Prevalence, characteristics and impact of auditory and vestibular deficits in individuals with an intellectual disability.

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2019
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Project description

Intellectual disability (ID) is defined as “ condition characterized by significant limitations in

intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour, originating during the developmental period” The

ID population has a higher prevalence of ear and hearing problems compared to the general

population, but existing literature is limited to national studies or subgroups of the highly

heterogeneous ID population. Furthermore, practically no information is available on the

occurrence of vestibular problems. Auditory and vestibular dysfunctions may have a negative impact

on social and communicative development, gross motor development and postural control, which

are already compromised by the cognitive impairment in persons with ID. This warrants the need for

reliable documentation of the occurrence and impact of auditory and/or vestibular deficits in the ID

population. Special Olympics (SO), an international sports organization for people with ID, has

implemented a Healthy Hearing (HH) screening programme during worldwide SO events since 1999.

This resulted in a database of more than 85000 athletes that has never been analyzed. The first

purpose of this project is to estimate the global prevalence of auditory dysfunctions in athletes with

ID by retrospectively analyzing this database. Additionally, the occurrence of auditory and vestibular

dysfunctions and their impact on the postural control and stability will be characterized in a

controlled Belgian population with ID.