If you are headed off to college, then this is an exciting time for you. There are so many changes ahead and new opportunities which await. However, if you have hearing loss, then there are extra steps you must take. The impact of hearing loss can affect a student’s ability to learn in conventional ways. Educational success revolves around the absorption of new information and hearing loss can make lectures, class structures, and any audio-based media a struggle to comprehend. The important thing to remember as you head off to college is to start on the right foot and take advantage of the many tools which many colleges and universities offer their hearing-impaired students.
Overcoming the Stigma
There is a stigma around hearing loss and not everyone prefers to be open about their disability. Hearing loss is often referred to as an invisible disability, meaning that it is often up to you to be open about it. The advantage of disclosing a hearing loss to the people around you is that they can make accommodations to make it easier for you to hear. Even if you do choose to be discreet about a hearing loss, it is a good idea to reach out to your new school and teachers ahead of time to inform them of your disability. This already improves your chance to succeed in school by allowing them to offer you resources, take extra care to make sure you don’t get lost due to hearing issues, and find out from you what you need to hear and participate your best.
Reach Out to Your Professors
When you sign up for classes, it is a good idea to reach out to each instructor, individually. You can let them know the nature of your hearing loss, what sounds you struggle with most, and mention things they could do to help you along. If you are not sure what accommodations would help you the most, there is no need to worry. Many instructors have had hearing-impaired people in their classes before and have learned from experience, common methods to enhance learning with a hearing impairment. A simple email can introduce yourself and help jumpstart the process of ensuring that you optimize your learning from the very start.
Taking Advantage of Resources
Once you’ve reached out to your instructors, it is a good idea to contact the human resources department of your school. They can put you in touch with the ADA National Network, which provides resources and assistance for campuses and college students. The thing is universities are required by law to provide disabled students with equal benefits, services, and opportunities. This means that most places of higher education will have staff devoted to addressing your needs as a student with a learning challenge. They can help you find the resources best for you, whether it is live captioning of classes and lectures, written class notes or transcripts, or other communication assistance, you may be surprised at the amazing services provided to help you stay engaged and committed to your learning.
Choosing the Best Location
If you are in a class with lectures or class discussions, speech recognition is of utmost importance. Visual cues can help you rely on body language, lip-reading, and facial expression to supplement what you may miss due to hearing issues. Sitting front and center can ensure that you can hear the instructor and have a clear view.
If there is a noisy air conditioner or a source of other distracting sounds, be sure to position yourself far away from the source. Hearing amongst background noise is incredibly distracting when you have hearing loss.
Address Your Hearing Loss
if you suspect you have hearing loss, then schedule a hearing test as soon as possible! Treating hearing loss can help elevate your listening experience to ensure you have the best advantage for your learning career. Schedule a hearing exam with us today!