Tinnitus/Ringing-in-the-Ears in Kids

Many adults hear the constant noises of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), but few individuals realize it affects children too. Many kids also experience the symptoms of tinnitus. While adults can usually determine that the sounds they are hearing are abnormal, many children assume the noise is a regular part of life. If your child shows signs of tinnitus it is important to look into it to rule out any underlying condition.

Tinnitus is caused by a number of different conditions in both adults and children. Among the many potential causes are circulatory problems, hearing loss from damaging noise, a build-up of wax in the ear canal, a misalignment in the jaw joints, and trauma to the neck and head. Additionally, tinnitus can result from slow-growing tumors on nerves in the ears and face. Your family pediatrician can help rule out any specific ear problems. If your appointment does not uncover any obvious issues, your doctor will likely advise you to investigate further with an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

Should your child’s specialist find a specific issue that is causing the tinnitus, there is a good chance that the problem can be addressed and the condition eliminated. However, many kids and adults experience tinnitus without a clear cause. In this case, there is no way to eradicate the problem, so your focus should shift to helping your child cope with the sounds he or she is hearing.

Tinnitus can be distracting, making it difficult for your child to pay attention at home or at school. Background noise is an effective way to fight back against this problem. Run a fan or soft music in the background while your child is at home. If your child is suffering from hearing loss alongside tinnitus, a hearing aid can help her focus on important sounds and filter out distractions.

Tinnitus can cause some kids to experience psychological distress. In this case it is important to be supportive and reassuring about the condition. Explain to your child that tinnitus is a common condition that many other kids and adults experience. Ask your audiologist about how you can explain tinnitus to your child in a way that makes sense to them.Take steps to help your child deal with stressful situations, as many children find that stress can make their tinnitus symptoms much worse.

Always keep in mind that many kids outgrow their tinnitus without intervention, so it may cease to be an issue. While it may be a nuisance now, with time your child can overcome it.

Deciding upon the Ideal Hearing Aid Design for a Child

It’s an unfortunate reality that many young children experience loss of hearing, but with the most suitable type of hearing aid this does not have to slow them down. On the other hand, the sheer quantity of hearing aid designs and options to choose from can certainly make deciding on the right one challenging for most parents. There are some styles that are more appropriate for youngsters than others, so continue reading to explore what type may work best for your child.

There are two main styles of hearing aids that work well for children: In-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE). Unlike adults, children are continuously growing and developing, making regular hearing aid adjustment critical. ITE and behind-the-ear type hearing aids are often selected for children since they are most easy to fine-tune. Fitted to the child’s outer ear, ITE hearing aids are small devices in plastic cases. Additional solutions including telecoil can be built into this type of product. BTE hearing aids tend to be more identifiable because of their plastic case that sits behind the ear. A little piece of tubing joins the case to an earmold that rests in the outer ear. Both styles of devices can address an array of hearing issues.

Hearing aid selection is often more difficult if your child suffers other medical conditions. As an example, behind-the-ear hearing aids might not fit appropriately on children whose ears are misshapen. For some children, a very shallow ear canal might not present enough space to allow for in-the-ear hearing aids. Children with an extreme build-up of ear wax may not be good candidates for ITE devices given that it can interfere with the device performance.

Meeting with your child’s hearing specialist is a vital step in selecting a hearing aid for your child. He or she will lead you through your selections and make recommendations determined by your child’s unique situation. Learning about your role in optimizing your child’s hearing can also be given by your specialist. Removing, inserting, or fine-tuning the volume of your child’s hearing aids to ensure they are comfortable may be your responsibility if your child is young.

While finding the right hearing aid can be confusing and discouraging, with time and research you will find the perfect product for your child.

Treatment Protocols for People with Central Auditory Processing Disorder/CAPD

There are many good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is hard to diagnose accurately. The problem is not because the children cannot hear words and phrases being spoken to them, but because their brains have an inability to interpret the words and grasp their meaning, which implies that conventional hearing tests do not always identify CAPD. One more reason it is difficult to diagnose is because kids often acquire complex coping behaviors. These children can be experts at using expressions or reading lips to hide their problem.

These particular characteristics of CAPD also make treatment of the disorder tricky, because any individual wanting to enhance the child’s speech comprehension must constantly be aware of them and look for ways to work around them. Unfortunately there is no definitive cure or therapy for CAPD that works consistently well across all kids. Each therapy plan is highly individualized and crafted based on the patients’ limitations. With that being said, there are a variety of treatment protocols that may greatly enhance the developmental abilities of children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder.

CAPD therapy falls into 3 broad categories: direct treatment, environmental change and compensatory strategies.

  • Direct Treatment – Direct treatment refers to the use of computer-assisted learning and 1-on-1 sessions to make the most of the brain’s natural plasticity, its capacity to transform itself, and establish new ways of processing and thinking. These kinds of techniques include the use of the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education or Hasbro’s “Simon” game to improve kids’ capacity to discriminate, order, and process the sounds they hear. Some therapists use dichotic training to cultivate the childrens’ ability to hear multiple sounds in different ears and process them the right way, while others use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to improve phonological awareness.
  • Environmental Change – In the category of environmental change one strategy is lowering the quantity of ambient noise via soundproofing and putting in acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains because background noise is proven to make it more difficult for an individual with CAPD to comprehend speech. Increasing the volume of selective voices in the classroom is also helpful; the instructor wears a microphone and the CAPD pupil wears a tiny receiver that enhances the instructor’s voice to make it more distinguishable from other sounds or speakers. One more environmental modification is better lighting. A well lit face is a lot easier for a person with Central Auditory Processing Disorder to “read” for cues.
  • Compensatory Strategies – Approaches that focus on helping the CAPD learners to improve their attention, memory, language and problem-solving skills are commonly called compensatory strategies. These strategies give pupils enhanced coping skills and techniques that enable them to succeed at learning, and also make them learn to take responsibility for their own academic progress. Techniques and strategies of this type consist of drills in solving word problems and active listening.

The overall message is that treatments are available if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, but remember that step one is properly diagnosing the condition, and doing this as early as possible. Keep in mind that our skilled hearing expertshearing experts are here to assist you in any way possible and to point you to other trusted area experts for the best CAPD diagnostic and therapy choices.

Buying Advice for Kids’ Headphones

One thing you can look forward to if you have kids is that sooner or later they will ask you to buy them some headphones to work with their music players, game systems and computers. And there are valid reasons for this, because headphones can enhance the experience with these multimedia, but at the same time there are certain characteristics you should look for when you buy.

An important feature that most buyers would not normally consider is making sure that the headphones fit correctly. Headphones which are intended for grownups are made for their full-sized heads, and will not simply not fit the right way on kids, they won’t provide a complete spectrum of sound to them. You should not rationalize the size difference by believing that the kids will grow into them. In reality, the constant fidgeting and adjusting will probably result in a shorter life due to breakage. Headsets made for children are developed with a growing child in mind. Most have an adjustable head band which allows your child to obtain a perfect fit now and for years to come.

The most crucial characteristic you should look for, however, is that the headphones are equipped with some type of Sound Limiting Technology. By nature, children will use the highest possible volume settings to completely immerse themselves in the experience. Parents recognize that this is a very terrible idea which could contribute to future loss of hearing. Seeking out headphones that have a volume limits built in – somewhere around 80 to 85 decibels – is the most effective way to combat this tendency. This recommendation is just as true for ear buds or similar devices that one inserts into the outer ear canal as it is for over-the-ear headphones.

A different thing take into consideration is durability and sturdiness, because kids are hard on delicate things, and certain headphones can be very fragileindeed. Refer to consumer guides or parents’ magazines to learn which models of headphones have a reputation for durability and for lasting a long time. Make sure you balance this desire for durability with a bias toward light weight, however because you don’t want your kids to be wearing headphones that are too heavy for their body and head.

Whichever model headphones you go with, make an effort to restrict your children’s use of them to just a couple hours daily. Being inundated by sound all day, even if the earbuds or headphones restrict the volume level, can still create subtle damage to youngster’s sensitive ears.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder Essentials

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is a hearing disorder in which the trouble lies not with the ears, but with the brain. With Central Auditory Processing Disorder, your ears have no problem hearing sounds (especially the sounds associated with speech) properly, but something is affecting the brain’s ability to interpret these sounds. The disorder is thus characterized by a lack of coordination between the ears and the brain.

As many as 2 to 5 percent of school-age children are affected by CAPD including roughly half of all children that have been diagnosed with a learning disability. Children with CAPD often cannot discern the sounds of different words even when the words are spoken loud and clear. This inability to understand words often becomes worse in noisy environments, but is not as present in quiet environments.

CAPD is often difficult to detect, because when children’s hearing is tested in a quiet room, they can clearly hear the pure tones they hear through the testing equipment, and they similarly have no apparent problems hearing and interpreting speech in non-noisy environments. But even though their audiogram results may appear normal, children with CAPD often have difficulty locating where sounds are coming from, difficulty discerning the differences between two similar sounds, difficulty recognizing patterns of repetitive high and low sounds, and difficulty being able to hear more than one person speaking at the same time.

These symptoms may carry over into other areas of life, as the children struggle to cope with not being able to understand people speaking to them. For example, they may become easily distracted by sudden noises, have difficulty following directions, develop reading, spelling, and language difficulties, become disorganized and forgetful, or have trouble following conversations. When given standard hearing tests, these children appear to have normal hearing, so these symptoms are often confused with or mistaken for signs of other problems such as depression or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This misdiagnosis is further complicated by the fact that a child may in fact have ADHD or some other learning disorder and also have CAPD.

Properly detecting and diagnosing CAPD as eary in a child’s life as possible is crucial to avoid developmental delays both social and academic. Early diagnosis is key to ensuring that the condition is resolved, which is why it is important, if you have noticed any of the above symptoms in your children, to have their hearing professionally tested.

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