Hearing Loss Across the Lifespan: Unique Therapeutic Issues in Working With People Who Have Hearing Loss

Online Course Materials:    ArticlesArticles   

Developed by Alison Freeman, Ph.D.

Course not approved by New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work for SWs.

General Course Description

We are all affected by hearing loss at some time in our lives, in either ourselves or in someone that we love. From infancy to geriatrics, general estimates are that one out of every ten people has a hearing loss, affecting an approximate 30 million Americans. 75% of people with hearing loss go untreated leading to frequent clinical and medical misdiagnoses. Hearing loss’s true disability is one where there is a reduction or a lack of communication, which leads to social withdrawal, heightened frustration and anxiety and/or depression.Particularly germane to our time, hearing loss in baby boomers and veterans is reaching epidemic proportions. Clinically, clients may not present with concerns about hearing loss, but it is essential to assess how much of an impact hearing loss has on their lives.

This introductory course will examine the impact of hearing loss across the lifespan in infants, children, adolescents, young adults, veterans, baby boomers and seniors. The course begins by describing hearing loss as a communication disability.

Developmental issues from an Eriksonian framework will look at the impact of hearing loss on social, emotional and cognitive development and functioning in childhood, adolescence and adulthood with distinctions between early and late deafened hearing loss. Next we will look at early childhood deafness and the pervasive effects of language deprivation on ego and cognitive development. A particular focus will be on the controversy of the use of sign language and cochlear implantation in children and adolescents.

The course then focuses on issues common to people who are late deafened with a special focus on veterans, baby boomers and seniors. Hearing loss among veterans is the number one service related disability among our veterans, and baby boomers are facing the challenges of hearing loss on their productivity and self-esteem.

Next, the course discusses commonly overlooked reactions and defenses of denial and “faking it” in clients who have unidentified hearing loss. Common clinical errors are identified as well as appropriate interventions including the use of certain stress management strategies in helping people with hearing loss attain a better quality of life.

The course consists of three articles that focus on the impact of hearing loss on baby boomers and seniors with particular focus on the association of cognitive decline and memory difficulties and untreated hearing loss. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to:

  • Discuss similarities and differences in the psychological challenges of hearing loss across the lifespan.
  • Identify typical manifestations of unidentified hearing loss and the impact on clinical diagnoses.

Course Syllabus:

  • Introduction
    • Demographics
    • Overview of hearing loss in children, adults and seniors
    • Distinction of challenges of early childhood deafness and late onset hearing loss
  • Childhood Deafness
    • Effects of language deprivation on the developing ego
    • Controversy of sign language vs. “oralism” and cochlear implantation
    • Identity issues of “Am I Deaf or Hard of Hearing?” in adolescence
  • Age Related Hearing Loss
    • Hearing loss as number one service related disability in veterans
    • Impact on significant others, family and friends
    • Association between cognitive decline and memory difficulties with untreated hearing loss
  • Common Errors in Diagnosis and Treatment
    • “Faking it” and denial defense mechanisms commonly overlooked by clinicians
    • Need for more proactivity during intake and treatment
    • Use of certain stress management strategies for more effectual treatment with children, couples and families for optimal social functioning.
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Cost: $24.00

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