Question #1

How is behavior affected by hearing loss?



         Adams, J. (1997). You and your deaf child, a self-help guide for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. (Rev. 2nd ed.). Washington, D.C., Gallaudet University Press.

         Medwid, D. & Weston, D. (1995). Kid-friendly parenting with deaf and hard of hearing children. Washington, D.C., Gallaudet University Press.

         Mitchell, T. & Quittner, A. (1996). Multimethod study of attention and behavior problems in hearing-impaired children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25(1), 83-96.

Synthesis of information

 Hearing impaired and deaf children rely on facial expressions and gestures.  Their interpretations of this nonverbal communication may be inaccurate causing them to respond inappropriately (Adams, 1997).  According to Mitchell and Quitter (1996), "language is the central process through which behavioral control develops" (p. 93).  Often hearing impaired children have a greater risk for developing behavior problems due to delays in learning language.  Many studies have shown that parents report substantial difficulty communicating with their hearing impaired child creating frustration on both sides (Mitchell & Quittner, 1996).  This disruption in communication between parent and child may cause a delay in the child's "self-regulatory" behaviors such as self-directing to stay on task and controlling inappropriate behaviors.  Medwid and Weston (1995) found that the key is communication problems can result in behavior difficulties.


 I think it is clear that many of the behavior problems we see in hearing impaired children stem from the lack of language early in life.  Language acquisition is important for communication and no matter what method is chosen (oral, total communication or ASL) it is important to start right away.  Children will naturally pick up on nonverbal cues, but without a formal language to back those up they may become confused and frustrated causing them to "act out" or behave inappropriately.  The earlier a child's hearing loss is identified, the earlier a method for language learning can begin.


         Benton, C. & Snarey, C. (no date) Adolescent Behavior in the hearing impaired. [Online]. Available:

         Kelly, D., Forney, J., Parker-fisher, S. & Jones, M. (1993). The challenge of attention deficit disorder in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. American Annals of the Deaf, 138(4), 343-348.

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