Bullying and Children who are Deaf or Hard-of-hearing: A Scoping Review

Laryngoscope. 2021 Aug;131(8):1884-1892. doi: 10.1002/lary.29388. Epub 2021 Jan 13.


Objective/hypothesis: The goal of this scoping review is to evaluate and synthesize the published research regarding bullying and children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH).

Study design: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for scoping review (PRISMA-ScR) statement was used as the guideline for conducting this review.

Methods: This review included studies assessing pediatric (0-21 years) DHH children. Seventy records underwent the initial title-abstract screening, 33 underwent full-text review, and 23 studies met inclusion criteria. During the data extraction process, an additional six were excluded, resulting in a total of 17 evaluated studies.

Results: Of the 17 studies assessed, nine compared peer victimization of DHH children and their hearing peers. Of those, seven studies reported that hearing loss (HL) is significantly associated with increased victimization. Two studies found that HL is significantly associated with decreased bullying perpetration. Notably, bullying in DHH children was not associated with a visible sign of disability, such as a hearing assistive device. Rather, variables such as educational setting, parental, and peer support are more likely to mediate bullying in this population.

Conclusions: DHH children have a higher risk of peer victimization and may bully others less often than their hearing peers. Studies described the health consequences of bullying in children who are DHH, including sleep issues and anxiety. These consequences may have implications for the patients' overall HL management. Additional research regarding bullying interventions and prevention in this population should be conducted.

Level of evidence: NA Laryngoscope, 131:1884-1892, 2021.

Keywords: Pediatrics; bullying; hearing loss; peer victimization; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying / psychology
  • Bullying / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Deafness / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / psychology
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / statistics & numerical data*