Teenagers and young adults, in particular, are very sensitive to how they interact with and are perceived by peers in their social context. They will most likely have been in communication situations where another person did not understand why they may have misunderstood what was said, been uncomfortable, felt awkward or lonely. They may also react very differently in each of these situations. The My World tool can help teenagers and young adults describe these situations and feelings that may otherwise be difficult to express. Below is a series of questions to ask teenagers/young adults to help them reflect on how they manage and talk about their hearing loss today and what else they could do in the future.
In this video, pediatric audiologist Jane Madell listens to young adults describe experiences where they had difficulties communicating and being understood.
You may want to begin the conversation by saying something like this: "People who have normal hearing will never fully understand what it is like to have a hearing loss. As a teenager or young adult who has a hearing loss, you have most likely been in a situation where during communication, someone else did not understand why you may have misunderstood what was said, been uncomfortable, felt awkward, or lonely. To help others who have hearing loss, I would like to ask you to share some of your experiences."
For each relevant question, have them use the My World tool to demonstrate specific situations in their daily lives. Also, ensure them that their answers will be kept anonymous, and will not be shared with their parents, friends, or coworkers.
- What do you enjoy doing? In school, with your family, and on your own?
- Do you feel that you 'live well' with your hearing loss? Are you managing well with your hearing loss at home, at school, or with your friends?
- Do you feel that your hearing loss prevents or limits you from doing things you enjoy?
- Do you feel that your parents understand your hearing loss? What makes them understand or not understand?
- Do you feel that your teachers understand your hearing loss? What makes them understand or not understand?
- Is there anyone in your life that understands your hearing loss? Who?
- If you work, do you feel that your employer and co-workers understand your hearing loss? What makes them understand or not understand?
- Do you feel that your friends understand your hearing loss? What makes them understand or not understand?
- If you could give any advice to parents, teachers, or employers in regards to how to help you communicate better...what would it be?
- If you could tell your friends anything about your hearing loss, what would it be?
- Is there anything that you would change about having a hearing loss, such as how it affects you at home, school, or work?