Preparing For Post-Secondary
Preparing for Post-Secondary
Transitioning from High School to Post-Secondary When You Have Hearing Loss
Being a student in post-secondary education is a life-changing experience. You are in charge of your education more than ever before! Post-secondary institutions are very different from high schools and can be overwhelming especially if you have hearing loss. Students with disabilities have additional responsibilities to ensure success in post-secondary. This page is designed to provide you with the tools that will enhance your success in a post-secondary environment. It will guide you through the process of post-secondary applications, audiology, technology, accessibility services, tips for introducing yourself to instructors, better hearing tips in classrooms, sources of funding, and living independently. Also, included on this page you will find personal stories of post-secondary students as well some great tips that you could pass onto employers.
When you decide on the program you would like to enroll in, it is a good practice to find out the deadlines for applications as soon as possible. Each institution and program will vary on their deadline dates. If your post-secondary application asks if you have a disability, check YES. This is your opportunity to ensure you get the most out of your post-secondary education. It opens the door to receiving accommodations / supports for your post-secondary career, ensuring it is available when and if you feel you need them.
To prepare for post-secondary, please ensure:
- You have the most up to date technology for your hearing needs. Arrange an appointment with your current Audiologist at least 3 months before the end of your Grade 12 school year, especially if you are moving away from home. This gives your Audiologist time to transfer your file to a new Audiologist near you.
- Your current Audiologist can provide you with a copy of your most recent Audiogram and your hearing aid / Cochlear Implant settings in case you need to be seen on an emergency basis in the region where you are studying.
Understanding Your Hearing Loss
You may already know know the degree or range of your hearing loss (ie. mild, moderate, severe, profound), but for many, they struggle with explaining their communication needs. Knowing your communication needs will help you and your Audiologist or Itinerant Teacher determine accommodations for you in post-secondary.
The first step to truly understanding your hearing loss is asking your Audiologist to provide you with examples of situations that may be challenging for you and explain strategies that may help in those situations. A common situation, could be when you are trying to have a one-on-one conversation in a group of people who are all talking at the same time. One strategy to helping you hear better could be explaining that you need to move to a quieter area with the other person.
See the below resources for more examples. The more you understand about your hearing loss and your communication needs, the more successful you will be in post-secondary.
Communication is an essential part of human life. It allows us to share information and knowledge. Hearing loss impairs communication. When someone has reduced hearing, their ability to understand speech is usually reduced to some extent, making it important to use everything available to them to improve their ability to follow and understand what is being said. There are three important factors related to improving communication. The characteristics of each can make or break communication.
Communication means feeling connected. When we see what’s being said, we feel part of what’s happening. Lip Reading is a skill that does get better with practice. CHHA-NL offers an a safe, accessible online space to allow you learn how at your own pace. PLUS it’s a lot of fun!
Know Your Technology Needs
Your Audiologist will have the most up-to-date information on technology compatible with your hearing aids or cochlear implants to maximize your listening in classrooms and other situations. Many students use an FM system to block out background noise and understand instructors better. If you haven’t used an FM system in high school, you may need it in post-secondary because of larger classrooms, background noise, accents of instructors, and less visual cues. See section on Money and Funding below to find out how you can obtain an FM system.
Hearing Aids & Cochlear Implant Connectivity
Educational Audiologist, Bernadine Kielley, with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District provides a very informative presentation and discusses various connectivity options in the video below. Your hearing aids or cochlear implants may be able to connect to other devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and classroom devices. While Bernadine covers mostly hearing aid technology, it is noted that Cochlear Implants have very similar capabilities.
If you are not sure if certain accessories will improve your listening for particular situations, check with CHHA-NL office and ask if they have the device you are wondering about in the Hearing Assistive Technology Lending program. If we have the device, it will give you an opportunity to trial it first.
Accessibility and Accommodations
Once you have been accepted into college or university, register with the accessibility services. It is recommended to:
- Contact the accessibility services office at your post-secondary institution at least a month prior to classes for an appointment.
- Bring proof of your hearing loss such as an Audiogram. Colleges and universities may vary on the type of documentation required.
- Ask about the possibility of pre-registering for your courses to allow you to select courses / instructors, view set-up of classrooms, email instructors to prepare them of your accommodations before first day of class.
- Organize your accommodations with your accessibility services team. The level of support may vary from institution to institution. Check with the post-secondary institution for a list of accommodations they offer.
REMEMBER: If you choose not to identify your disability until after you have registered, there is NO GUARANTEE that you will be accommodated in your current semester.
Examples of Accommodations
Post-Secondary institutions may provide some or all of the following accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, such as:
- A substitution of a component of a program, or alternative forms of evaluation (i.e. using written instead of oral evaluation)
- Extended time for examinations
- Quiet room for examinations
- Test clarification with instructor(s)
- Use of assistive technology
- Direct FM plug-in to access classroom audio (from instructor to microphone) – check with the accessibility services office and your classroom(s) to see if technology is available to enable you to plug-in your FM system
- Access to instructor’s lecture slides
- Note taker
- Sign language interpretation
If there are any concerns or issues with instructors with regards to accommodations for your hearing loss, contact the Department Head of your college or university or Accessibility Services. If the issue is not resolved, contact the CHHA-NL Office.
Tips For Your First Day – Introducing Yourself
It is VERY important when introducing yourself to instructors that you provide them with information on your hearing loss and communication needs. Here is an example of what you could say:
“Hi, my name is ___________________. I have hearing loss and I will be a student in your class. I have a moderate to severe loss and trouble hearing high frequency sounds. In order for me to understand you, I have an FM System. It allows me to hear you much better and blocks out background noise. It is not a recording device. Only I hear you through my hearing aids. I would also appreciate it when you are teaching to limit walking around and not cover your face, I lip-read. Other things you can do to help me are _____________________.”
Here are some other suggestions that instructors can do to help you with your communication needs:
- Speak clearly and at a good volume.
- Repeat questions or comments from other students.
- Keep lights on during instruction at all times even if displaying visual media.
- Ensure videos have captions.
Tips to Help You Hear Better in Classrooms/Study Groups
Understanding what everyone is saying in a group or in the classroom can be very challenging and frustrating. Fortunately, there are some solutions you can try. Many people with hearing loss are using speech to text apps found on their smartphone or tablet. It works really well when everyone in the group has the app on their smartphones. We’d love to know your favorite speech-to-text app!
Here are more tips for you
Arrive to your classes early so you can pick your preferred seating for better hearing / visual cues.
Look for a note-taker, or ask the instructor to ask for a volunteer.
Eliminate/reduce background noise, if possible.
Use technology and appropriate programs in your hearing aids / cochlear implants for various classroom activities (ie group discussions).
Place your FM Transmitter next to the TV during videos.
Tell your group / lab partners about your hearing loss, ask them to repeat if needed and any other communication needs.
Money and Funding
Post-secondary education can be really expensive. It is a good idea to look for scholarships to help pay tuition. It can be really overwhelming sorting through all the paperwork and documents required. Be sure to look into ALL scholarships and any documentations that may be required such as an audiogram which provides proof of hearing loss. Please visit our scholarship page for a listing of our CHHA-NL Scholarships.
You can find more scholarships at www.disabilityawards.ca. Also, check with your high school Guidance Counselor for more information about other scholarships that may be available to you.
Newfoundland and Labrador has an integrated federal and provincial
Student Loans Program, where both federal and provincial loans are accessed through a single application. Eligibility for Student Aid depends on a student’s assessed financial need, including parents’ income.
Within the Student Aid financial program, there are also grants available to students with permanent disabilities that do not have to be paid back:
Check out this link for more information: https://www.gov.nl.ca/education/studentaid/full-time-students/assistance-available/
Living On Your Own
Students with hearing loss living away from home have extra responsibilities such as finding a Shake Awake Alarm Clock for getting up in time for classes and fire alert safety. To help you find solutions to living successfully on your own, CHHA-NL has a FREE Provincial Hearing Assistive Technology Lending program and can advise on where to purchase products.
- Telephones Devices: amplified phones, headsets, add-on amplifiers, Bluetooth devices, neckloops.
- Listening Devices: personal listening systems, group listening systems, television listening systems, and professional devices such as amplified stethoscopes.
- Alerting Devices: watches, alarm clocks, smoke detectors, baby monitors, doorbell and telephone alerting systems, paging systems.
You may qualify for the CHHA-NL Fire Alert Program and receive a portable fire alert alarm system for FREE, or at a reduced cost.
Connect With Others
Another tool for Success in Post-Secondary includes taking care of your mental health. Persons with hearing loss are more likely to experience mental health and emotional issues, due to the feeling of being disconnected from others during communication barriers. This is why COVID-19 has been so difficult for many people with hearing loss. Masks prevent the ability to lip-read and “see” what is being said. Young Adults with hearing loss in NL can connect with each other via Facebook – CHHA-NL Young Adult Group (ages 18-39). This is a great way to ask for tips or share tips with other students with hearing loss about post-secondary!
In this video, Shauna talks about her experiences, what she did to prepare, and what it’s REALLY been like for her at University.
Better Hearing At Work For Employers and Employees
Reduced hearing doesn’t have to be a challenge in the workplace. One of the most important keys to improving the listening environment at your workplace is EDUCATION.
Hearing loss affects EVERY workplace whether it be employees, or the clients or customers you interact with.
- Does your staff/team understand hearing loss?
- Do you know about good communication habits to improve hearing for EVERYONE in your workplace?
- Do know know about simple pieces of technology that can make the workplace more hearing accessible?
Click the button below to watch a video that provides tips for employers and for employees with hearing loss. You will also notice additional information related to working during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects communication.
CHHA-NL is here to help and support you. From advocacy to technology, CHHA-NL has lots of information and resources to share with you on your journey through post-secondary. CHHA-NL is another tool in your toolbox!