Communicating with the hard of hearing

One girl’s story on making it to her dream school.
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 2:54 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - A hard of hearing student at Bay College has had her fair share of obstacles to overcome. Now, she’s Washington D.C. bound for her bachelor’s degree.

“In high school, it was harder because I didn’t know how to explain that if I miss something it’s because I have hearing loss,” said Olivia Anderson, a student at Bay College.

Anderson started wearing hearing aids in kindergarten. She was in speech therapy from two and a half years old until her senior year of high school.

“I hated, I hated going to speech therapy. But I realize now that helped me so much,” said Anderson.

Growing up she learned to read lips and it’s still a skill she uses at Bay College. She didn’t learn American Sign Language (ASL) until she was in high school. But in classrooms, Anderson uses a device called an FM.

“It’s a device that the teacher can wear around his neck,” said Anderson.

The FM amplifies what the professor says into Anderson’s hearing aids. She also uses a CART, which provides live captioning on what the professor is saying.

Since she heard of the school, it’s been Anderson’s dream to attend Gallaudet University – the only university in the world where students learn in English and ASL.

“When I found out I got in I was really excited, I was telling everyone,” said Anderson.

She’ll be making the move to Washington D.C. to attend Gallaudet in the fall and pursue a Deaf education degree.

Anderson encourages people to have patience when communicating with people with hearing loss.

“I’ve been working with outside people who don’t know why of hearing loss and they get frustrated, mad at me easily. But we are trying to listen,” said Anderson.

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