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Hearing Identity

Going to college gives students freedom to explore new ideas, opportunities, and lifestyles. For some students with cochlear implants this period of exploration may include developing a new hearing identity. To varying degrees, students with cochlear implants may choose to identify with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, disclose and discuss their cochlear implants, and acknowledge their need for accommodations.

However, we suggest you develop an understanding of your hearing strengths and challenges, and self-advocacy skills to request accommodations, whether from the college or in daily interactions, to ensure you maximize your college experience. Self-advocacy skills will help you succeed academically, socially, and in your future.

Based on your assessment of your listening strengths, it may be advantageous to disclose your use of cochlear implants to peers, faculty, and administrators. As a college student it is your choice and responsibility to disclose your cochlear implant use and hearing challenges to the Office of Disability Services if you wish to receive accommodations. Doing so prevents academic and social difficulties and maximizes the opportunities available to you in college.