The International Tinnitus Journal


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The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448


Tinnitus in Childhood

Author(s): Gottfried Anst

All of 1,420 children seen for clarification of a hearing disorder or to follow up for known difficulty in hearing were questioned as to whether they experienced tinnitus. The interview was carried out after a hearing test was conducted, which was based on play audiometry or normal pure-tone threshold audiometry, depending on the age of the child. When being interviewed, l02 children reported that tinnitus had appeared or was still present. Seventy-five children (73.5%) demonstrated difficulty in hearing in one or both ears, whereas 27 children (26.5%) had normal hearing in both ears. The most frequently obtained information (29.4%) was the progression of an existing hearing loss. Meningitis is an important cause of hearing loss and of tinnitus and could be identified in 20% of our patients. We also considered as a cause of tinnitus skull or brain trauma, acute hearing loss, and stapes surgery. However, the mechanisms of tinnitus development were not immediately clear in a large proportion of the children studied: Problems included central sensory perception (14.7%) and emotional factors (11.8%). No · additional information that might lead to an understanding of the hearing loss was available for 14.7% of the patients studied. Tinnitus is a frequent symptom in childhood and, because children seldom complain about their tinnitus, such hearing problems that they report must always be taken seriously. The diagnosis should exclude metabolic disturbances, possible damage to the sensory level of the central nervous system, and circulatory disturbances. In addition, the physician should always consider emotional problems and disturbances of perception.