Hearing loss problems can have a huge effect on your life, especially way more if you are just a teenager. Conventionally, most people that suffer from hearing loss problems are the elderly ones, as a person keeps growing old, different parts of their auditory system keep getting damaged, and their hearing ability reduces with that. But the way it seems like a normal phenomenon among old people, it is not the same case for teenagers.
Teenagers can face hearing loss problems due to many different reasons, such as accidents, sudden exposure to really loud noise, genetic reasons, etc. No matter the reason, a teenager faces a really hard time getting on with life if they face hearing loss problems. And the difficulties they face are not hearing-based only. They feel immense psychological issues that can derive from feelings of insecurity and inferiority. It is really important to help them out of these feelings so that they can go on with their normal life.
Psychological Challenges A Teenager With Hearing Loss Faces
As they can’t hear properly and can’t continue communicating properly due to that, they become weak at verbal communications, the root form of communication used by the vast majority of humans. It can present a huge psychological shock to the teen suffering from hearing loss, especially if the loss is new. This shock, and the inability to do many of the things that most people do very easily and take for granted, can manifest in various ways psychologically. These following psychological impacts attempt to shine a light on how hearing loss can change the environment of a teenager.–
Teenagers facing difficulty making sense of physical environments often go hand in hand with their hearing loss problems. As humans are hugely dependent on sound, they can have so much meaning. But by failing to understand the sound, teenagers get exposed to confusion problems a lot, and not only on an emotional level but on a purely physical one too.
Loss of Self-Reliance
Loss of self-reliance can occur too. Teens who are used to learning many more things as they grow older, but if they suddenly have to take a giant step back in that matter, might be shaken to the core because of this sudden change in circumstance. It can make them doubt themselves, finding it hard to rely on inner strengths even where they do have them.
Hearing loss can lead to serious emotional isolation and also a sense of loss and aloneness, especially if peers and even family members step back due to their being unable to communicate. This initial isolation stage can last until after the teen reestablishes social balance in their life, possibly by finding friends who are hard of hearing, learning which of these peers are willing to interact, and discovering new learning communities that fill them with satisfaction. As teens adjust more to circumstances, they might become more outgoing in their lives and build comfort communicating.
Loss of Identity
Isolation leads to a shift in the teen’s emotional and social approach to the world, and to themselves too. Teens with hearing loss become unable to engage properly on the same linguistic levels as their peers. Moreover, many traditional school life aspects may lose their appeal if the teen can’t make sense of them or enjoy them as they may have done before. And this might eliminate aspects of their identity which they considered valuable once.
What Can Be Done To Make Things Better
It is not possible to completely undo the psychological damage that can be caused by social distance and isolation, emotional turmoil, and learning difficulty. However, several resolutions can help to create a better world for teens after they suffer hearing loss.
Foster a Sense of Self
Many teens with hearing loss suffer from a lack of ability to identify with themselves as hard-of-hearing or deaf individuals. Disabilities cause serious problems in social and emotional life and greatly impact the ability to engage in activities and duties that the hearing takes for granted. It is therefore helpful to foster in the teen a sense of self that incorporates the disability, and possibly even creates positive associations with it. Also, helping the teen to find new interests to which hearing loss can not be a barrier, might also help.
Build an Understanding Community
One of the most important steps toward learning to live a meaningful life with hearing loss is building a community of people who understand exactly what the teen is going through. Conferences such as the American Society for Deaf Children’s Annual Event or Deafhood Youth Northwest help students interact with deaf peers, but perhaps more importantly, they build self-identity as a valuable teen with hearing loss. Support groups for teens who are deaf or hard of hearing also exist and many school districts offer rich curricula to teens with hearing loss.
Learn to Communicate
During the initial time after hearing loss, or in the first few years of adolescence for the kids who have lived with hearing loss their entire lives, communication gets compromised. It becomes more difficult to gain understanding about different stuff, so working toward it is one of the primary ways to help a teen adjust to their hearing loss.
Teenagers need space to deal with their issues, meditate on problems, grow and be by themselves. Although some aspects of self-reliance may be compromised, it is important to let the teen decide which aspects those are rather than enforcing help in ways a teen does not appreciate.
If a teen has recently experienced hearing loss, you should also expect them to need space to adjust to the circumstance. It will not happen overnight, also the psychological impacts mentioned earlier might persist for a while. The best thing to do is to allow these feelings to run their course so that they can morph into new personal insights.
Hearing loss problems can really shatter a person, especially teenagers. They will need help to face all the trauma and problems caused by hearing loss. Also to take care of their hearing health, and increase their hearing ability they can resort to digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc. that might help them more to get reincorporated in their known world.