Entries in Deaf (3)


Likelihood for Mental Health Problems Greater in Deaf People

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LINZ, Austria) -- Seven per 10,000 people all over the world are severely deaf, according to The Lancet. Of students who suffer from hearing impairment, 25 percent have other disabilities such as learning or developmental issues and autism. A review published online in the The Lancet has found that deaf people are more likely to experience mental health problems.

Researchers found not only that the likelihood for mental health problems doubles for those who are deaf, but that they have greater challenges in receiving quality health care to treat their issues.

Deaf children who have trouble communicating with their families are four times more likely to suffer from mental health disorders, and are usually more likely to be mistreated when at school, when compared with deaf children who can communicate within their family or home setting, according to a Lancet news release.

The review, conducted by Dr. Johannes Fellinger of the Health Centre for the Deaf at the Hospital of St. John of God in Linz, Austria, and colleagues, also noted studies, which found that:

Deaf boys are three times more likely than hearing boys to report sexual abuse.  Deaf girls are twice as likely to report sexual abuse, compared to girls who can hear.

Deaf patients generally seek health care, reporting fear, frustration and mistrust.  They also often have trouble communicating with health care professionals.

The review's authors say that deaf patients have the same need for good health care and communication as those without hearing impairment.  To improve the deficiency in communication between physicians and deaf patients, the authors suggest that health care providers be trained to directly communicate with deaf patients who may have challenges in communicating their needs.

Dr. Gail Murray of the UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital says mental health services should have sign language interpreters:

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Organizations Strive to Save African Children from Meningitis

Jeffrey Hamilton/LifesizeDOCTOR'S NOTEBOOK
By DR. RICHARD BESSER, ABC News Senior Health and Medical Editor

(NEW YORK) -- One day, Florence plans to turn on the lights.

Her family home in Burkina Faso has no electricity but she aims to change that. It won't be easy, but she wants to be an electrician -- and I would bet anyone that she will reach her goal.

She is 22 and deaf, a result of meningococcal meningitis which stole her hearing when she was just 6 years old. In this part of the world, her story is all too common.

Burkina Faso lies in West Africa in the heart of the meningitis belt. For some unknown reason, epidemics of type A meningococcal meningitis sweep through this region on a regular basis during the dry season, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving even more damaged.

A fever during the dry season, January through April, has long struck fear in parents -- until now.

In December, the government of Burkina Faso started vaccinating all those between the ages of 1 and 29 against this disease using a vaccine made just for Africa.

This is a really big deal: for the first time, a vaccine was made for a disease only found in Africa.

While meningococcal disease affects people around the globe, epidemic type A disease only occurs here.

Big Pharma had no interest in developing a vaccine -- no business case for a vaccine whose target would only be the poorest people in the world.

So the global community came together: more than a dozen organizations, including WHO, PATH, the FDA, and the Serum Institute of India agreed that this was the right thing to do.

When I was at the CDC, I served for a couple years as the chief of the meningitis branch and first became aware of this project.

Our branch had a technical support conducting studies to evaluate the vaccine. I met the project director, Dr. Marc LeForce of PATH at the project headquarters in France back in 2004.

His quixotic dream was to make a vaccine to sell for less than 50 cents a dose.

Noble idea, I thought, but not likely to be achieved. The meningitis vaccine in use in the U.S. costs more than $100 per dose; how could you ever make a vaccine for just pennies?

New Vaccine Means Fewer New Deafness Cases

My trip to Burkina Faso is an acknowledgement that I was wrong. The global effort took 10 years but in the end delivered a miracle.

The MeningAfrique vaccine was launched in December and over a 12-day period, the entire at-risk population was offered vaccine.

This afternoon, I walked through an empty ward in the children's hospital, the ward reserved for meningitis.

They have only seen one case this year and that was in a young woman who had not been vaccinated.

As a pediatrician, I remember vividly having to tell parents that their children had meningitis, having to tell parents that their children were deaf.

Here in Burkina Faso, there will now be fewer of those conversations. The fear of the dry season may now start to disappear.

The new vaccine arrived too late for Florence.

Her mother, Rosalee, told me she will do all she can to tell people the importance of being vaccinated.

She knows the horror of this disease first hand. In addition to Florence, her other two children also had meningitis and are deaf.

This afternoon, I sat with them in the courtyard in front of their one-room home.

What struck me about Rosalee and her children was their faith that God had a plan for them and that they were going to make it.

Her son, Xavier, 28, is learning to be a carpenter. Her daughter Diane, 24, weaves cell phone cases from strips of nylon.

And Florence attends a school for the deaf where she is learning to be an electrician.

I ask her why she wants to be an electrician. Her face lights up with the most incredible smile. She tells me using sign language that she has always wanted to be an electrician. One day, she will bring electricity to her home so they can use sign language at night, and her sister and mother can weave after dark.

"I have to study for three more years," she tells me. And when she says it, I can picture the lights coming on in her home, just as the light has come into so many lives here that no longer need to fear epidemics of meningitis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


University for the Deaf Ranked 18th in Division III

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- This is the sound of one of the most successful teams in women's college basketball: The sound of silence.

The coach doesn't yell encouragement, the players don't shout out plays and not a whistle is heard.  The only sounds during practice are the bounce, bounce, bounce of the basketball, and the thumping of feet running up and down the court.

But in their own quiet way, the Lady Bison of Gallaudet University in northeast Washington, D.C. are making a lot of noise.

Gallaudet is the nation's leading university for the deaf.  After years of mediocrity, its women's basketball team is the surprise of the NCAA's Division III this season.  The Lady Bison are 20-1, ranked number 18 nationally and dreaming of a national championship.  And like 95 percent of the students at the school, everyone on the team is deaf or hard of hearing.

"It's an amazing feeling compared to my freshman night and day," center Nukeitra Hayes says of the team's transformation.

"It's like, jeez, now we are showing the world where Gallaudet University is," she added, speaking with the aid of a sign-language interpreter.

Not too long ago, the Lady Bison had one of the worst records in Division III.  They went five years without winning a game in their conference.  They lost one game by 75 points.

Gallaudet has a proud sports history.  It claims to be the birthplace of the football huddle, when quarterback Paul Hubbard gathered players around him so opponents couldn't steal plays by reading his hand signals to teammates.  That was 119 years ago.

The women's place in the school's record book had to await the hiring of Kevin Cook, a coach who spent 10 years as an assistant in the WNBA, and walked the sidelines as coach of the Nigerian women's national team.

Cook, 50, became Gallaudet's first full-time coach four years ago, part of an effort by the school administration to upgrade the athletic program and lift student morale.  But part of his deal was that he had to learn sign language -- and use it.  He does, during practices.  During games, he has the assistance of a translator.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio