Tinnitus in Toddlers – What is it and Top Causes

4 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Tinnitus in toddlers

The sensation of hearing a sound that is not external is tinnitus. Tinnitus in toddlers is very common. A ringing or buzzing sound can be heard inside the ear which no one else can hear. Many toddlers are not troubled by it, but a few find it distressing. Talking about tinnitus with your kid and explaining about the condition and reassuring them is important.

Tinnitus in toddlers appears temporarily or is there all the time. Apart from hearing it within an ear or both ears, some toddlers may experience or sense it somewhere in their head. The noise can be felt quieter or louder, but we do not know why tinnitus starts. In the majority of toddlers tinnitus is not something serious. Find out more about this condition, and why it happens in this article.

In This Article

What is Tinnitus in Toddlers?

Tinnitus is hearing a sound that is not external

Tinnitus refers to the ringing or buzzing sound a toddler hears which comes from inside their ear. The sound may occur in one or both ears. Tinnitus may be there continuously or happen occasionally. Most toddlers have a normal hearing ability and surprisingly they outgrow the symptom before adulthood. Toddlers experience a humming, hissing, clicking sound or the buzzing or ringing sound.

On a normal note, we see that toddlers do not complain of tinnitus. It is believed by researchers that a toddler feels the noise in the ear is normal for they experience this noise for a long time. Tinnitus becomes a natural part of them, so they rarely mention it.

The buzzing sound is brief and occasional, and it lasts a few seconds. Most toddlers are not bothered by tinnitus and normally it goes away without any treatment or intervention. Some toddlers find tinnitus affecting their daily lives and require assistance to deal with it.

Causes of Tinnitus in Toddlers

Tinnitus may occur due to ear wax etc.

Mostly tinnitus in toddlers is not due to a medical cause and generally nothing to get worried about. The normal and possible causes are due to ear wax, noise exposure, and certain medications. Sometimes concussion, jaw and dental problems may cause tinnitus in toddlers. When a toddler is anxious about it or when a toddler is stressed out for some other reason, you may find that tinnitus increases.

When neurons in the brain’s auditory pathways send signals which are in no way related to an actual sound source, then tinnitus occurs. In very rare cases, tinnitus is a physical sound that is produced within the body by the musculoskeletal system or the circulatory system.

Treatment Options For Tinnitus in Toddlers

There are several treatment options available for toddlers battling tinnitus

Based on a toddler’s report of symptoms, doctors diagnose tinnitus. A toddler with tinnitus will be first checked by an audiologist. The audiologist will prepare a thorough record of the characteristics of tinnitus, its history, the distress caused by it and any other related health factors.

Next, a comprehensive test for hearing will be performed which helps locate any indications of dysfunction in the auditory nerve, inner ear, or middle ear. Then, the audiologist arrives at suggestions to assist your toddler in understanding their tinnitus and how to deal with it or pay less attention to the ringing sound in their ear.

To rule out an underlying medical condition, the audiologist will refer the toddler to an ENT physician. An ear, nose and throat physician otherwise known as an otolaryngologist.

As there is no cure for tinnitus, we can work our way around it by managing it to significantly decrease its effect on the daily life of a toddler. The treatment options help modify the brain’s neural activity which is related to tinnitus through neural modulation or through habituation. Some treatments for tinnitus in toddlers are-

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • Magnetic or electrical brain stimulation-this helps change neural activity directly
  • Sound therapies using specific modified sounds
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

When to See a Doctor?

Consult a doctor if symptoms seems worse

Toddlers rarely complain about tinnitus, but continuous tinnitus can be distracting and, in some instances, causing discomfort which interferes with your toddler’s everyday activities. If you feel your toddler has tinnitus, first arrange an appointment with your pediatrician. If there is no problem with the ear, like inflammation with thick discharge in the middle ear, then it may be necessary to check your toddler with an otolaryngologist.

Those diagnosed with tinnitus realize there is no problem underlying their tinnitus. However, there is no specific medication or operation to “cure” the problem.

Tinnitus in toddlers is not uncommon. Around one-third of kids experience it at some point in their lives. But, often the condition goes unnoticed as it does not bother the kid. Toddlers usually outgrow this condition. If your toddler is bothered by tinnitus or the condition seems to be hampering their regular schedule, then it’s better to consult with a doctor. All in all tinnitus is not a serious condition and does not have any adverse effect on the kid.


1. Does Tinnitus Go Away?

Yes. Most toddlers seem to outgrow the symptom of tinnitus. Very rarely they carry this problem into adulthood.

2. What Happens if a Toddler Has Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be disturbing and make it difficult for a toddler to pay attention and learn. In some rare cases tinnitus may cause psychological problems and hearing impairments. So, if you feel the condition is hampering your kid’s routine in any way then it is better to consult a doctor.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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