Geneva, CH; The World Health Organization released a shocking discovery that between 82-85% of the hearing impaired can, in reality hear just fine. While there are varying degrees and types of hearing loss, 99% of the malingerers composed the anacusis (total deafness) subgroup.
Dr. James Fitzgerald M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in personality disorders said this is unique because of the motivation behind the feigned disability. "When someone claims they have a disability there are 2 common and one less common reason for it. The most encountered are a need for attention and sympathy, while the second has to do with drug seeking behavior. These patients will normally complain of chronic pain. The rarer type is what is referred to as a somatoform disorder also known as a conversion disorder. This is where a patient can literally experience anything from pain, paralysis, blindness, epilepsy- you name it. The difference is that it's psychogenic rather than physiological in nature."
When asked what makes these cases listed by the WHO so unique he stated, "They were aware they could hear, they weren't seeking drugs, and they wanted no sympathy. The primary motive, almost across the board was a desire to be left alone with out having to withdraw from society. They learned sign language and functioned fully and reaped no compensation financially. Three patients I interviewed (two males one 54 the other 27, and a female 32 years of age) had advanced degrees and were gainfully employed. They all gave nearly the same reason for this behavior. Basically they found other people intolerably boring. By using sign language; communication was more purposeful, to the point, and most importantly- rare- as most have never learned it. The woman told me she'd pretend to be blind as well if it weren't for her need to drive a car."
If you suspect a friend or loved one may be able to hear but "won't" the WHO set up guidelines to test them.
1. make sure they believe they're alone
2. quietly sneak behind them
3. yell loudly into the ear canal
4. assess response
If they are deaf the reaction will be more like a mild surprise, like touching someone on the shoulder and saying hello. (The gosh I didn't see you there reaction)
5. If they are able to hear they will most likely exhibit the following behaviors; flailing of the arms, a loud shout or scream, a quick shift in bodily position (normally away from the noise), staggering, incontinence (both urinary and fecal) followed by emotional lability and syncope.