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Tools for Students with Hearing Impairments

Colleges and universities today generally have assistive technology centers where hearing-impaired learners may find the necessary equipment and resources to aid them in their college career. This is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act which require college campuses offer learning facilities accessible to all students, regardless of ability, and provide devices to accommodate students with various disabilities. However, quality and availability of these services and resources are not the same from school to school, and are something to be considered during the college selection process. While making your college selections, figure out what campus services are offered that will benefit you. Do they have dedicated personnel? What the is the process of requesting accommodations? What other resources are available, and what percentage of students at the school also have a hearing impairment?

Upon acceptance, if not before, meet with someone from the college’s office of disability services, or equivalent.  Not only will you build relationships with staff on campus who can help advocate for you and other students with hearing impairments, but you can make sure you are taking full advantage of what the school can offer in terms of assistance. Generally, the office will also handle official communication with professors regarding necessary accommodations for you to help ensure that such accommodations are provided and honored. Make sure you know the timelines necessary for any technology or other accommodations you request, as many times there is some bureaucracy and time involved in getting everything set up for you.

You should speak to your professors at the beginning of a new semester or quarter. This allows you not only to share your needs but also for the professors to ask any questions s/he might have.  Should you find a professor who is unwilling to provide necessary accommodations, contact your office of disability services immediately.