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Back to School: Hearing Loss in the Classroom (Part 1)


With Labor Day Weekend comes the bittersweet realization that yet another summer is behind us. For college students, that realization means transitioning from afternoons and weekends spent lazing on the beach to early morning lectures and all-nighters at the library.For students with hearing loss and hearing aids, college can be a particularly challenging place to navigate. Read on for some tips about how to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of your time in the classroom.

Hearing Loss in the Classroom: Sit in the front

It may seem obvious, but whether it’s a 10-person discussion section or a 200- person lecture, on day one, commit to taking a front seat in all of your classes. In addition to helping you hear them more clearly, sitting close to your professors will keep you on your toes when you’re running on two hours of sleep! If you’re concerned about securing a front seat for the whole semester, always arrive to class a few minutes early or talk to your professors about your hearing loss right away. Try not to worry about it being an uncomfortable conversation—your professors are there to help!

Hearing Loss in the Classroom: Find out if your classrooms are equipped with induction loops

If you have hearing aids or are thinking about getting them, talk to a professor or guidance counselor to see if any of your classrooms are equipped with induction loop systems. This technology, which is popping up in post offices, taxis, movie theaters and more, magnetically transmits sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants with telecoils (T-coils), essentially turning your hearing aids into wireless loudspeakers.

Hearing Loss in the Classroom: Get a note taker

Your college or university may provide notetakers and/or ASL translators to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. A professor or guidance counselor should be able to point you in the direction of someone who can help you find out if these resources are available and how to access them. If you’re uncomfortable asking for a notetaker or translator, talk to your professors about implementing a “class note taking system.” An article on the University of Vermont’s website suggests that professors assign three to five students to take notes per class and upload them onto the course’s website. This technique eliminates the stigma associated with getting extra help and benefits everyone in the class.

So, college students, remember to utilize the resources at your disposal, and don’t be afraid to speak up—college is what you make of it. Happy studying!

by Leah Sininsky

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