Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Hearing Loss

According to the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), approximately 77,000 students between ages 3 and 21 have hearing loss severe enough to qualify them for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Consequently, public schoolchildren with disabilities have the right to special accommodations in elementary through secondary school. Sometimes this results in creating an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. But what happens after high school?

Hearing loss shouldn’t stand in the way of higher education

Picking among colleges may feel like a daunting task. So if you have aspirations for a degree, remember that you have options. To start, most colleges have departments that help students with needs design solutions. This may be similar to the IEP services you received in high school. If you are returning to college as a non-traditional aged student, it may surprise you how much easier it is to access help today. Remember, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public colleges and universities to offer equal access to all students. While support mechanisms may differ from one school to another, hearing loss should not impede getting an education.

Finding the right fit for students with hearing loss

Colleges and universities must provide appropriate academic adjustments to make sure students are not discriminated against based on disability. However, many programs go beyond that help students to get the most out of their learning experiences. And this includes hearing loss.

Prospective students have to face many choices. Is a large university or a small liberal arts college what you want? Or maybe an urban environment seems like a better fit. Perhaps an enclosed campus feels more at home. In addition, if you have hearing loss, maybe you prefer schools with exceptional accommodations for your needs.

While it may be hard to know where to start, here are a few programs. Most of these schools are especially relevant for students with severe or profound hearing loss:

Pursuing hearing-related research and education

Is audiology your passion? Maybe you want to consider a path researching audiology and hearing loss. Across the country, schools offer programs to train tomorrow’s audiologist. One resource is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s online directory of higher educational programs in audiology. Most noteworthy, prospective students may apply for scholarships to study audiology.

A few colleges also offer future educators tailored programs for working in deaf education, including a collaboration between Smith College and the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. In addition, there is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Center on Deafness. They published a guide for service providers with information that potential students and families might find useful.

Fall is peak season for applying

Most of all, if you are considering programs that start next year, now’s the time to get your ducks in a row. Our staff can discuss the latest in communication-focused technology. Even more, we can advise how to integrate hearing aids in certain learning environments. Finally, contact Smithtown Sayville Hearing Services at (631) 993-4719 today to set up an appointment.

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Working Out with Hearing Aids

When you head out to the gym, you might think it’s a good idea to leave your hearing aids at home. You’d be wrong. With advances in modern technology, and tons of cool gadgets available, there is no reason to leave your hearing aids at home.

Here’s why:

If your hearing loss is profound, you will have balance issues if you don’t use your hearing aids.

This will make using a treadmill or other equipment not only hard, but potentially dangerous.

The extra moisture from sweat might seem like a problem, but it’s not.

Today’s hearing aids are fairly well moisture proof. A little extra sweat isn’t anything that will affect them. But, if it worries you, invest in a dehumidifier and use it post-workout. (In a pinch, you could throw them in a bag of long grain rice)

Worried about losing them mid-workout? Not a problem.

These days there are tons of products that help keep your hearing aids in place while you are working out. From headbands to tape there are tons of options that will keep them right where they need to be.  

If you don’t wear them, how are you going to hear your trainer, or emergency messages?

If you work with a trainer, you aren’t going to hear all of their instructions if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids. If you don’t work with a trainer, and there is an emergency situation, you might miss hearing important info for your safety.

Really, we believe there are not very many reasons to leave your hearing aids at home.

Hearing aids are designed to improve your life, not make it more difficult. Twenty years ago, leaving your hearing aids at home might have made sense, but these days it’s not necessary at all.

If you need tips on working out with hearing aids, stop in and chat us up.

We can help you determine what will work best for you.

We can’t wait to help you gain a better hearing lifestyle. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are committed to better hearing and committed to you! Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment.

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Holiday Party Tips For People with Hearing Loss

The Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and reconnecting with family and friends. But when you suffer from hearing loss, it sometimes just feels a little stressful.  

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you are prepared with these tips, you’ll have a great time without feeling overwhelmed or isolated.

Tip #1 – Wear Your Hearing Aids.

This seems like a no-brainer to us. You were a smart cookie, and purchased hearing aids so you could hear better, so use them!

Make sure they are charged, and/or charge up an extra set of batteries to make sure you are ready when it’s party time.

Tip #2 – Don’t Sit By the Kitchen.

Or anywhere else that is particularly bustling or noisy. If you find a quieter spot to plant yourself, we promise you will have a better time.

You will be able to converse with your friends and family in an environment that is suited to your needs, rather than trying to struggle to hear over a bunch of background noise.

Tip #3 – If You Don’t Hear, Ask Them To Repeat, or Restate.

Repeating isn’t always helpful when you didn’t hear what someone said. Restating usually works better. Or if you heard a part of it, tell them what you heard so they can help you understand all of it. People aren’t annoyed – they want to have a nice conversation with you!

Tip #4 – If You’ve Got Technological Help – Use It!

You bought those gadgets for a reason, use them! Whether it’s a device that captions the conversation, or just something that helps tune out background noise, you should definitely use it.

If you follow these tips, you are sure to enjoy all the Holiday parties on your list.  

We want you to hear at your best, and we are here to help you determine what your best options are.

If you aren’t hearing like you used to, come in and see us.

We can help you determine what your best options are to combat it.

We can’t wait to help you gain a better hearing lifestyle. Here at Smithtown Hearing Services we are committed to better hearing and committed to you! Contact us today to schedule a FREE assessment.

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Preparing for holiday gatherings with hearing loss

Whether you are preparing to host an event this coming holiday season or are attending an impromptu gathering of friends, this is an important time to catch up with loved ones. But what if hearing loss poses a challenge for communicating?

When people gather it can be noisy. Especially if many people are speaking at the same time. Add in holiday music, restaurant chatter or a football game on in the background, and even people with excellent hearing may have trouble understanding a conversation with someone standing next to them.

If you follow these tips, it may be easier to catch up with loved ones and enjoy their company.

Pick a good place to hear at holiday events

Whether you are in a home or a restaurant, try to position yourself in a space with less background noise. Follow these tips:

  • Flooring and walls – Carpeting, tablecloths and drapery help to absorb noise.
  • Pick the right room – In a home, try to avoid the kitchen or areas near the TV. If you are in a restaurant, ask for a seat away from the kitchen or bar.
  • Avoid the amplifiers – Although you can’t always get away from blaring music, try to be as far from speakers as possible. Corners or booths can provide some relief.
  • Try for 1:1 conversations – If you really want to catch every word, there is nothing wrong with finding a quieter spot in the hallway, or even outside for one-on-one conversations.

Arrive early to choose the best seat in the house

When choosing your seat, try to be where you can see people’s faces – that way you can pick up on facial cues. Try to sit where there is good lighting. If one ear is stronger than the other, offer the person you wish to speak to the seat on your strong side. You can also ask a relative or friend to help you fill in the gaps if you miss part of the conversation.

Don’t be shy about your hearing loss this holiday season

In noisy situations there is no reason to hide your hearing loss. While it may be easier to pretend that you can hear, nodding along with the others, this is not fair to you (or to the person speaking). If you feel you missed out, there is nothing wrong with asking for a recap afterward.

You can also let people know you are missing some of the conversation with simple visual cues like placing your hand to your ear. This won’t disrupt the flow of conversations but will signal to the speaker to speak up or slow down.

Sometimes a simple reminder for relatives to speak slower works wonders.

Noticed changes in your hearing? There’s still time to get help

Although planning may be underway, the holiday season is still a few weeks away. If you are worried about hearing at Thanksgiving, holiday parties or other gatherings, there’s time to have a no-obligation hearing assessment* to see if hearing aids are an option for you. A hearing specialist can also give you tips on communicating with loved ones. If you are concerned about a loved one’s hearing, offer to bring them for an appointment. We encourage caregivers, friends and family to join our patients for the first appointment.

Let your hearing aids help you

Sometimes the most obvious strategy is the best solution. If you have hearing aids, wear them. Plus, if you forget them and have trouble following along, it may frustrate your family. The newest hearing aids have technical advancements designed for complex hearing environments, where noise is coming from multiple sources. Newer devices make it easier to hear what you want to hear, even in the situations with multiple people speaking.

For best results, try various settings in advance to see which works best for you in noisy environments. If this isn’t enough, you may also want to consider the extra help of a discreet clip-on microphone. If you would like help with your hearing aids’ settings or perhaps reprogramming them, stop in.

It’s your holiday too, so enjoy it!

If you have new hearing aids, go easy on yourself. Take short breaks to give your brain a rest and re-energize when you feel fatigue setting in. If conversation at the table is challenging, focus on the people nearest you. If a group is too noisy or fast-paced, try a smaller and quieter group to join. Social events are for your enjoyment – not a test of your stamina.

Don’t let hearing loss keep you from enjoying the people and things you love. Locate your closest hearing professional and make an appointment with Smithtown Sayville Hearing Services.

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