As we grow up, we all go through a series of different steps and stages. We need to develop skills, confidence, and the ability to engage in order to meet the challenges of each new stage. Parents and caregivers are an important source of support, and setting learning goals can help you and your family navigate each stage successfully.
This resource is designed to support you, your family and hearing care providers to reflect on the challenges you may experience at each stage. This will help you identify the choices and options available to you and to consider opportunities for developing new skills that will help you succeed wherever you are.
The first step is to reflect on how you are doing now. Take a close look at what is important to you, what is working well, and areas where you need help by completing the following questions:
- Describe how your family communicates, and how you ensure each family member clearly understands what is being said.
- Describe how you and your family make important decisions.
- Describe how you and your family handle challenging or difficult situations.
- What are your current goals for managing your hearing loss or (if you are a parent) your child’s hearing loss?
- What are your hopes and dreams (for yourself, or if you are a parent, for your child)?
To be happy and healthy, we need to consider how we make choices and decisions about many different aspects of our lives. Click on the areas below to learn more about how you can help yourself, or your child with hearing loss, plan for a happy, healthy future:
- Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness is based on how you feel. It is important to our overall health that we keep a healthy emotional life. For younger children, this may mean spending time with adults or other children with hearing loss. This helps them learn to understand themselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. It also involves the ability to understand and share feelings such as anger, fear, sadness, hope, love, and happiness. For teens and young adults, it can mean being able to manage stress levels in school or college and having a positive acceptance of their hearing loss. It can also mean getting enough sleep and knowing when and how to ask for help.
- Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual wellness means that you stay curious and engage in learning new things. For younger children, this can mean learning about their own hearing and hearing care, and being able to report when amplification devices are not working. Older children will be able to describe different kinds of hearing treatment and how their hearing loss affects their communication. For teens and young adults with hearing loss, intellectual wellness can mean that they are able to understand the “limitations” of their hearing loss, solve problems, and set short- and long-term goals to help them continue to learn and grow intellectually.
- Physical Wellness
Physical wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life and enjoy daily activities without too much stress or fatigue. Listening with hearing loss can be very tiring, especially when you are at school, work, or in complex social situations. With the help of the adults around them, children with hearing loss can learn to build in listening breaks during their day to help maintain physical wellness. Being able to take care of your own physical safety is also important. For children and young adults, this can mean learning to navigate safely in traffic or hearing the fire alarm. Enough sleep, exercise and healthy food are also important for physical wellness.
- Social Wellness
Social wellness involves our ability to connect with others around us and form positive relationships with them. For children with hearing loss and their parents, it can be helpful to meet and build friendships with other children with hearing loss and speak to adults who use hearing technology just like them. Learning to open up about and explain your hearing loss, and the best ways people can communicate with you, is important for the development of friendships and good relationships. These social skills are also valuable for getting support and guidance when things are difficult.
- Environmental Wellness
Environmental wellness refers to your ability to navigate and communicate well in different surroundings. For children, with hearing loss this means developing an awareness of when and where communication is easy or difficult in their daily environments such as school and home. Older children and young adults should learn to describe their needs for successful communication in different environments and ask for the help they need. This could be asking for specific hearing technologies or communication support solutions, or for people around them to adjust their communication to make conversation easier.
- Financial wellness
Financial wellness involves taking steps towards short- and long-term financial security. For people with hearing loss, this means strategically budgeting for their hearing health needs such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive technology, and batteries. They also need to be aware of which insurance coverage might be available to them. As a teen with hearing loss grows into a young adult, he or she should gradually learn how to manage their hearing health needs for continued financial wellness.
- Spiritual Wellness
Spiritual wellness refers to how you understand the beliefs and values that guide your life. Hearing loss can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and may make it difficult to participate in spiritual activities such as religious communities, yoga classes or group meditations. Parents can help their child with hearing loss recognize that people have different beliefs and cultures and the importance of compassion towards others. This can help them “accept” their hearing loss and realize their own uniqueness and the special opportunities that may result.
To explore the environment you, or your child, will be transitioning into next and learn new skills to get ready and feel comfortable, click on your age group: