Tips for College Students with Hearing Loss
College is an exciting, rewarding and challenging time for anyone. It’s not all about study; it’s about independence, life lessons and making fantastic memories. Your hearing loss shouldn’t be a hindrance. We have some tips to help you adjust and feel more confident about the experience.
Preparation and Communication
This is your chance to take charge of your future. But, you don’t have to fly completely solo. Give yourself the best chance of success with preparation, communication and support.
- Speak with the person who coordinated your needs at school, they are your best resource to guide you where to start.
- Next, write a list of what will help you succeed and any questions you have.
- Research what services exist for students with hearing loss, for example interpretive services, and find out how you can access them.
- Learn what you are entitled to, having hearing loss qualifies you for specific learning resources under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Institutions of higher learning that receive federal funding must provide you with equal access to education and campus activities.
- Prepare a quick explanation of your hearing loss, and practice saying it. This will help when meeting new people and explaining to college instructors.
- Advise the college ASAP of your hearing loss; find out who to discuss your requirements with. Schedule discussions with them. They will need plenty of time to put things into place.
- Be persistent. You may not get everything you ask for. But you certainly won’t if you don’t ask. Research will help here, be specific, patient and clear. If the first person you talk to can’t help you, refer onto another who could.
- Visit campus and review the map, identify where your classes will be held etc. Get a sense of how far things are from one another.
- When you visit, check what technologies they have, such as assistive listening devices (ALDs). Check everything works.
- If campus is far from your usual hearing care provider find one near to campus that you can get to easily.
When you arrive
- Register with appropriate offices in a timely manner.
- If staying in residence halls, introduce yourself to the halls director and explain your hearing loss. Learn where the emergency exits are located on your floor, and make sure you have an emergency alert device such as a bed shaker.
- Make appointments with instructors to discuss your needs and be prompt. If you can’t meet them, send a brief introductory email explaining your hearing loss.
- Treat everyone with kindness and respect, no matter who they are.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up if your needs aren’t being met. People forget, make mistakes and get distracted. Be assertive but respectful both in and out of the classroom.
- Join in with Freshman Week and campus activities. Make new friends rather than isolating yourself.
- Look after your hearing health; get enough rest, eat well and protect yourself from noisy environments.
Before you go off to college, why not double check your hearing with a hearing evaluation? We can discuss any concerns you have, and make recommendations to meet your personal requirements. Call us toll free on 1-877-499-4327 or click here to request an appointment online.