Risk factors leading to behavioural problems in individuals with hearing impairments and intellectual disabilities

Willem Buskermolen, Joop Hoekman, Albert Pierre Aldenkamp


Background and Objective: Behavioural problems in individuals with both a hearing impairments (HI) and an intellectual disability (ID) are common. A literature search was conducted, focussed on the prevalence of behavioural problems in people with HI or ID and in people with both HI and ID. A special focus is on possible risk factors. 

Results: Prevalence rates in both groups vary among the studies. For people with HI, differences seem related to the composition of the samples. For people with ID, there are differences in the terminology indicating behavioural problems, type and age of the population, the methods of data collection used and the measuring instruments. In both groups an increase of behavioural problems is found when additional handicaps occur. The existence of ID in children with HI and conversely sensory impairment in people with ID form risk factors for behavioural problems. Understandably difficulties with communication increase the risk of developing behavioural problems. 

Conclusions: We might expect prevalence rates in people with both HI and ID to be higher than in both groups separately. We suggest further research into the influence of external and internal factors on developing or increasing behavioural problems in people with HI and ID. A more precise definition of behavioural problems is also highly recommended.

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