When I visited a school for the deaf on my East Coast book tour for my children’s book, Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy, I hardly knew much of anything on the subject of deafness and hearing problems. Since making the promise to myself to reach out to deaf and hard of hearing children, first by releasing the first children’s book iPad app with sign language interpretation, I learned about tinnitus among children, surprised by how common it among kids. If your child has been diagnosed with tinnitus, you two can rest fairly comfortable with the fact that many children with tinnitus eventually grow out of it. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things you can do to alleviate it in the meantime. Along with a qualified healthcare practitioner, you may be able to find some natural remedies that can lessen your child’s tinnitus or cure it altogether.
There are many possible causes of tinnitus, a condition used to describe hearing a noise, such as ringing, not present in the environment. Tinnitus varies in its severity, ranging from hardly noticeable or mildly annoying to debilitating. Some possible causes of your child’s tinnitus could include ear or sinus infections, leftover fluid from an ear infection (which can last up to three months after the infection), earwax buildup, ear injuries, circulation problems, or abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear. Due to the variety of possible causes behind tinnitus, your child’s doctor may suggest any of a number of remedies including medication or sound therapy. Studies have shown, however, that there are natural remedies for tinnitus. It may be worth checking with your child’s doctor about these supplements and treatments. After all, according to health researcher and journalist June Russell, medications rarely improve tinnitus.
First, evaluate whether or not your child’s medication or diet is causing or aggravating the tinnitus. It’s possible that his or her medication may be toxic to the ear (“ototoxic”) or have the condition as one of its side effects. Switching to another medication, reducing the dosage, or discontinuing its use may help the tinnitus or get rid of it altogether. Food allergies have also been linked to tinnitus. Some possible diet culprits include aspartame, cheese, chocolate, soy, and tonic water. A diet low or free of salt and fat has also been recommended by experts.
A regimen of nutritional and herbal supplements has been recommended by physicians to help with tinnitus. Russell reports that tinnitus sufferers tend to be deficient in B-12. She writes, “Emily A. Kane, naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist, recommends a daily dose of 2,000 mcg of B-12 for one month, followed by a dose of 1,000 mcg daily, if needed.” Dr. Michael Seidman, MD, Director of the Henry Ford Health System, Department of Otolaryngology, Tinnitus Clinic, in Bloomfield, Michigan, recommends a wide variety of antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, choline, magnesium, melatonin, vinpocetine, Ginkgo biloba, ipriflavone, arginine, alpha lipoic acid, zinc, , n-acetylcysteine, Chinese herbs, B vitamins and garlic.
In fact, Ginkgo biloba is becoming increasingly used to treat tinnitus among European and American doctors; according to Russell, “a few good trials suggest that this herb may lower the perceived loudness.” Meet with a qualified health practitioner about how much of this supplement, and which type, to use for your child’s tinnitus.
Some other natural treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and homeopathy. Relaxation has been shown to relieve children’s tinnitus, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Consult your family’s physician for affective relaxation techniques and take practical steps to minimize your child’s stress level, such as helping him or her with homework or making sure he or she doesn’t take on too many extracurricular activities.
The good news is that, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, “most children with tinnitus seem to eventually outgrow the symptom.” However, this doesn’t mean your child should have to experience the discomfort of the condition if it can be remedied or at least alleviated with natural remedies. I encourage parents of children with tinnitus to meet with a qualified practitioner as soon as possible to find out if your child may benefit from these.
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: Fact Sheet: When Your Child Has Tinnitus http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1328
Communication Agents Journal: Treating Tinnitus Naturally http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/2005/05/04/treating_tinnitus_naturally.htm