, like hearing loss.
  • Problems caused by loud noise.
  • Problems with getting older.

  • Medicine.

    • More than 200 medications can cause tinnitus.
    • Aspirin, ibuprofen, and sleeping aids can cause tinnitus, too.
    • If your child has tinnitus, ask your doctor if your child's medicine is causing it.


    Health problems. Other health problems can cause tinnitus:

    • Allergies
    • Tumors
    • Problems in the heart and blood vessels
    • Problems in the jaw and neck
    • Diabetes and thyroid disease
    • Hyperacusis
    • Stress
    • Hormones
    • Meniere's disease


    How you can help your child


    Get help.

    • First, ask a hearing specialist or ENT doctor to give your child an exam.
    • The doctor will see if she can figure out what is causing the tinnitus.
    • Your doctor may talk with other specialists or a special counselor.


    Find treatments that work. The treatment your child gets depends on what is causing the tinnitus. Talk with your doctor about choices:

    • Hearing aids
    • Ear plugs and ear muffs
    • Maskers
    • Medication
    • Retraining therapy. This treatment uses counseling and maskers.
    • Counseling


    Help your child feel better. Help your child these ways:

    • Relax
    • Rest and get enough sleep
    • Wear ear protection
    • Stay away from loud noises
    • Deal with stress
    • Eat less salt and eat right
    • Don't smoke or drink
    • Cut back on caffeine, like coffee and soda
    • Exercise
    • Communicate clearly.


    Learn more about tinnitus.
    Find out more about tinnitus from the American Tinnitus Association.

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