About 15 years ago I was going through some college classes. I was upfront then about my hearing loss and most teachers would work with me. For instance I sat up front in my classes and they would answer questions after class for me. For the speech class I was excused from writing a critique if I couldn’t understand the person.
I went a few years and then I got the teacher from hell. He had a thick accent from where I don’t know. I could not understand what he said most of the time. Meeting him before the class I told him I had a hard time understanding him due to his accent and my hearing loss. He told me, “You have an accent to me.” During that first class I knew I would have problems. Once he asked the class if anyone had used a microscope. I could not get the word ‘microscope’ so I did not raise my hand like everyone else in the class. He made fun of me. He also showed a video that would be on the test but it was a video without captions. Without captions I am lost I explained to him. He shrugged his shoulders and turned around.
I went to the disability office at the college and pleaded for help. They said they would find me a note taker. I suffered another week in the class with no help, not understanding a thing and fearing failure. I dropped the class and stopped going to classes all together. A week after I dropped the class the disability services called to tell me they found a note taker. Too late I informed them.
This week, some 15 years later I am signing up for college classes again. The first place I visited was the disabilities services center. A deaf lady was my counselor and I felt a little more at ease. She assured me if I had problems with any teacher like that I should come straight to their office and let them know. I feel like I have back up.
Now the question is what can I do with my life as an individual with hearing loss? My hearing continues to fail and I will eventually be deaf. Right now I know some sign but am not fluent as I have no one to practice with. I’m not accepted into the deaf community by far.
I took a career path test and it suggested a few things I am thinking over. It listed as my top 10 occupations:
- photographer (photography is a hobby of mine since I was a kid)
- artist (I like but does it require college classes?)
- paralegal (not the slightest interest)
- advertising account manager (no interest for me)
- reporter (includes talking to people, is that doable for me?)
- librarian (love, love, love books)
- social worker (if it involves signing I could be)
- translator (out of the question because I don’t hear well enough)
- speech pathologist (same as above)
- technical writer (unappealing to me)
Hearing loss defines who I am and what I do. Maybe I shouldn’t let it but I can’t help it. I want the easiest possible path when I do lose my hearing all together. I’m not much of a fighter really, more of a lover. If I’m fighting against the grain too much I lose heart.
So I have to think about what I want to do now. I was trying to register for spring semester but I may be too late. I’m waiting for a student number, old transcripts so I know where to start and the dates are closing in on me. I would like to go back to college but it may have to wait until summer or fall. I’ll do well as long as teachers work with me and most will. I know the others are out there and I’m sure I’ll run into a nasty teacher again.