Cochlear implants and ADHD

Thought this would be a useful topic since I have two cochlear implants and have an ADHD diagnose. I was born with a profound hearing loss meaning I couldn’t hear a peep since I was born and basically I have a medical device in my head that allows me to hear. As my ADHD diagnoses officially didn’t come till 4th grade. So suffice to say struggles with both my whole life currently a college freshmen but I am willing to answer questions about my journey with both hearing loss and adhd. So if you have questions ask the worst I can say is I don’t know cause I don’t have all answers. Also it can be a place for discussion on other subjects relating to hearing loss such as auditory processing disorder and language issues. Cause hearing loss doesn’t just impact the old it impacts the young and everyone in between


Let me just put this out there if any of you were to meet with me in person live. You wouldn’t know I had a hearing loss unless I told you I have a hearing loss and hear with two cochlear implants why …

  1. Speech therapy- had it for a long time
  2. No “deaf” accent- a lot of other deaf people who people meet have an accent, which is not their fault. They don’t understand certain aspects to speech that are purely auditory that even with speech therapy cant help in this aspect.
    Those are the main reasons, and also, I can pick up on body language and face movements better than the average joe.
    I am really good at blending in with hearing people and kinda hiding my disability cause I learned how to deal with my challenges that come with having cochlear implants.
    But the toll dear friends on my self-esteem is all over the place cause image this your the only
    guy/girl, deaf/ hearing, cochlear implanted kid/ hearing, etc. in all of your classes from PreK-12 grade you understand you’re different but it makes it difficult to find peer support when all you know is your own experiences so are sociable and talkative but at the same time socially isolated cause you know that none of your classmates will understand everything that comes along with being the kid with cochlear implants where everything requires an explanation.

Thank you for sharing! This is a really interesting topic and I can’t wait to see where it goes :blush:

Question: do you have any accommodations that’s been helpful with both your adhd and being *deaf in a school or work environment?
*is that the right way to say it?

Do you think the overlap of the 2 has made you better at explaining things or more empathetic?

Are there any analogies between the 2 that work well together?

( In case that phrasing was weird, an example I use is…
“zoning out feels like taking off my glasses and getting disoriented. I can’t really tell what’s going on, but I’m still tuned into the environment. It’s like sitting in a conversation but not saying anything.” )

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To * yes, it is appropriate to say that to me, but everyone is different in referencing their hearing loss. Some say deaf others say hard of hearing etc. I don’t care, but deaf is appropriate to say this case and question. In terms of accommodations that help both my ADHD and being deaf in a school environment majority of them are for my deafness but covers my ADHD so like a chameleon. For example, I have accuses to teacher’s notes or a student note-taker this is due to the fact I might be able to pay attention to what the teacher is saying but depend on how noisy the environment is not hearing essential details to write down in my notes so I might be missing info. So it covers me in terms of both. An exciting accommodation that I have that is contradictory in my option is that I have prefrontal seating which means more towards the front and away from distractions but it also means that where I sit is a place where I can get up and move if need be, but when your in the front and you get up a lot its distraction to other students in the room so I never would get up and out of my seat to move instead I would bounce my leg. I should have mentioned this; I have always been diagnosed with the Combined type of ADHD. Another accommodation that I feel is very useful to everyone who is in a class environment with me is closed captions on videos- audio can be weak, and I can’t understand it where captions allow me to understand what is happening in the video and if my ADHD causes me to space out but when I return I can read the caption and make connections as to what happened in the video. Personally, I think all teachers should attempt to find videos with captions because it helps everyone out.

I do think that the overlap of the two has made me better at explaining things and being more empathetic because I understand forgetting to turn in essential assignments and also saying something out of turn due to a misjudgment of the question or not hearing the matter in its entirety, which means my brain gets a feeling of where a problem may be going and jumps to an answer. And explaining things I can be very creative at times with an explanation or very medical depend on the question due to having a lot of family in the medical field. Still, none of them are necessarily medical professionals within the ADHD realm rather than other areas such as physicians or ent’s or something along those lines.

urm I have not really thought of any analogies between the two the work well together however one analogy that I most commonly use with my teachers in terms of my hearing loss is this
Just because I can hear you doesn’t mean I will understand you and I will say this to pretty much all of my teachers is to treat me like an ordinary hearing student do not change the way you teach instead adapt the way you teach the entering class. Pretty much all of my teachers are receptive to this because I am not asking them to teach differently; make what your teaching more accessible. Also the majority of the time my teachers just see my hearing loss because I don’t really bring up my ADHD because it was a secondary diagnosis for me meaning my hearing loss was first then my ADHD, but I think I might bring both up to the professors that I have in the winter semester will see. Also, if you can think of any analogy to compare the two, that would be great.


Being deaf is different from sensory processing disorder because I never had the natural ability to hear, so I just process sound differently from everyone else. Still, it’s due to the fact I never had an opportunity to hear with my ears. Also, this article provides an understanding of the difficulty of addressing ADHD and hearing loss. Also, the term mainstream is used because mainstream in the deaf world means you attend a school full of hearing students, and you are the only student at that particular school who is deaf. The article is saying the deaf people with cochlear implants will be impulsive in verbal communications due to a lack of accuses to language when they were growing up, which is true. Still, the student who is deaf needs to show signs of being impulsive verbally but also have nonverbal signs of that there is something more happening.

I think it’s very complicated due to a lack of accusing to language growing up. This is why people who have hearing loss and are in the education system also tend to have some sort of language disorder, which the article above also explains. I know for me, one of my learning disorders deals with language, and that is the Disorder of Written Expression. I have a rough idea of what I want to say. Still, I don’t know to write it down in a way that makes sense than when it finally hits me how it should be written I have either forgotten the idea entirely or what I have written makes sense. Still, it’s not me speaking any more it’s someone else which is where my ADHD comes in when you have a million ideas, and one idea sticks out to you. Still, then you can’t express it in an appropriate format it’s incredibly frustrating because it’s like I know the definition to the vocab word, but I don’t know how to write it down without me overthinking it or something else happening that will distract me from doing what I need to do.


Got it!

Ahh i see. Huh, thats an interesting crosssection of accommodations!

Yeah, I use captions too!! They’re massively helpful and usually the only reason I know what’s going on ( slight tangent, i hate the people who use captions for commentary on YT… theres literally a comment section for the same reasons and the subtitles kinda need to actually work!!! )

Oh ok :grin:

That makes sense.

Oh, well my original example for zoning out was comparing it to that annoying ringing noise but I didn’t know if it was a good one :sweat_smile:
Is this a good analogy?
“Trying to process multiple people talking feels like when everything’s really rushed, but your executive function won’t let you stay on task. So you bounce around different people and don’t fully understand what everyone’s saying.”

I’ll check this article out! Looks interesting :slightly_smiling_face:

Same!!! Do you ever skip words when writing sentences? Or have an easier time typing than handwriting?

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Yup typing for me is between than handwriting mostly because my handwriting is difficult for anyone to read including my self but I think part of it is cause I am a lefty.
That analogy kinda makes a lot of sense for me because following convos is difficult when there is multiple people involved.

Also when I read aloud I will add words that aren’t present in the sentence or subtract words as well so it can be very problematic when reading aloud.

Typing- is another accommodation I have and it means I write everything down that is beening spoken at me which isn’t very good especially for lectures but I also have access to the power points if professors use them because that means I can follow what’s happening verbally without worrying about what’s happening on screen which is nice but hard at the same time because everything happens very quickly.

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Me too! I have such a hard time reading handwriting especially my own. I’m not a lefty, but my sibling is :sweat_smile:
Okay :grin:

Yeah… reading aloud is really difficult. Do you ever feel like your mouth gets heavy and you’ve forgotten how to form words? I sometimes feel like my tongue is suddenly full of anesthesia :stuck_out_tongue:

I get to type stuff as well! I agree, it’s a struggle during lectures. Do you have access to the slides during class or after?

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I have accused to the slides after the lecture and sometimes before it was dependent on the professor

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Ah ok. I feel like slides can be helpful for review, but not very useful when initially learning a subject :thinking:

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Urm this is just intresting food for thought My audtiory nerve is electronially stim due to the nature and the way a cochlear impant works and yet my brain is unstimulated which makes me kinda think even if I wasnt deaf and didnt have cochlear implants my brain would still be unstimulated. I found this tought to be very comedic just cause one of my senses is getting stimulated and my brain understands that while the rest of my brain is just understimulated. I dont know I just found this to be very funny.


This is the thing that irritates me and makes be in constant conflict about my self. Why self-acceptance is hard for me: Society will tell me, (us) that its okay to treat someone with early hearing loss or deafness and that we should feel sorry and some amount of empathy towards them and yet at the same time society will tell me (us) that I should try harder and that taking medication is just the easy way out… This creates conflict because I am deaf and have ADHD, so this puts me in a social outcast in the sense that society doesn’t know what to do with me. But this is just my opinion based on reflection and perception I firmly believe that my teachers were more concerned with my deafness than my ADHD why the cause of this simple question WIll I be able to keep up with the rest of the class? I always have and always will but here’s the other thing if teachers did care about my ADHD I couldn’t tell or it was expressed to my parents which is fine which is probably why I got tested. But at the same time, it makes my conflict with myself, which causes friction to happen in other places in my life. Because in terms of when I had my IEP, my ADHD was listed down as partly why I have these accommodations. Since the winter semester has started, I haven’t told any of my professors about my ADHD, and I think it’s just because I am not as well versed in ADHD as I should be because I am extremely welled versed in info regrading my deafness and cochlear implants, or I just feel that my deafness takes more priority over my ADHD diagnoses that neither is more important than the other it’s more or less cause I know about more than the other and have been advocating for my deafness. At the same time, my ADHD was on the metaphorical sidelines or I am just not at a stage where I feel okay sharing my diagnosis with my professors yet. I just think its a combo of options one and three, but also, I kinda forget that I have ADHD due to it being invisible.

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Mmhhh that’s an interesting thing to think about! I feel like it can easily become a competition when you have multiple diagnoses but it’s really about what you decide to tell others when and if you’re ready. Advocacy for one doesn’t make it any more whatever that the other :thinking:

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I think thats true and I dont necessarly see it as a competation I think for me its easier to explain one over the other casue having two cochlearimplants can help proffessers see my disability and I also have asstive tech for my deafness where as for my ADHD my asstive tech is my laptop with word or whatever word processing document open where manny students just do that auto matically where as for me if a professor says no compture for note taking then I can say its in my accomodations so I can use it where as other students couldnt. So its kinda complicated.

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Oohh okay. I see a lot of people talk about the difficulties of invisible vs visible disabilities and it’s really cool to see how it is for you

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yup cause if we met irl before I told you I was deaf you wouldnt know until I showed you my implants so its kinda in the middle of being insvisable and visauble but its nice cause its a way to explain something in a physical sense where as with ADHD all we have is labels which isnt a bad or a good thing it just something to explain a set of disabling symptoms.

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Hello, and thank you for opening up about this!

I went to college at RIT, which shared its campus with the National Institute for the Deaf (NTID.) It was a crazy unique community because of the prevalence of individuals who were deaf or hard of hearing (and other reasons too, it was just an awesome and crazy community). For example, every food place on campus had a menu on the counter that you could point to if you or the person taking your order were hard of hearing. (sorry, I got distracted, I’ll get back to the actual topic :stuck_out_tongue: )

But once I read this post, I was consumed with an insatiable curiosity that I had never thought about before. With ADHD, I describe the cacophony of noise in my brain as similar to having a bunch of radios or tvs playing different stations at the same time. There’s always so many different thoughts going at once; one is just a song looping and one might be thinking about what I need to do today and one has random curiosities and stuff like that.

So now I’m curious what it’s like for you? Do you have radios that play auditory thoughts like that, or is it something else? Also, how do you talk to yourself? Verbal, sign language, visual thoughts, etc? (Anyone else can reply too, I’m curious how different our brains all are.) And thank you for sharing!

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Yep I knew about NTID through RIT I visited the campus, but it just didn’t feel like the right fit even though the accommodations for students who were deaf or hard of hearing are above my expectations.

I don’t necessarily have a bunch of radios going off with different noises, and sounds for say it more or less my brain is metaphorically bouncing a million ideas off of my skull and impossible to focus on one or the other. I do have echo thoughts, but that when my implants are off and I can’t hear anything. I talk to myself like a normal person out loud, and its mainly verbal thoughts; sometimes, it is visual if I am hyper-focusing on stuff for 3d classes. Also, it’s like my brain is going a million miles a minute, and I can’t control it or stop it if I want to. I do take ADHD meds, which allow my brain to slow down from going a million miles a minute. Sometimes when I am talking with others my brain remembers oh I have XYZ to do, and songs dod play in my head sometimes on reptation, but also my brain thinks a lot about language cause I was taught language a little differently due to having two cochlear implants. So my brain is always thinking about context and if I don’t know a word what does that word mean and then how does it apply to the context it is in.

While on the fourm there is a tab for adhd characters and other disabilites and talk about that I thught that I would take time to expand my Characters with ADHD post on that. WHen I say that there are very few that touch the deaf world this is true becaue there is a divide amoung the deaf community which then in turns hurts the writers and authors who want to write on the subject but are so sacred to offend one side of the arugement or the other. Their is one side who sees that deafness is not something to define them but rather something to have enourmous pride and use American sign language to interact with the world and then there is the other side that says cochlear implants are used to help deaf individuals hear and they can speak and interact with the rest of the world that is hearing. Here is a video that better explains the debate within the community from someone who is actually deaf
but its just extremely complicated to explain and Lets just say dive a little deeper into Alexander Gram Bells history with deaf people through this video and sort of a little bi of history about education deaf youth

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Hhmmm interesting!!

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