Talking with Hearing Peers
If you decide to tell your peers about your cochlear implant, the sooner you explain to them how they can help, the less likely you are to have communication breakdowns.
Depending on your level of comfort, you may choose to explain to multiple peers at once how they can most effectively communicate with you. For example, if you are living in a dorm it is likely that you will have a dorm meeting at the beginning of the year. This is a good time to explain your communication and safety needs. Since you are likely to be around your dormmates a lot in your first year, effectively communicating with them will be very important. If this makes you uncomfortable, you should seek out your peers to explain individually or in groups of two or three.
As a student with cochlear implants, you have explained to numerous peers over the years what a cochlear implant is and how it helps you hear. Your peers may have various levels of knowledge and interest in the workings of a cochlear implant. We provide diagrams in the Resources section that you can share with interested peers.
The most important information to your peers will be the best ways to communicate with you. Here’s a list of suggestions you can share with your peers – you should pick the ones that work best for you.
You should establish strong two-way communication with your peers so that they are comfortable asking you for suggestions on how to improve communication and you’re comfortable telling them when you’re unable to hear and understand them. You should also suggest your preferred communication methods, such as instant messaging, texting, and e-mail.