• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 4:54:41 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Hearing/health issues...  (Read 23830 times)
tweadie
New member
*
Posts: 4


« on: March 09, 2012, 4:03:39 AM »

Hi! I am a long time lurker and could really use some perspective on two issues (worries) that I am struggling with at the moment.

I am a graduate (PhD) student with Meniere's.  Essentially, my balance organ is deteriorating in one ear and this affects my hearing and balance.  I had a very bad period a few months ago and needed to take time (3-4 months) away from my degree because I lost my mobility and was having severe attacks frequently.  It took a few months to find a good specialist and now I am managing the illness. It has stabilised over the past few months, but I am concerned about the prospect of having the illness pop up occasionally over the course of my life.  In all likelihood, this will occur every couple of years for the rest of my life.  I am very scared about the prospect of trying to manage any career, let alone an academic one, with this lurking in the background.  My job prospects are very good in my field, however, there is always the worry that I won't be granted tenure or be discriminated in some way because of this.  I worry that I could lose my job over this.  I also have no idea how upfront I should be with future employers over this issue. I seem to need a carefully managed life: a very low sodium diet, exercise (to strengthen my balance system), and at least 7 hours of sleep a night or I have problems maintaining physical balance. Plus I'm a mom to young kids!

Second issue: teaching.  I love interacting with students! But I am finding it difficult both learning to to teach and learning to teach while adapting to deafness in one ear.  I am hard of hearing now (which is a strange, new reality).  I am co-teaching senior level seminars for two groups of students twice a week.  My university is also providing me with free teacher training.  However well prepared I may be, it does no deal with my new ‘disability’ issue. 

I have no idea whether I should be upfront with the students that I have a hearing loss or how to handle it.  I want to be able to address having this problem and also learn how to be an effective teacher despite it. The students probably don’t notice it, but I do.   For example, I have no directional hearing, so if a student pipes up during a lecture, I have no idea where that person may be sitting.  I cannot clearly hear words if there is any background noise – sounds are too garbled. So, I cannot eavesdrop on my seminar groups because I cannot hear the words clearly.  I want to be a good, effective educator. This is important to me.  Does anyone have any advice on teaching while hard of hearing?  Or there any resources out there that could help me?  Thanks!





Logged
_touchedbyanoodle_
is not worthy of a moniker resurrection.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,081


« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 6:47:34 AM »

I'll send you a PM.
Logged

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." -George Carlin
nme2011
New member
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2012, 10:19:44 AM »

Feel free to send me a PM...I also have a moderate hearing loss in both ears and have had similar challenges. I have been upfront in some situations, but not in others. I do arrange my classroom so that I can better hear, such as having students sit in a circle or not letting students sit in the back of the classroom (when not needed--the classes I teach usually have 20ish students and 40ish desks).
Logged
miss_lynn
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 10:13:27 PM »

Any chance of taking this discussion further here in the forum? I have these issues, too -- a recent hearing loss I need to adjust to, not being able to tell which student spoke when my back was turned, etc. Very frustrating. I'm wondering if I have any future in teaching...
Logged
tweadie
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 8:51:32 AM »

hi  miss_lynn and nme2011 -

I am still trying to figure it out, but am giving myself the time to do so.  Learning to teach is new and so is adapting to my hearing loss in this type of setting.

I would say that people with hearing loss definetely have a future in teaching! I feel strongly about this. We may have challenges to try to work out, but I think it benefits students to have to interact with a variety of people and also the ability to prove to ourselves that we can work this out has value too.  When my hearing loss occured, I instinctively felt I wanted to withdraw from the world.  I felt very self-conscious about it.  Somedays (on bad days) I have to fight that instinct - but mainly, right now, I am at peace with it.  It does make me less social in some situations, but I am still learning to adapt.

I have an appt next week to speak with a campus 'disability advisor' who specialises in hearing impairment issues.  I just thought I would explore what type of equiptment the university has that I can use to aid my teaching.  I can post what I find out if you like?  I have a digital hearing aid - do either of you use this?  It might be expensive depending on insurance and where you live. But, I would highly recommend it.  I still need some help though despite using one.  Feel free to PM me.
Logged
miss_lynn
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 3:05:15 PM »

Thanks, Tweadie. There was an article in the Chronicle a while back by someone who teaches using some kind of amplification software in the classroom (her university considers that "reasonable accomodation.") I remember reading it with interest even though I was not hearing-impaired at the time.

I do have a really nice hearing aid -- it's made a huge difference. I need two, but I'm waiting until I file my taxes to see if I can afford the other one this year. (Insurance does not cover.) Then I might be able to tell where the noises are coming from!

I have another question about whether to wear the hearing aid on an interview, although maybe I should post it somewhere else. (I'm new to the fora.) It's ironic, but if I don't wear it I don't look disabled -- but I am. With it, I am much less disabled, but look more so.
Logged
tweadie
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2012, 8:18:06 AM »

Thanks, Tweadie. There was an article in the Chronicle a while back by someone who teaches using some kind of amplification software in the classroom (her university considers that "reasonable accomodation.") I remember reading it with interest even though I was not hearing-impaired at the time.

I do have a really nice hearing aid -- it's made a huge difference. I need two, but I'm waiting until I file my taxes to see if I can afford the other one this year. (Insurance does not cover.) Then I might be able to tell where the noises are coming from!

I have another question about whether to wear the hearing aid on an interview, although maybe I should post it somewhere else. (I'm new to the fora.) It's ironic, but if I don't wear it I don't look disabled -- but I am. With it, I am much less disabled, but look more so.

I had to laugh when you pointed out the irony in using a hearing aid during an interview.  I have worn mine to interviews out of sheer necessity - especially so I could hear people located on my 'bad' side.  I've never addressed it during an interview...I think that people would be surprised because I am in my 30s that I have a hearing loss.  Ironically, my mother has the same condition to a lesser extent with mod hearing loss.  She's in her 60s and refuses to wear a hearing aid and it drives me crazy! Her coping mechanism: smiling and nodding when she can't hear drives me crazy as well.  That's really why I turned ot the fora because surely there must be a better way than that! I'll post what I found out from the university  - maybe they have a loop system in certain rooms for example.  I will just haave to see.

I really hope you are able to get another hearing aid ...I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Logged
joeboy
New member
*
Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 4:25:40 AM »

I use hearing aid. I do not tell students, there is no need. I also ask that they raise hand before asking questions and that helps you to focus on the particular student.
--
Logged
miss_lynn
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 12:49:19 PM »

Good idea on the hand-raising -- the visual would certainly help. My hearing aid is visible, but you'd have to look closely.
Logged
graygoo
New member
*
Posts: 27


« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 9:08:42 PM »

A bump up because I hope I can offer a different perspective.

I have lived with a unilateral hearing loss since a very young age which grew worse as I got older (early twenties now). My type of hearing loss means I can pass for a "hearing" individual if I don't tell anyone. It also means that in those few scenarios where my hearing is hopeless (background noise, a voice from the "bad" side of the room, a specific frequency of fire alarms...) can be unexpected for those around me and myself. It's also a fact that I hear women better than men.

All of that was to say: As someone who grew up with hearing loss, I have been trained to be a "self-advocate." The idea was drilled into my head even before I knew what the word meant. People constantly forget that I am hard of hearing, but it makes life much easier when I tell them as I'm introduced to them, both on an individual basis or in a group setting. Time has shown me that it is much less embarrassing to get it out of the way early on than to try and introduce it at the point when I'm not hearing someone/thing. Telling people early also makes it stick in their minds when I ask for specific accommodations (the A/C needs to be off during discussion, wait to speak until called on/I'm facing that direction, closed captions on). I've also had varied successes with FM loops and bluetooth connected hearing aids. 
Logged

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool." -Feynman
miss_lynn
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 12:17:18 PM »

Thanks, Graygoo! I do tell people I know/people I'm already working with. I read lips really well, so most people forget. (I forget myself, actually.) I hear men well but have a really hard time with young women -- unfortunately the overwhelming majority of my students are in the latter category.

Still not sure what to do on job interviews, but I guess I'll figure it out as I go along.
Logged
infopri
I guess I'm now a VERY
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 23,568

When all else fails, let us agree to disagree.


« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 6:35:36 PM »

I am not actually hearing-impaired--my ears receive sounds just fine--but my brain has difficulty parsing the sounds, perhaps because of some issues with my Eustachian tubes.  Even so, I have no problem telling people (as needed) that I have trouble hearing, and asking them to repeat what they've said.

This past semester, I taught in a room with loud fans always running, and every seat was filled, so many students sat far from me.  The first time I had trouble hearing a student (and my students in one class tended to mumble, making it even harder for me to parse the words), I announced that I had trouble hearing, especially with the fans, and that they'd have to speak up.  Subsequently, if I couldn't hear, I'd say, "Louder" or "Speak up, please."  The students were fine with it--it wasn't an issue--but they'd forget and I had to remind them often during the semester.

My mother had to have her inner ear surgically removed when she was in her mid-40s, and she too had no problem telling her colleagues and students (and anyone else she encountered) that she couldn't hear well on one side.  She even rearranged where people sat so that they'd be on her good side.  But she had tenure (K-12 system).  I don't (I'm an adjunct), but so far it hasn't been an issue in interviews, because I can usually hear well enough in one-to-one situations.
Logged

People who do not understand numbers should not be allowed to use them for anything. - DvF

MYOB.  Y enseñen bien a sus hijos.
tweadie
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 8:02:57 AM »

Another bump!

Hello! It's been awhile since I posted, but I have some news about modifications that I thought that I would share...how I have handled teaching. Just an fyi and maybe re-start the discussion. I really enjoyed reading about other poster's experiences and comments

My university has helped me to obtain a portable Phonak device that feeds into hearing aid loops.  So, if I got to conferences, I place it near the speaker.  Or if I am presenting, I pass it into the audience to hear their questions. Trying to incorporating it while teaching smaller groups is more challenging - but because  smaller, I feel like I can be more upfront my hearing if I notice that I'm having trouble.

The university also gave me some software that helps me transcribe interviews - if and when I do them. I couldn't find any voice recognition software that was reasonably priced.

if anyone has some questions/comments feel free to share or msg me.



Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.