Young people in Northern Ireland who are hard of hearing meet significant difficulties in the shift from school to further and higher education, training or employment. Among these challenges are gaps in information and support, lack of confidence and a lack of awareness of hearing loss.
The study was conducted from the experiences of 23 hard of hearing Northern Irish young people. The young people were aged 16-24 and from different educational backgrounds.
Challenges in many stages of the transition
The challenges for the young people with reduced hearing appeared across three different stages: preparation for the transition, further and higher education and employment and training.
In the preparation phase, the young people experienced a lack of information about their options after school. During further or higher education, the young people with hearing loss experienced a lack of qualified communication workers to support them.
The young people also noticed a poor co-ordination of career planning between the different phases. Another challenge was the low levels of hearing loss awareness in general.
Hearing loss also challenged the social lives of the young people. In relation to this, the young people expressed low levels of confidence due to their hearing loss. They also reported feelings of exclusion and social isolation. The social issues were experienced across all three stages of the transition.
The study was conducted by Queen’s University’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work for Action on Hearing Loss Northern Ireland.