I have been hearing impaired since birth and need hearing aids in both my ears. Although hearing aids are very useful, they still can’t pick up everything and it’s a daily struggle. I don’t like being in situations in which there are big groups or there is a lot of background noise and I usually try to avoid them, because I can’t distinguish individual voices, like a normal hearing person could. I always use and need subtitles whether it’s for a movie, YouTube video or lecture video. I used to always hate my disability but through time I have learned that this is what makes me unique and different, but I still have a long way to go to fully accept my hearing impairment.
My top tips
If you know someone that is hearing impaired, tips I could give you from my past experiences are to not laugh if they have just repeated something that someone else just said, as well as if you ask them a question and their reply doesn’t fit. Another tip is to speak directly to them and don’t turn your back on them when speaking. Lastly, when you’re trying to attract a hearing person’s attention and they don’t respond, its usually not because they are ignoring you, it’s because they can’t hear you, so the best thing to do in that situation is to actually go up to the person and tap them the shoulder to let them know you’re there.
Just because a person is hearing impaired doesn’t mean that they can lip read or sign. It does however help if you can see the person’s face and mouth when spoken to because in my experience even though I can’t really lip read I still need to see a person facial expressions as well as mouth movement to help understand and get the jist and mood of what’s being said.
The Accessibility & Inclusion services have been very helpful and understanding of my disability. They have been very kind, inclusive and made me feel like I can still, even with a hearing impairment, tackle my studies, just like everyone else. They have offered me many useful services such as a person helping me take notes during my lectures, and certain apps to help with my studies and much, much more. You can really go to them for any problem you feel you may need help with, and they will always try to understand and offer their services.
The Accessibility and Inclusion Service offers a range of support for deaf and hearing-impaired students, including BSL interpretation, help for taking notes in lectures, assistive technology and more. If you are deaf or hearing-impaired and would like support, please contact the Student Hub.
Are you a hearing person, unsure how to talk to deaf or hearing-impaired students on your course? Check out these short videos made by young deaf people: Look, smile, chat – Films ⋆ The Buzz