(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:
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