Participating in school activities with hearing loss

Taking part in a school club or extra-curricular activity is a great way to spend time with friends, stay active and blow off steam in between exams and boring classes. When you have a hearing loss, it can be intimidating to join in, whether you’re afraid of holding back the team or embarrassed to speak in front of a crowd. While those voices inside can be persuasive, that doesn’t make them true. Here are some tips to start saying yes and find an activity you love.

Erase the tension

The hardest part is often expressing interest. Hearing loss can come with some specific requirements and its natural to feel uncomfortable about standing out from the crowd. But there’s no need to be embarrassed – everyone is dealing with their own particular needs and having the conversation doesn’t need to be difficult. The key is to outline any concerns or requirements so you can join in hassle-free. For example, if you want to join the swimming carnival, ask if there’s a way to signal you visually instead of using a whistle. If you’re interested in performance, like drama club or music, ask if there are any programs in place for people with hearing loss.

Never be too prepared

Physical activities, like sports or performance classes, require preparation. Muscles need to be stretched, bodies hydrated, vocal exercises sung. Just think of any hearing-related preparation as part of the routine. This may involve protecting hearing devices by wearing a water/sweatproof headband, going over specifics with a friend or teacher, or checking equipment so that you can join in with confidence. 

Give yourself a break

At the end of the day, remember that the important part is to have fun. Hearing loss should never be a limitation to doing something you love. If you don’t catch a point someone makes in debate club, just stay calm and politely ask them to repeat it. Or if you miss the whistle in netball, just laugh it off and let the coach know. Hearing loss is a part of everyday life, so as long as you’re managing it effectively, there’s no limit to what you can do.

If you’d like more information about getting through your high school years, we’re always happy to chat.