With appropriate early intervention and rehabilitation, children with hearing loss are increasingly gaining access to education in the “hearing world”. However, it is unclear whether this access continues through secondary schooling and beyond, or whether hearing loss presents a barrier to employment or traineeships in young adulthood (16–25 years old). It is also unclear whether hearing loss is associated with reduced life satisfaction in this age group.
The aim of this study was to investigate the educational, employment, and personal life-courses of Australian young adults living with hearing loss, and compare their life satisfaction with a nationally representative sample of their peers.
An invitation to take part in an online survey was sent out to all young adult clients of Australian Hearing who had consented to be contacted for research. Responses to the survey were then analysed statistically, including being compared with the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, a nationally representative survey of Australian young adults.
Preliminary analysis of these data has shown that respondents were significantly more likely than young adult Australians in general to remain in education beyond Year 10, although significantly less likely to be employed, working full-time if they were employed, or have remained employed over the entire previous year. Respondents were significantly less satisfied with their lives than respondents to the LSAY across most domains.
Through a better understanding of the life course of young adults with hearing loss, audiologists can better tailor audiological rehabilitation to the challenges that their young adult patients face during this period of their lives. This study formed the basis for a further qualitative investigation into the nature of patient- and family-centred care as defined by young adult Australians and their family members.