Are Hearing Loss and Learning Disabilities Connected?

Over 5% of the world’s population lives with disabling hearing loss. That’s roughly 466 million people! In terms of hearing loss and learning disabilities, it is estimated that one in ten people with a learning disability also live with moderate to severe hearing loss or hearing impairments. Unfortunately, in many cases, hearing loss or other auditory impairments go unnoticed or undiagnosed in individuals with learning disabilities. But why? 

People with learning disabilities may go overlooked due to other symptoms masking apparent signs of hearing loss. This means that many group tests and studies targeted on hearing loss in a wide range of age demographics fail to include people with cognitive impairments.

Hearing Loss and Learning Disabilities – Closing the Gap

Long term, undiagnosed hearing loss and impairment can have a significant impact on a person’s long term mental and physical health. It can also be detrimental to cognitive growth in people who aren’t already diagnosed with a learning disability. Another negative impact that undiagnosed hearing loss can have, is cognitive deterioration. These symptoms and learning impairments can be further compounded when an individual has trouble hearing or engaging in conversation or other activities that require listening skills.

To close the gap between hearing loss and learning disabilities, it’s important to equip loved ones, teachers, and caregivers with the necessary tools and resources to help observe and point out signs of hearing impairment to medical professionals. Because these individuals spend the most of their time with people who may have cognitive impairments, they have the opportunity to observe and assess symptoms of hearing loss first hand. 

In addition, those professionals who work with people with learning disabilities should be best educated to ensure that along with their learning assessments, they’re also looking for signs of auditory distress or impairment when making their diagnoses. 

Because hearing loss can affect behaviors, mood swings, ability to focus, and social interactions and engagements, it’s important to diagnose and treat each individual as soon as possible. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently published a new set of guidelines for assessing and managing adults with hearing loss. These standards set forth by this multi-disciplinary committee are meant to raise the standard for care and management of individuals with hearing loss. This means that as we move forward, auditory assessments will be standard for individuals who exhibit certain symptoms regardless of cognitive ability. 

Ensuring People with Learning Disabilities Get the Support They Need

As is sometimes the case, people who live with learning disabilities are overlooked for hearing impairment due to other behaviors they present. In some of these individuals, hearing impairment is actually the culprit. In order to rule out hearing loss as an obstacle to their development and other abilities, an auditory assessment is a good option. 

While not all people with learning disabilities suffer from hearing loss, auditory assessments may get you a few of the answers you’re looking for. With a hearing loss diagnosis, you may give your loved one or yourself a better quality of life, and may remove some of the obstacles those people with learning disabilities may face. 

At Hearing, Balance & Speech Center, We’re Here to Help You!

At Hearing, Balance & Speech Center, we are here to help you with your hearing needs. If you’d like to book in a hearing assessment, please call us today on 419-464-9265 or request an appointment online.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.