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Is There Such a Thing As Tinnitus in Teens?

Is he or she a gamer? Musician? Athlete? Tinnitus isn’t cliquish. It can affect just about anyone. Tinnitus in teens is more common than one might think. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP), about one-third of adolescents experience tinnitus. 1

In an age of constant connectivity, teens are increasingly experiencing tinnitus and hearing loss for many reasons, most often due to extended periods of listening to music with earbuds. Oftentimes, ringing in their ears goes unnoticed, because they don’t complain. They think it is perfectly normal. The good thing is that tinnitus in teens tends to dissipate as they age. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery reports that it’s unusual to see a child carry tinnitus into adulthood. 2

Studies reveal that simple things like wax build up, ear and sinus infections, and exposure to second-hand smoke can be contributing factors. Acquired or congenital hearing loss, dizziness, certain medications (like antibiotics, aspirin and chemotherapy), and a family history of tinnitus are also likely catalysts. As with adults, teens with continuous tinnitus suffer from what scientists are calling psycho-emotional factors like anxiety and depression, so it’s important to watch for unusual signs your teens may have.

Signs Your Teen Might Have Tinnitus

  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Poor focus, restlessness
  • Tantrums, irritability, holding their ears or head
  • Severe fatigue
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Complaints of buzzing, ringing, clicking or similar sounds

If your teen exhibits any of these warning signs, take him or her to a physician or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat – ENT specialist). While there is no cure for tinnitus, treatments and therapies can help manage your teen’s ear-ringing symptoms. Remember, tinnitus in teens is real and it’s more common than most people think. Look for the warning signs, and remind them to lower the volume in their earbuds.

Sources

1 – “What is Tinnitus (Ringing in Ears)?” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/tinnitus

2 – “When Your Child Has Tinnitus,” Patient Health Information, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,

https://www.entnet.org//content/when-your-child-has-tinnitus

“Chronic Tinnitus in Children and Adolescents,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9476106