Better Hearing Institute Joins CHADD in Promoting ADHD Awareness Week

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The relationship between Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and hearing loss is being highlighted the week of September 13 through 17 as the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) joins Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) in promoting AD/HD Awareness Week.

Parents, educators, pediatricians, and other healthcare providers cannot underestimate the impact of either AD/HD or hearing loss on a child’s academic performance, social development, and self esteem.

The relationship between Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and hearing loss is being highlighted the week of September 13 through 17 as the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) joins Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) in promoting ADHD Awareness Week.

BHI and hearing health professionals will be working to raise awareness of AD/HD and the importance of including hearing checks as part of the AD/HD diagnosis process.

To ensure that the needs of children with AD/HD 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 AD/HD.

Studies show that hearing loss frequently coexists with AD/HD. Children struggling with undiagnosed hearing loss often exhibit similar behavior characteristics as those with AD/HD. Academic performance, completing assignments, carrying out multistep directions, and sustaining attention during oral presentations can be problematic for children with either AD/HD 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 AD/HD or hearing loss on a child’s academic performance, social development, and self esteem.”

BHI is encouraging hearing health professionals to disseminate information on AD/HD and to publicize AD/HD Awareness Week in their practices and communities.

AD/HD is the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorder in children in the United States today, affecting 3 to 7 percent of school-aged children. At the same time, about 1.4 million young people in the United States have hearing loss, and only 12 percent of them receive the help they need. 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.

"With the start of the new academic year, I strongly encourage all educators to recognize the signs of AD/HD and unaddressed hearing loss in the classroom, and to advocate for these children,” says Kochkin. “AD/HD 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 encourage both parents and educators to seek evidence-based information on AD/HD and inform themselves of the facts so when a child with AD/HD needs their help, they are able to make a difference.”

About AD/HD
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological disorder. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Although individuals with AD/HD can be very successful in life, without appropriate identification and treatment, AD/HD can have serious consequences. These consequences may include school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important. (Source: CHADD)

For more information on AD/HD, visit http://www.CHADD.org or the National Resource Center on AD/HD at http://www.help4adhd.org. For more information on ADHD Awareness Week, visit http://www.ADHDAwareness2010.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 AD/HD.

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 permanent hearing damage from 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; one in every 20 has a more severe loss; the proportion of teens in the United States with slight hearing loss has increased 30 percent in the last 15 years; and the number with mild or worse hearing loss has increased 77 percent.

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Fabia D'Arienzo
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