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Behavior Management In Children With Hearing Loss

Children Behavioral Disorders

Hearing loss is a surprisingly prevalent issue among children, but did you know that it’s also been linked to behavioral disorders? According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss affects about 32 million young people around the world, about 60% of whom have preventable hearing loss.
For those children who have hearing loss, especially those for whom hearing loss goes untreated, new research is showing us that they may also be at risk for developing a number of different behavioral disorders. Even for children whose hearing loss is treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants, behavioral disorders remain a significant barrier to their social and educational development.
The Research
According to researchers at the University of Kentucky, there is a substantial link between childhood hearing loss and behavioral disorders. The researchers arrived at this conclusion by reviewing 36 different studies that looked at this interesting connection between childhood hearing loss and behavioral disorders.
These studies used a wide variety of different tools to asses behavioral issues and included children of a multitude of different age groups and backgrounds, as well as different types and levels of hearing loss. The being said, most of the studies assessed a child’s behavior using metrics known as the Child Behavior Checklist, the Vineland Behavior Adaptive Scale, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
Moreover, a substantial proportion of the studies (approximately one-third) looked at children with permanent hearing loss that was actively being treated by hearing aids or cochlear implants. This means that the studies also accounted for children whose hearing loss was being managed and not just those with untreated hearing loss. Thus, the findings of this research are applicable for all young people with hearing loss, regardless of whether or not it’s actually being treated.
Ultimately, the research review found that there was evidence that strongly suggests there is a link between hearing loss in children and behavioral disorders. First and foremost, the research shows that there is evidence that children with hearing loss are internalizing their behavioral disorders in a number of ways, including emotional and social withdrawal, symptoms of depression, low self-esteem, and symptoms of anxiety.
Moreover, the researchers found that even for children with treated hearing loss, these internalized behaviors did not go away. However, the researchers did note that children with treated hearing loss exhibited fewer behaviors typical of externalized behavioral disorders, including destructive, defiant, and impulsive actions.
In addition to this correlation between hearing loss in children and behavioral disorders, the research also found that young people with hearing loss are less likely to obtain mental health services that could help them overcome their behavioral issues. Although it is unclear whether or not this lack of mental health services for children with hearing loss is due to financial, time, or other constraints, the researchers argue that these services are critical for helping children with hearing a loss to work through their behavioral issues.
Moving Forward
While the research doesn’t suggest that every child with hearing loss will have a behavioral disorder, it does identify a link between the two conditions. Thus, moving forward, more research on how to help these young people, not only with their hearing loss but with their behavioral issues, is of the utmost importance. The research shows that understanding the impact of hearing loss on behavioral health in children is an important focal point in which families, educators, and medical professionals can concentrate on to best serve the needs of these young people.

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Protecting Children From Hearing Loss

Protect Your Child's Hearing

Although we often think of hearing loss as a plight of the elderly, children are also susceptible to the condition. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 32 million children around the globe suffer from some form of hearing loss – a staggering number.
That being said, the WHO also estimates that about 60% of these children have hearing loss that could have been prevented. While some children are born without the ability to hear and others have unavoidable conditions that lead to hearing loss, for that 60% of children who can avoid hearing loss, preventative interventions by parents and caregivers are critical.
Parents and caregivers want the best for their children, so the thought that your child could develop preventable hearing loss is a scary one, indeed. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help your child maintain good hearing health throughout their life. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stress the importance of hearing health. Many children – and adults for that matter – don’t realize how important their hearing actually is nor do they recognize the dangerous situations we often put our hearing in when we expose ourselves to loud noises. It’s easy to overlook the importance of something that we take for granted, so teaching children to respect the value of their own hearing can help them start to take personal responsibility for their own hearing health.
  • Set a maximum volume on electronic devices. Many modern smartphones and computers have parental control settings that can limit the maximum volume of music or videos that children can listen to. This can be a good way to protect a child’s hearing, especially if they’re not old enough or mature enough to understand the importance of their own hearing abilities. For older children and teenagers who are more likely to see this action as a sign of parental interference in their independence, a conversation about the importance of these volume limits could be helpful.
  • Choose quality headphones. There are so many different headphones on sale today that it can be really difficult to choose a pair that is less likely to cause hearing damage. Although playing music too loudly on any set of headphones can hurt your ears, there are some headphone choices that are better than others in this regard. For the most part, earbuds are best avoided because they allow too much background noise to get to your ears, encouraging people to turn up the volume too much higher levels than they actually should. Over the ear and noise-canceling headphones can help alleviate some of that problem.
  • Use hearing protection. Especially if you take children to sporting events, concerts, or other noisy venues, you might want to consider investing in some hearing protection. Ear protection can include anything from custom molded earplugs to protective ear muffs, so it’s important to find a pair that works well for your children. It’s also worth considering the use of ear protection when a child practices playing an instrument indoors and at home as repeated exposure to loud instruments, including percussion and brass instruments, can have a negative impact on one’s hearing health.

At the end of the day, there’s a lot we can do to help protect a child from preventable hearing loss. Many of these steps are simple and don’t require a huge time or financial commitment but they could protect your child’s hearing, so they’re well worth the investment.

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Exploring Behavioral Disorders In Children With Hearing Loss

Children Behavioral Disorders

The loss of the ability to hear has a profound impact on a child’s language and behavioral development. Estimates suggest that children with a hearing problem are more prone to behavioral problems than their normal-hearing peers. The challenges of early childhood communication lead to maladaptive interaction with others resulting in behavioral disorders. Why are children with hearing problems more prone to behavioral issues and what are the solutions to the challenge?

High Rates Of Aggression

Hearing loss treatment for children is better than it has ever been before. Technological improvements along with institutional changes are giving these kids more options for their hearing loss. Despite these advancements, children with hearing loss exhibit more aggression than their peers with normal hearing. Deaf children, in general, have higher rates of aggression, noncompliance, and inattention. Depression and other mental health problems are also high in children with a hearing loss.

Current Research Into The Problem

Research suggests that problems with language and communication skills are at the root of behavioral issues. Control of language is essential for life management. Those children without this control show an increase in difficulty with impulse control, planning, and regulating behavior. In studies with deaf children who have practical communication skills, the results show improvement in organizing behavior, attention, and impulse control. Furthermore, deaf children who have deaf parents or those with cochlear implants who have developed their language skills show improvement on par with children with normal hearing.

Possible Causes

Most children who are deaf have parents with normal hearing. These children often present with language barriers early on because the healthy hearing parents are not skilled at visual communication making it difficult for the child to benefit from an accessible form of communication. Many deaf children have parents who report much stress in their daily lives and often make poor decisions.  Deaf children develop an understanding of social interaction later than other kids. Most deaf children now receive education in mainstream schools. However, studies indicate that deaf children may experience neglect by their peers which limits the opportunity for social interaction.

Getting Help

There is positive news to report. Studies indicate that intervention with these children can be useful. Programs can teach these children impulse control and social skills to improve social interaction and behavioral control. These interventions must be a part of the regular school curriculum for these children with language and communication skills being the primary focus. Academic programs where deaf and hearing children learn together are beneficial in promoting inclusion into mainstream educational programs. Interventions that support communication in the family are also critical to the child’s development and behavior.
If your child has a hearing loss and behavioral problems do not fret. Interventions can help. Your child can learn methods for controlling their behavioral impulses as well as improve their social interaction skills. If you are not sure if your child has a hearing loss, please schedule a hearing evaluation with a hearing healthcare professional today or check out the Hearing Loss Association of America website for more information and possible assistance.

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The Insomnia And Tinnitus Connection

insomnia and tinnitus

Fifty million Americans experience the ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, humming, and other noises that accompany tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a disease, but somewhat of a symptom of an underlying problem. There is a variety of conditions that can cause tinnitus with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. There is also a connection between tinnitus and a good night’s rest as many people with tinnitus have difficulty sleeping. However, treatment for the two is similar and can be useful.

Tinnitus And Insomnia

The problems a person who has tinnitus experiences may not be limited to a ringing noise in the ears. It is possible that a sleep disorder may be connected with tinnitus and have life-changing effects for a person. According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, chronic insomnia is difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep for three months. Insomnia must occur at least three times per week and also impair daytime functioning. The person with tinnitus often complains of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, early awakenings, and chronic fatigue. Estimates indicate that 50% of people with tinnitus also have chronic insomnia.

The Connection

The effect of tinnitus on a person is very much like that of the impact of insomnia. When a person experiences both at the same time, shared psychological patterns and worries become a common theme. The more intense the severity of tinnitus is, the higher the chances that the person will experience insomnia. Cognitive distortions and negative thoughts are common among both tinnitus and insomnia patients. Avoidance behaviors develop which add to the negative thinking.

Treatment

Because insomnia is a frequent complaint of those with tinnitus and the two share similarities, treatment should share a common goal. It is common for healthcare professionals to recommend benzodiazepine medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin to help people with insomnia sleep. The issue with these medications is that they are highly addictive and the withdrawal symptoms of these medications can be worse than the symptoms for which they took the drugs.
Clinical trials indicate that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI) provides a higher degree of sleep improvement with fewer side effects. Studies with similar findings recommend CBTI for tinnitus. Although hearing aids can reduce the impact of tinnitus, they do not benefit insomnia. A patient may find relief from alternative options such as online training for insomnia and mindfulness-based stress reduction for tinnitus. Melatonin can help reduce insomnia and tinnitus according to studies. Because of the minimal side-effects associated with Melatonin, the researchers recommend it be a part of treatment for both tinnitus and insomnia.

Get Relief Today

Insomnia and tinnitus bear similarities in their symptoms and effects. Research indicates that improvement in patients with both is possible. Remedies such as CBTI, and Melatonin, which help both problems are useful. If you have tinnitus, insomnia, or both, don’t sit on the sidelines and be miserable. Schedule an appointment today with a healthcare professional to learn what you can do for this nagging, and often life-changing conditions.