They only see it when the sun shines in my ears: exploring perceptions of adolescent hearing aid users

J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2006 Fall;11(4):461-76. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enj044. Epub 2006 May 12.


Hard-of-hearing (HOH) young people may encounter multiple challenges to their educational, social, and emotional development. The benefits of wearing hearing aids to enhance communication may be countered by negative stigma associated with hearing aids. This study explored the experience of 16 bilaterally, moderately to severely HOH adolescents in mainstream education to understand their perceptions of using hearing aids. A core category of "normality" emerged from the data, which captures the predominant issue for these young people. The sense of being normal may be situationally determined, but those who are able to perceive their use of hearing aids in a given context as normal most frequently use them. Regardless of the age of diagnosis or length of time since fitting, if use of hearing aids is perceived as not normal then their use is disguised or negated. The perceptions of the young people indicate that psychosocial supports focused on promoting their identity as HOH young people and normalizing the use of hearing aids should be a key feature of interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Hearing Aids / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / psychology*
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation
  • Social Adjustment