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Teens with hearing loss: Tips for sleepovers and roommates

college with hearing loss

Growing up, I had my fair share of sleepovers with friends.

This pretty much always meant my friends were either going to a) mess with my hearing aids or b) talk to me right after I took my hearing aids out.

A lot of other scenarios popped into my mind whenever I was at a sleepover. What if there was an emergency? Maybe I didn’t turn off my hearing aid and the feedback was annoying everyone?! 

Even though those problems may never happen, it’s helpful to set boundaries and rules when you have a hearing roommate. 

Here are some ways you can minimize issues, both on your side and roommate’s side:

1. Let everyone know NOT to touch your hearing aids

This may seem like a given, but sometimes people may not understand how important it is for them to keep their hands off of your hearing aids.

Unless you’re okay with friends handling your hearing aids, firmly tell your friends that your hearing aids are off-limits. (Once my friend opened up the battery chamber and the battery fell out. I had to replace it because we couldn’t find it!)

And for college students, if for some reason your roommate is having a party/get together in your room while you’re asleep, put your hearing aids out of sight. 

2. Volume rules

I usually watch YouTube videos on my phone before bed, with earbuds in. If you do this as well, invite roommates to tell you if your volume is too loud.

On the other side, if your roommate has their volume up to the point of where it’s disturbing your sleep, tell them. Even if you think they won’t take you seriously because of your hearing loss.

3. Talking when you don’t have your hearing aids on

Even though it seems obvious, people constantly forget that I can’t respond to them when I don’t have my hearing aids in.

Depending on your preferences, you can tell roommates not to try and talk to you once you’ve taken your hearing aids out, or let them know that if they do try and talk to you, they’ll have to wait for you to put your hearing aids back in first.

I’m usually impatient, so I go with the first option, mostly because if I don’t, what ends up happening is someone urgently asking me to put my hearing aids on, only to ask if I’m going to bed. While I’m in the bed.

4. Emergencies 

This would most likely apply to college roommates. Most dorm rooms are outfitted or can be outfitted with a visual fire alarm. Other emergencies may not have an alarm associated with it.

Read more: 7 Night-Time Necessities for those with Hearing Loss

It’s best to set up a plan with your friends if such event happens. Consider learning basic signs if you do not know them already. That way, you and your friend have an easy way to communicate if an emergency happens, and you don’t have to waste time putting your hearing aids in.

5. Double check if your hearing aids are off

If you’re not forgetful like me, then don’t worry. But I’m constantly forgetting to completely turn my hearing aids off. If this is you, either double check before bed every night or take the battery completely out.

People who don’t know what hearing aid feedback is won’t know what that sound is if you forget to turn them off- I hate the noise myself, so try and spare your roommates!

That’s it from me! If you have any stories about sleepovers or sharing rooms while deaf, please let me know in the comments!

Author Details
I’m Daysia, and I’m 17 years old. I have profound bilateral hearing loss and I wear Phonak Bolero Q50-P hearing aids in both ears. I am pursuing a career in rehabilitative engineering.