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Seven tips to help you manage hearing loss at uni

Published: 6/27/2023 3:55:46 AM

University is a time for fun, learning and just a little partying. Getting the most out of your time at uni means having a good game plan, and for those with hearing loss this extends beyond learning your way around campus and finding the best coffee spot. These handy tricks and tips will help ease the transition. 

1. Register with disability services 

If you think your learning will be impacted by your hearing loss, let your university’s disability services staff know as soon as possible. Most universities will provide support services, whether it’s transcribing notes, having an interpreter in tutorials or providing captions for videos. The process generally involves creating an account on the university website, arranging a consultation, providing some paperwork and setting up a system catered to your needs. 

2. Voice-to-text apps 

While informing lecturers of your hearing loss is essential, not everyone will be familiar with the type of support you need. There are lots of habits that can affect your learning, like talking with their back to you or while walking around the lecture hall, background noise from other students chatting or uncaptioned video clips. In these situations, your smart phone will be your secret weapon. Voice-to-text smartphone apps can convert spoken word into type, so you can capture everything your lecturer says, even if you didn’t catch it the first time. SpeechNotesListNote and Evernote are popular options. 

3. Get a good seat 

The early bird gets the worm. Likewise, the early student gets the best seat. Having a clear view of your lecturer or tutor can make all the difference, so arriving a few minutes early is a habit worth getting into. You should be able to see what they’re saying more clearly, absorb any accompanying PowerPoint slides and easily ask questions. 

4. Email your tutors 

When a new semester starts, find out who’s teaching your class and shoot them an email. Letting them know about your hearing loss will make your life a whole lot easier, and allows them to create lesson plans with your needs in mind. Tell them your preferred methods of communication and find out if there will be any assignments or classwork that may present a challenge. 

5. Join a club 

Whether you’re shy or outgoing, the social scene at university can be daunting. It can feel a little isolating and frustrating when others may not know how to accommodate hearing loss. Tutorials, university cafes/bars and clubs are great ways to get out there and make some friends. Lots of universities also have clubs specifically for those with hearing loss. You could even offer to teach classmates some sign language or create a group chat to use during meetups. 

6. Mindfulness exercises 

University can be stressful at times. When assignments pile up, group work starts testing your patience and exam week edges ever closer, it can be hard to keep anxiety and stress under control. In turn, this can make it more difficult to concentrate. Reach out to your campus counsellor if you’re facing any challenges and get some tips on how best to handle stress. Practicing mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing and mediation, or even just finding a weekly yoga class, can help to strengthen your focus. 

7. Practice assertiveness 

It’s okay to talk about your hearing loss with others and ask for support. Requesting lecture notes or reminding a classmate that you have difficulty understanding them in noisy places can feel daunting but will make sure you don’t miss out on any of the great opportunities university has to offer. Don’t let your hearing loss be a barrier to your goals.

If you’d like more information about resources to help you through university, we’re always happy to chat.

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