Hearing loss combined with other disabilities hard on teenagers

Hearing impaired teenagers who also cope with other disabilities are often troubled mentally and socially, according to a Swedish study. Prevention is the answer, say the scientists

Seven in 10 play hookie. Half of them are depressed. Four in 10 drink too much, and the same number abuse drugs.

These numbers apply to hearing impaired teenagers who also suffer from other disabilities, such as serious vision problems, restricted movement or dyslexia. As a group they are mentally and socially troubled, according to a Swedish study, examining the mental and social well-being of 15-16 year olds in Örebro, Sweden.

Drug abuse

Hearing impaired youngsters with multiple disabilities were found to suffer more than any other group from mental instability, tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse and problems at school.

Hearing impaired youngsters with one single additional disability were found to have problems in school, as well, but these students were no more likely to be substance abusers than those with normal hearing.

Need for prevention

The study indicated that youngsters with hearing loss and multiple additional disabilities are particularly susceptible to developing drug abuse problems. The researchers behind the study recommended that this group be targeted for drug abuse prevention. They noted that hearing impaired individuals already are at high risk for further health problems later in life.

Source: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education,
Published on hear-it on November 17, 2008.

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