You may have never met anyone else with a hearing loss, but you are not alone. With one in ten people in the United States having a hearing loss, there are people your own age with hearing loss, from mild to profound.
People ages 18-35 may have unique issues with hearing loss than someone older. These are just some of the issues young adults tell us they deal with. Maybe you do too?
Self Advocacy is Key
Getting the right communication access in classrooms in a college or continuing educational setting is not always easy. In elementary or high school, your parents or teachers may have helped you get what you needed either with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or on a more informal basis.
In higher education, you have to advocate for yourself. Seek out the office of disability at your college or technical school. Ask for help. Don’t assume teachers know how to deal with your hearing loss. Be ready to make recommendations of what you need. Be proactive. For example, if teachers are showing videos for classes, request ones with captions. Even with a mild hearing loss, it is sometimes hard to understand the words on a video, even if you hear them.
- ADA Q&A – The ADA, Section 504 and Postsecondary Education
- How to Get the Most Out of College: A Peer Guide to Self-Advocacy and Transition for the College Student Who is Hard of Hearing
- Rights of Students in Higher Education: A Guide for College Rights of Students in Higher Education
- Disability Discrimination Fact Sheet: Colleges and Universities
- Student Guide to ADA Accommodations at State Fair Community College
Personal Accounts, Accepting your Hearing Loss:
Odyssey of Hearing Loss: Tales of Triumph by Michael Harvey
DawnSignPress; 1 edition (March 1, 2004)
Your Rights in the Post-Secondary Arena:
“Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post-Secondary Education: Know Your
Rights and Responsibilities.” Office for Civil Rights.
Important Contact Information:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Customer Service Team
550 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-7100
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section – NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dating and relationships
How do you deal with communication issues? If it’s not obvious, are you uncertain about how and when to tell someone you are attracted to that you have a hearing loss?
Social life – Do you stay at home because you can’t hear at parties?
Stigma – Are you embarrassed about your hearing loss? Do you cover your hearing aids with your hair? Are you secure enough with yourself to be comfortable with your hearing loss? If not, how can you get more comfortable? Perhaps meeting other young adults with hearing loss can help.
Sports and recreation – Can you hear your coach, teammates, or referees? Can you wear your hearing aids or cochlear implant during sports? Does technology malfunction when you play sports?
Hearing aid or other technology affordability – Young adults often make less income than someone who has been working longer. See the Financial Assistance section.
Looking for a first job is hard enough without having a hearing loss. When do you disclose your hearing loss to a potential employer? How do you function on the job? Do you use captioned telephone, CART, an assistive device? Are your co-workers cooperative and help communicate clearly? See the Employees page for more resources.
HLAA Convention: Come meet other young adults with hearing loss at the annual HLAA Convention. There are also scholarships for young adults to attend an HLAA Convention.
HLAA Chapters: Some HLAA Chapters are focused on young adults or have sub-groups of young adults that meet within the chapter. When inquiring about a chapter, ask if young adults participate. If not, maybe there is enough interest in the community to start a sub-group of that chapter.
Walk4Hearing: The Walk4Hearing is held in cities across the country is a great way to meet others with hearing loss. It’s also a way to be a positive role model to children with hearing loss who are involved in the Walk4Hearing. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and a worthwhile community event, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities as well.
There is a growing number of websites and Facebook pages that reach out to young adults with hearing loss. We hope this page provides a fairly comprehensive list of online resources for young adults with hearing loss. If you know of a good website or Facebook page that should be included here, please let us know.
Facebook Pages – many of the pages listed here are not exclusively for young adults but you will find many young adults with hearing loss on these pages
- Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant Users Group The place where everyone uses Advanced Bionics cochlear implants as their new ‘ears.’
- Association of Audiologists with Hearing Loss This group comprises deaf and hard of hearing audiologists and deaf and hard of hearing audiology students and other interested parties. The group interests include accessibility issues, personal and professional accommodations, networking and mentoring.
- Hear Ya Now – This is not a registered chapter of HLAA, but rather a network of young adults (originally based in California), ages 18-40, with the aim to unite young adults with hearing loss across the country, through social events and an online community where information is exchanged about resources, support, advocacy and scholarship opportunities.
- Hearing Impaired Singles – This is a closed group for singles with hearing loss who are out there in the world, often without others even knowing because we speak normally and use residual hearing along with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and auditory brain implants (ABIs).
- International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People (IFHOHYP)
- Living with Meniere’s Disease – This page is about living with a silent disease; it is a place of support where we can come and talk support each other. Meniere’s affect every person in a family so this page is for those who have it and also those who are affected by it.
- MED-EL Cochlear Implant Discussion Group for users and CI family members of MED-EL cochlear implants to ask questions, find support and make social connections to fellow CI users who have shared similar experiences. People who are considering CI and have questions to ask regarding Med El are also invited.
- SayWhatClub Gen-Y (SWC Gen-Y) – SayWhatClub is dedicated to enhancing interpersonal communication for people who are hard of hearing, deafened, or have a serious interest in hearing loss, with goals of: educating SWC participants and the public about all aspects of hearing loss; providing for mutual sharing of coping and life skills; reducing feelings of isolation, frustration and despair; and enhancing feelings of self-concept and optimism.
- Association of Medical Professionals with a Hearing Loss (AMPHL) – not just for young adults with hearing loss; AMPHL strives to provide information, mentors, advocacy, and networking opportunities for those interested in or working in a health care profession
- International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) – News, events, pictures and questions about general hearing issues. See also International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People (IFHOHYP)
- It’s a Noisy Planet – a national education campaign to help preteens adopt healthy hearing habits