Teens, Tweens, and Transitions

As children with hearing loss become young adults, they have more to deal with than just the usual growing pains. In addition to dealing with new teachers and classmates, they also have to deal with new environments that may not understand their difficulties and moving from pediatric to adult care.

To help these teens and tweens, their families, and their hearing care professionals adjust to these changes, the Ida Institute ran their Growing Up with Hearing Loss process. Intended to help young people gain more autonomy as they get older, Growing Up with Hearing Loss will help them articulate how different people in their lives can support their hearing loss journey.

Tools for transitions

My World

My World

Acquire the child's perspective on their daily communication challenges and gain a unique insight into the child's point of view.
Living Well

Living Well

Bring teens' and tweens' daily lives into the appointment as you identify communication situations that are relevant and important to them.
Group AR


Learn how to start a group rehabilitation program to help support teens and tweens with hearing loss.
For more tools

Growing up with hearing loss

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Sarah Honigfeld is the daughter of Lisa, one of our Growing Up with Hearing Loss participants. Sarah was born with a hearing impairment, attended mainstream schools for most of her childhood, but also still had a connection to the Deaf community. In this video, she shares her personal experiences growing up in a hearing world, and how she made successful transitions to her current life as an independent adult.

Rite of Passage

Our Growing Up with Hearing Loss project focuses on transitions experienced by children and young adults. However, the likelihood of acquiring a hearing loss increases with age and this creates another unique transition for many. Ida’s Senior Anthropologist Hans Henrik Philipsen aptly described hearing loss as a rite of passage – that is to say, a transition – in a recent article for Audiology Today. Having a sense of well-being, competency, and autonomy is just as important for adults adjusting to a new phase of life with hearing loss as it is for children with hearing impairments adjusting to changes in their lives. 

Ideas Worth Hearing

Online Community

Online Community for Families

Create a global network for families to discuss their experience with hearing loss!

Celebrate World Hearing Day

Sponsor fun events and activities at your school to celebrate hearing!

From the editor

Teens, Tweens, and Transitions: Helping Young People Adjust to Life’s Changes

Growing up can be difficult, and not all children react well to change. Switching from one level of school to another, even with familiar classmates, brings new challenges to navigate, along with new hallways. For children with hearing impairments, there are further adjustments. For young people who spend time visiting healthcare professionals and specialists, the shift from pediatric to adult treatment means adapting to new people and taking on new responsibilities.

I Brought It to the Kitchen Table

Kathleen and her family discuss her life growing up with a hearing impairment.

The many changes faced by young people as they transition through childhood and the teen years served as  the inspiration for the Ida Institute’s Growing Up with Hearing Loss process. The series of meetings, held virtually with a group of international pediatric experts, looked at the different periods of transitions in a child’s life and explored the information and resources children and their families need to make those transitions easier.

Growing Up with Hearing Loss aims to help children and young people with hearing impairments learn to manage their hearing loss, advocate for themselves, and maintain independence as they shift into different phases of their young lives.

What are the major transitions groups?

  • Foundation/support (3-6) – daycare or preschool
  • Discovery (6-9) –   primary school
  • Exploration (9-12) –   secondary school
  • Co-empowerment (14-18) –   high school
  • Personal responsibility (18+)  – ongoing education and job training

Each age group faces different challenges. For example, young children starting daycare or preschool may be concerned about being in an unfamiliar environment. Teenagers may worry about how they will fit in and how their hearing impairment makes them different. Young adults entering the workforce or higher education may have to explain their hearing impairment to a whole new set of people, perhaps advocating for themselves independently for the first time.

The Growing Up with Hearing Loss group has taken inspiration from other areas of health, as well as from education and extracurricular activities such as sports. Group members also looked at Self-Determination Theory and considered how its three central tenets relate to Growing Up with Hearing Loss:

  • Relatedness – the desire for positive, understanding relationships that facilitate motivation and growth
  • Competency – the perception of success through different achievements, which allows us to learn in our environment and feel in control
  • Autonomy – the feeling of being independent, having choices to make and the ability to make them, which is supported by the family and social environment

Growing Up with Hearing Loss participant Dave Gordey notes that in order to make successful transitions, children also need integration, constructive social development and consideration of their personal well-being.

The product of the Growing Up with Hearing loss meetings is an online framework that can be used by children and young adults with hearing loss, parents and hearing care professionals to help young people navigate the various transitions in their lives. This includes background information on key issues and challenges affecting each group and areas where children and young adults may need to make adjustments as they grow older, including emotional, environmental, intellectual, physical, and financial areas. The framework covers not only transitions from one school level to another, but transitions up to age 18 and beyond, when young people move out of education or higher education and into the workforce. The online framework features video interviews with teens and young adults about how they have managed key transitions in their lives.

“With our Growing Up with Hearing Loss project, we hope we have created a means for children and families to navigate those first challenges and help young people to take their first steps towards a well-adjusted, independent life,” says Ida Managing Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. “Whatever their age, people with hearing loss need support from their hearing care professionals and communication partners to manage changes both predictable and unpredictable.”

Visit our Growing Up with Hearing Loss pages.