An non organic hearing loss (NOHL) is greater is magnitude than what may be expected on the basis of auditory pathology. Depressed auditory thresholds in absence of organic pathology are mainly referred to as NOHL, pseudohypaccusis, malingering, functional or psychogenic hearing loss. In most of the instances, presence of NOHL is associated to some sort of personal gain that may include attention from other people, monetary compensation or particularly for children an excuse for poor academic performance. Although diagnosis of NOHL is easier in younger children than adult people, instances of frequent misdiagnosis of paediatric non organic hearing loss have been reported.
Since compensation issues and financial gain aren’t usually related to PNOHL, audiologists regard it as a minor clinical nuisance. The basic goal when dealing with PNOHL is mainly twofold: determining the true behavioral thresholds and diagnosing the condition. Childen with PNOHL do have an underlying need, which is unfulfilled and may select from different symptoms, ranging from psychosomatic to conscious, for expressing that need. When the symptoms enter psychosomatic realm, disorders like chronic stomach problems an, psychosis and even eczema can occur. These problems, if not resolved or identified quickly, can be harmful for the well-being of a child. They can even result in self-destructive behaviours when he or she becomes an adult and a threat to the society and family.
The incidence of PNOHL ranges from one percent to twelve percent. Prevalence rates are reported at about five to seven percent. Children with PNOHL between six to nineteen years of age have peak occurrence when they are about eleven years old. For girls, the prevalence at eleven years of age may be associated with stress that’s related to menarche. For both boys and girls the high prevalence may be associated with examination stress in the school. However, the prevalence of PNOHL is higher in girls than in boys. Actually girls having adjustment problems tend to adopt withdrawn, introverted and anxious forms of behaviours like PNOHL and boys tend to display aggressive behaviours.
Audiologists have a great role to play when it comes to dealing with PNOHL. It is true that they aren’t professional counsellors. Moreover, their scope of practice doesn’t even include treatment and diagnosis of psychosocial and emotional issues. But if a feigned hearing loss is the the child’s way to express an underlying emotional or psychosocial problem, the audiologist need to be the first professional who are to be consulted for dealing with such an issue. A number of parents consult audiologists in Bulleen when they face this kind of situation with their children. These audiologists when dealing with PNOHL cases actually disregard their job as professionals in order to make informed decisions and does the needful for the development of the child.