The Challenge of Hearing Aids for Teenagers: A Success StoryMar 29, 2017
Many teens with hearing loss resist wearing hearing aids due to fears of being teased, bullied or ostracized. But untreated hearing loss in children and teens can have long-term effects on social, emotional, and educational development and progress.
A teenage patient, Amy* has congenital hearing loss which was diagnosed during infancy. She has a mild to moderate degree of hearing loss in both ears. Amy used hearing aids during childhood, but never regularly, and ceased use altogether approximately 5 years ago.
Amy’s mother was concerned that she didn’t wear hearing aids, and wanted to be proactive in order to avoid any potential educational roadblocks due to untreated hearing loss. Amy is smart and is achieving very good grades in school. She doesn’t perceive any listening difficulties in the classroom and feels that her education isn’t being hindered.
Difficulty Hearing In Social Settings
Socially, however, Amy is aware that there are times she doesn’t hear her friends well. This is especially apparent in noisy situations, such as the lunch room, or when her friends speak quietly or whisper to her. She finds it embarrassing when she misses these conversations and worries that her friends may start to notice.
Noticeable Improvement, Increased Confidence
Amy was recently fit with binaural hearing aids (i.e. one for each ear). It was a very slow, gradual transition into hearing aid use. At first she was extremely self-conscious about the stigma associated with hearing aids and didn’t want them to be visible. She began by wearing the hearing aids at home only and has gradually begun wearing them at school and in social settings. Amy’s family has noticed a marked improvement with her hearing, and Amy feels more comfortable engaging with her friends knowing that she will hear what they are saying.
Treatment Is Critical for Children & Teens
Treating and managing hearing loss in children and teenagers is critical. Even for those who are compensating well and making good grades in school, untreated hearing loss can have negative long-term effects on social, emotional, and educational progress and development.
Get A Diagnosis and Treatment ASAP
If you know a child or teenager with untreated hearing loss, encourage them (or their parents) to seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The sooner they are treated for their hearing loss, the sooner they can start to overcome or reverse any developmental impacts.
* Fake name and image used to protect patient privacy.
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