It’s no secret that all children can have behavioral difficulties. But are children with hearing loss more prone to these types of behaviors? Research indicates they are. Below we review what the studies show, why the link, the signs of hearing loss and the available treatments.
What Do the Studies Show?
A 2017 study published in Otology & Neurotology sought to compare the prevalence of disruptive behavior problems between preschool-aged children with hearing loss and those with normal hearing.
To do this, they collected demographic information and mental health histories, as well as assessed behavior and language development of children in a tertiary academic center like Huntington Learning Center. There was a total of 89 participants ages two to five; 39 had normal hearing, 29 wore hearing aids and 21 wore cochlear implants.
The researchers found that, “Children with hearing loss have higher prevalence of and impairment from disruptive behaviors than their [normal hearing] peers.” They also found, “These children are less likely to receive appropriate behavioral interventions.”
Why the Link Between Hearing Loss & Behavioral Difficulties?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. If parents are not prepared to be able to communicate with their child in a way that’s effective for their needs, it can cause frustration for the child, leading to them act out.
In addition, children with hearing loss tend to develop speech-language skills at a slower rate than their normal-hearing peers. This can also lead to frustration due to being unable to express themselves in an age-appropriate way and cause behavioral issues.
What Are the Other Signs of Hearing Loss?
In addition to behavioral issues, signs of hearing loss in children include:
- Having trouble understanding what others are saying
- Saying “huh” or “what” a lot
- Responding to questions inappropriately due to mishearing
- Not responding to their name
- Turning up the TV volume very loud
- Intently watching people’s faces (lipreading)
- Speaking differently than other children their age
- Complaining of dizziness or phantom noises
- Having problems academically or being flagged for a learning disability
What Are the Treatment Options for Childhood Hearing Loss?
Treatment options for childhood hearing loss include:
- Hearing aids
- Cochlear implants
- Bone-anchored hearing aids
- Assistive listening devices
- Speech therapy
- American Sign Language
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab today.