Prepare for a new school year with these helpful tips.
Fall can be an exciting time for young people preparing to go back to campus! But getting ready for the school year also involves many logistics to ensure you have an enjoyable, productive experience. This is especially true if you have hearing loss.
To help, here are five back-to-school tips for students with hearing loss:
- Research campus accommodations and resources
- Connect with a coordinator
- Meet with your audiologist
- Be open about your needs
- Download hearing assistive apps
Let’s dive into each of these back-to-school tips for students with hearing loss!
Research campus accommodations and resources
When it comes to hearing loss accommodations, some schools have more advanced options than others. If you’re still narrowing down the college you want to attend, make sure part of your research covers the accommodations and resources they have available for students with hearing loss.
Often, you can find this information on a dedicated page on their website. For example, at the University of Washington, accommodations include sign language interpretation, CART and video captioning, assistive listening devices, and special arrangements for study abroad trips and other out-of-classroom activities. In addition, some schools have note-taking accommodations where a fellow student volunteer or designated note-taker can take notes during a lecture or class and share them with you afterward.
Connect with a coordinator
If your chosen school has a dedicated department for hearing loss accessibility services, it can be helpful to talk to the program coordinator before classes start. They can walk you through exactly what to expect, help you make classroom accommodation requests, and explain what your responsibilities will be. If you’re still deciding on a school, contact the coordinator with any questions you have about attending school there, and ask if they can connect you with a current student with hearing loss to get a feel for what student life is like from their perspective.
Meet with your audiologist
Next to you, your audiologist is the person who knows your hearing best and can help you figure out if anything needs to be updated in your hearing care plan to help you prepare for college. For example, maybe you’d like to start wearing hearing aids or upgrade to a new pair. Or perhaps there’s another type of assistive listening device that your audiologist thinks would work well. They can also give you tips on caring for your hearing in college as you’re adjusting to a new environment and living on your own.
Be open about your needs
Inside the classroom, your professors will probably take the initiative to help once they’ve been informed of your accommodation requests. But if you’re struggling to understand the classroom content, don’t be afraid to ask after class if there are other options, like a written lecture outline you could follow or if you can record the lecture to listen back later.
You’re also your own best advocate outside the classroom! As you’re making friends and exploring campus activities, don’t be shy about sharing your hearing loss and communication tips. College is a time to meet all different kinds of people and learn how to communicate and befriend diverse groups, and your new friends will appreciate understanding your communication preferences.
Download hearing assistive apps
Your smartphone holds the key to making college life with hearing loss a lot easier! Useful apps for hearing loss include speech-to-text apps, apps that can pick up and amplify speech while reducing background noise, decibel measuring apps, and more. They can make it a lot easier to navigate conversations, classes, and activities at college.
When you’re at school for the first time, it’s normal to feel a little homesick at first. Getting a CapTel captioned telephone for your dorm room can help you stay in touch with family and manage other phone calls without a hitch.