Hearing loss can make learning hard. Teachers constantly move around classrooms, may use microphones during lectures or outside noises may distract or interfere with the professor’s voice. Big classrooms and auditoriums can distort sound, and the presence of other students can make focusing hard as their own voices take over that of the professor’s.
Here are some tips to help make school easier with hearing loss:
- Tell Your Teacher: Be up front with all of your teachers that you have a hearing loss. Explain to them privately what sounds are hard to hear, what words are hard to understand and what environments or situations are difficult for you. Sit down and discuss some ways in which your teacher can help make things easier such as ensuring he or she always faces you when he or she talks, providing visual or printed lessons in addition to verbal and weekly check-ins to make sure you’re not missing anything important.
- Nominate a Note-taker: In college, I had trouble with a couple of teachers because their voices were lost in an auditorium, they were always moving around the classroom, and some were female and had softer, higher-frequency voices. I also couldn’t hear my fellow students questions or answers either because they were behind me or on the far end of a 300-seat lecture hall. In order to combat this, I got a note-taker through the school’s disability services. If you’re not comfortable doing this or have missed the deadline for a note-take through school, consider asking a friend in class to help you take notes when you are having trouble.
- Front Row: Sitting in the front row may mean you get asked more questions than most, but it also means you have put yourself in the best place possible to hear and understand your teacher. It also allows you to pivot left, right or backwards when another student is speaking and have a better chance at getting what they are saying. I always liked to sit in the middle of the front row, on the left hand side of the middle aisle if it was an auditorium.
Have other tips for students with hearing loss? Share them with us in the comments below and on our Facebook page.