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While cochlear implants significantly improve your hearing, explaining to your peers how they can effectively communicate with you can build stronger relationships. But, it’s up to you how much you want to share with your friends, dormmates, classmates, and acquaintances about your cochlear implants. It’s also up to you to decide to whom and how often you want to talk about your cochlear implants and with whom you want to be friends.

For example, when Katie left for college, she wants to be completely independent and not defined by her use of cochlear implants. Upon arriving at school, the only peer she tells about her cochlear implants is her roommate since she sees Katie taking her cochlear implants off, performing maintenance tasks, and putting them on.

However, during the first couple days of school, Katie finds herself overwhelmed whenever she hangs out with peers. The environments are often loud and she finds herself missing chunks of conversation. Katie’s peers don’t understand why she seems to react unusually during certain conversations.

After these first couple of rough days, Katie decides she needs to change her approach to create strong relationships and build friendships. She informs her dormmates at the next hall meeting that she has cochlear implants and gives them a few tips to help her hear better in social situations. While Katie does not always preface her conversations with the fact that she has cochlear implants, she does tell those peers that she feels she had a connection with about her cochlear implants.