Moving to uni can be a stressful experience – take it from someone who forgot their uni login on day 2! It can be a little more stressful for someone hard of hearing like myself though. You not only have the standard things you can mess up or forget, but a whole range of other things that can go wrong too. Well, I’m here to give you a bit of a field guide to help you survive fresher’s week with your hearing aid intact!
Always remember - safety first. If you’re living in halls, inform the staff of your hearing loss in case of fire alarms, etc. Few places on earth get a false fire alarm as often as university halls, but to be fair, put hundreds of people who often haven’t really cooked for themselves before in one building and you can see why!
If you’re moving away from home at all, halls or otherwise, make sure you know where your next batteries are coming from. Either do some research to find your nearest stockist, or update the address for your online subscription if you have one (you should! It’ll save you a lot of pointless walking to shops if you don’t have a car.)
Another pretty good early step is to tell your lecturers about your hearing loss at the start of the semester. Chances are, the uni will have told them, but it’s best to put a face to the name and check that the information has definitely gotten to them. Make sure you don’t miss things at your early lectures! They’re sometimes surprisingly important…Then there’s the standard advice that’s good anywhere. Keep spare hearing aid batteries in your bag. You don’t want to run out of power mid lecture, group session or conversation with that cute girl / guy at the Student’s Union bar.
Student services. They’re designed to help you out but you’d be surprised how many people ignore them. Like myself for example. My uni had a fair few helpful things for hard of hearing students like me available, I just hadn’t gone and asked about them! Well worth a quick detour if you’re on campus anyway.
Finally, find out if there’s a deaf society at your university you can join. Lots of universities have them, and it’s incredibly useful to have people you know in the area with similar challenges. If there isn’t one, try starting your own! Not only is it useful to have a community around you, creating stuff like this on your own initiative looks great on a CV in your final year…Whatever you choose to do, whichever pieces of advice you choose to take (if any!), uni is a great experience and you’re just getting started. Enjoy it!