BHI Raises Awareness of the Relationship between ADHD and Hearing Health
for ADHD Awareness Week
Washington, DC, September 30, 2011— The Better Hearing Institute is highlighting the relationship between Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and hearing loss in recognition of ADHD Awareness Week, which runs from October 16 through 22. BHI is underscoring the importance of hearing checks as part of the ADHD diagnosis process. And in an effort to ensure that the needs of children with ADHD are fully met, BHI also is encouraging appropriate treatment by a hearing health professional when hearing loss and/or other auditory-related communication disorders are found to co-exist with ADHD.
Studies show that hearing loss frequently coexists with ADHD. Children struggling with undiagnosed hearing loss often exhibit similar behavior characteristics as those with ADHD. Academic performance, completing assignments, carrying out multistep directions, and sustaining attention during oral presentations can be problematic for children with either ADHD or undetected hearing loss. Impulsiveness, acting out, inappropriate responses to questions, low self esteem, and difficulty with social interactions also challenge children struggling with either condition.
Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Executive Director of BHI, said: “Parents, educators, pediatricians, and other healthcare providers cannot underestimate the impact of either ADHD or hearing loss on a child’s academic performance, social development, and self esteem.”
BHI is encouraging hearing health professionals to disseminate information on ADHD and to publicize ADHD Awareness Week in their practices and communities.
ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorder in children in the United States today. Four to 7 million children (5 to 9% of the population) and 9 to 13 million adults (4 to 6% of the population) in the United States have ADHD. At the same time, about 1.1 million young people under the age of 18 in the United States have hearing loss, and only 16 percent of them use hearing aids. Studies show that children with even mild hearing loss, when left unaddressed, are at risk for learning and other social, emotional, behavioral, and self-image problems.
"I strongly encourage all educators to recognize the signs of ADHD and unaddressed hearing loss in the classroom, and to advocate for these children,” says Kochkin. “ADHD is a very real condition with serious long-term implications for children when left unaddressed. When coupled with hearing loss and other auditory-related communication disorders, the challenges for these children become even greater.
“I advise parents and educators to inform themselves of the facts so when a child with ADHD and/or hearing loss needs their help, they are able to make a difference.”
ADHD is a neurobiological disorder. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. People with ADHD can be very successful in life. But without appropriate identification and treatment, ADHD can have serious consequences, including school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important. (Source: CHADD)
For more information on ADHD, visit http://www.CHADD.org or the National Resource Center on ADHD at www.help4adhd.org. For more information on ADHD Awareness Week, visit www.adhdawarenessweek.org.
About Hearing Loss and Learning
Children with even a mild hearing loss are at risk for learning and other social, emotional, and behavioral problems. The pediatric literature demonstrates that even children with "minimal" hearing loss are at risk academically compared to their normal hearing peers.
Hearing loss of any type or degree in a child can present a barrier to “incidental learning.” Up to 90 percent of a young child's knowledge is attributed to incidental reception of conversations around him or her. Hearing loss poses a barrier to the child's ability to overhear and to learn from the environment. And it causes the child to miss a significant portion of classroom instruction. Hearing loss also frequently causes a child to miss social cues. Not surprisingly, many of the symptoms of unaddressed hearing loss in children overlap those of ADHD.
The BHI study, “Are 1 Million Dependents in America with Hearing Loss Being Left Behind?” found the following common problem areas for children with hearing loss: social skills (52%); speech and language development (51%); grades in school (50%); emotional health (42%); relationships with peers (38%); self-esteem (37%); and relationships with family (36%).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 12.5 percent of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years—or approximately 5.2 million youth—have some form of permanent hearing damage attributed to excessive exposure to noise. And according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in every five teens has at least a slight hearing loss; five percent of children have a mild or worse hearing loss; the proportion of teens in the United States with any form of hearing loss has increased by one-third in the last 15 years.
Founded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on “Discussion Forum,” and go to “Welcome!” to register.