Making Decisions About Home Care

The Teacher Says Its ADHD, But It Could Be Hearing Loss

by Mae Ferguson

Teachers spend a lot of time with their students, so it's only natural that they voice their concerns when kids begin exhibiting odd behavior. If your child's teacher suggests you get your kid tested for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) due to the way he or she acts in class, you may also want to schedule an appointment to have your kid's hearing tested and here's why:

Hearing Loss Can Cause ADHD-Like Behavior

ADHD is a psychological condition that manifests itself mentally, emotionally, and physically in children in several ways. Kids with this disorder may:

  • Be easily distracted
  • Be unable to pay attention for long periods of time
  • Constantly fidget, squirm, or otherwise be unable to sit still
  • Talk incessantly, interrupt others, be unable to remain quiet
  • Ignores others or doesn't appear to be paying attention

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 11 percent of kids between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with the condition, though other experts claim ADHD presents in the population at lower rates. The challenge, though, is that other conditions can cause children to behave in ways that mirror ADHD, and hearing loss is one of them.

When children experience hearing loss, they may not immediately react to someone speaking to them or may stop paying attention to the person because they simply can't hear them. They may speak loudly because they cannot hear themselves well enough to moderate their speech volume, and they may frequently interrupt others because they're simply not aware the other person was talking. The frustration of not being able to hear or getting in trouble for being distracted may cause the child to behave in disruptive ways.

While you child's teacher means well, he or she is not a healthcare professional. It's a good idea to explore all possibilities to avoid having your child be misdiagnosed.

Signs Your Child May Have Hearing Loss

Your child may be suffering from hearing loss if he or she exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Doesn't reply when you call his or her name at a normal volume
  • Plays music, the television, and video games loudly
  • Develops speech and learning problems and/or there's a decline in grades or academic achievements
  • Frequently complains of ear problems, such as pain, odd noises, or lack of noise
  • Frequently responds inappropriately to questions or statements

Even if you suspect your child does have ADHD, it's still a good idea to have his or her hearing checked to rule out that issue. It's better to be sure your child has healthy hearing than having them suffer in silence for years. For more information about hearing loss in kids, contact a local hearing testing center, like Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic, Inc.