Arch Dis Child 95:645-648 doi:10.1136/adc.2009.168252
  • Review

Tinnitus in children: an uncommon symptom?

  1. V Kennedy2
  1. 1St Ann's Hospital, Haringey Teaching PCT, Tottenham, London, UK
  2. 2Halliwell Health and Children's Centre, Bolton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Shetye, St Ann's Hospital, Haringey Teaching PCT, Tottenham, 49 Crespigny Road, London NW4 3DU, UK; a_shetye{at}
  • Accepted 9 October 2009
  • Published Online First 6 April 2010


Tinnitus in children is regarded as an uncommon problem rarely noted by general paediatricians. Its reported prevalence varies from 12% to 36% in children with normal hearing thresholds and up to 66% in children with hearing loss and approximately 3–10% of children have been reported troubled by tinnitus.

Some children do not spontaneously complain of it, but may demonstrate behavioural problems at school and home. A careful history, in conjunction with clinical findings, should guide the appropriate management approach. Even very young children are able to provide insights into what troubles them allowing children's thoughts and fears regarding this symptom to be addressed.

We review the available literature on the nature and impact of tinnitus and as guidelines for this do not exist, suggest a pragmatic approach to the management of tinnitus in children. Children with troublesome tinnitus, however, should be referred on to a paediatric audiology department for further investigation and management.


  • AS and VK contributed to this study equally.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Free sample

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article