Tinnitus from birth?
In a previous post, I wrote about protecting against tinnitus and in particular situations of loud noise as it’s one of the key instigators for tinnitus. There’s also a theory that we all actually have tinnitus to some form or another but it’s not to a form that it ever affects us and we generally classify it as head noise.
There are some people who unfortunately are born with tinnitus. One can argue that maybe the same applies if someone is born with any other ailment or abnormality that they would learn to deal with it and that they know nothing better than what they have and this is a logical argument which is true to say in the case of someone born with tinnitus.
Children in this case generally assume that everybody else is experiencing the same thing and they have a much better tolerance at forgetting about it than someone who develops tinnitus later on in life.
The first, correct thing that we’re told is that there is no cure/quick fix for tinnitus, there are however some good solutions that can provide good levels of help to the child but not specifically produced for children as distinct from adults.
In terms of trying to offer a solution, it would be best advice where possible to allow the child to tolerate and forget about it and habituate naturally. Solutions such as notched & sound, hearing aids/patches etc are options once your ENT specialist has diagnosed properly and that indeed what the child is experiencing is tinnitus.
How might your child be born with tinnitus or develop early on?
Firstly, your child might have experienced some trauma at childbirth that may lead to meniere’s disease or tinnitus. This could stem from trauma to the lower jaw and early onset TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) on delivery. In many cases, this can be fixed or alleviated a lot.
Secondly, related to TMJ is neck trauma. Again, at delivery, trauma to the neck is possible at delivery stage which can lead to tinnitus.
Other reasons for tinnitus at birth
It’s relatively easy to test for the basic bodily functions, positions, reactions etc after a child is born but how well the inner ear, cochlea, and middle ear bone development is a much different story and harder to diagnose but can be the source of tinnitus from birth.
There is also the possibility of tumours or other growths which develop as a defect and can be the cause of tinnitus especially unilateral tinnitus which is something of a concern later in life if you are complaining of tinnitus on one side only.
For some children, they may need to be medicated to treat something else that may have occurred. In some cases, this medication may interfere with the development of the ear and may result in medically induced tinnitus.
IN early/formative years, head injuries, ear infections, ear wax, loud noises etc are all causes and reasons why tinnitus might occur early in life (as is the case with adults). In that previous post on protecting against tinnitus, I wrote about young people and their exposure to loud noises eg at a wedding, concert, live event etc. In it I expressed my concern that young people are sitting on a timebomb in a sense listening to music at hugely elevated volumes.
Another important one here is the effect of 2nd hand smoke inhalation. This poses an obvious vascular risk and the risk that inadequate blood flow means that extremities such as the ears aren’t getting enough of oxygen rich blood.
Signs of tinnitus in young children
Complaint about the sound especially around times of anxiety
Sensitivity to noise and looking be out of and away from noisy environments.
Holding ears during a tantrum
Scratching involuntarily at the ears.
Early onset depression
Thanks for reading. Worrying to think that there may be some born with tinnitus. Difficult and hard to deal with but if they are already habituated it may go somewhat towards leading a relatively normal life. I hope that you got something interesting from this,