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If you live with hearing loss then you are well aware of the challenges it can create. It causes simple conversations to require more focus and meetings in a group are confusing at times. Hearing loss isn’t always easy to self-diagnose, but when you have, and are actively seeking treatment for your hearing loss you are able to use hearing aids in combination with certain strategies to navigate social and workspaces with more ease.
A huge area where hearing often plays a special role is in education. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), of the 15% of Americans who report some degree of hearing loss, about 60 percent are either in the workplace or an educational setting. It is complicated because educational success centers on comprehending new information and this could be lost when the information is delivered orally. If you are considering college but are anxious or hesitant because of hearing issues, here are a few tips to ensure better success in school, even with a hearing loss.
Communication is the Key
It is important to be open about your hearing loss with your school and teachers. Even if you don’t want everyone in the class to know about your hearing loss, informing your school about your disability can allow you to ask for reasonable accommodations around your hearing loss.
Contact Your Instructors
When you sign up for a class, email your instructor and let them know what accommodations could better help you to follow the class. If you are not sure an introductory email, explaining your condition and asking questions can allow you and your professors to troubleshoot the best possible scenario for you based on the course content. Contact your instructor and find out if they have had hearing-impaired people in their class before and how they were best accommodated. Many times, a central up front seating will improve your ability to hear, even with the use of hearing aids.
Take Advantage of School Services
It is also a good idea to reach out to the school’s services to find out what features they offer hearing-impaired students. Many colleges offer accessibility features such as live-action captioning services, written class notes or transcripts or ASL interpretation to help you learn. The more open you are about your hearing the better you will be set up for success.
Position Yourself for Success
Many classes deliver information primarily through lecture and conversation. This means a majority of the information is delivered in an audio form and can be easily missed if you have a hearing loss. If the class is delivered mostly in lecture form, make the most out of this situation make sure you sit front and center so you can make sure you hear as much as possible. You will also be more equipped to rely on visual cues, such as hand gestures, body language, lip reading and facial expression when you sit up close. If the class is more conversationally based it may take some trial and error to find the best place for you to hear everyone the clearest.
Pay attention to environmental factors that could make it hard for you to hear. For instance, if there is an air vent, open window or noisy classmate, distance yourself. You will need extra concentration to succeed with a hearing impairment. If you use hearing aids or use an assistive listening device from your school, it could be helpful to be open with your class about your disability. While this can feel daunting at first, being open about your hearing issues can allow you to suggest communication strategies that they can use, so you can hear them better.
Custom Hearing Solutions
There is still time before school begins in the fall and it’s a good idea to start preparing now. Once you’ve contacted your school and instructors there is still more to do. You are going to want to make sure that your hearing aids are working to their fullest potential to ensure success. Make sure to schedule a hearing test, to make sure there hasn’t been a change to your hearing ability. In most cases, all it takes is a simple change to your current hearing aid program to fix an issue. Make an appointment today and get one step further to achieving your academic dreams!