November 29, 2016

Requesting Accommodations Crucial for Lawyers With Hearing Deficit

The Hon. Rick Brown

I lost the hearing in my right ear due to measles when I was 5 years old. But I could hear perfectly well (in my opinion) until the last semester of college. I experienced a "rushing" sensation in my left ear, followed by a slight hearing loss. I had a few more such episodes, each of them resulting in a little more loss. In law school, I realized that I could not hear many of my classmates during the Socratic give-and-take. But I was in denial and refused to consider a hearing aid. Friends noticed gaps in my note taking. That was all it took. I purchased my first hearing aid as a 1L. I had never worn glasses full time then. But when the audiologist told me that a Bi-cros aid would work best for me and that the Bi-cros was best utilized by fitting them to glasses, I started wearing them all the time. And I made a point of sitting in the first row to make sure I could hear the professor. I guess these were my first two "accommodations" although they were self-provided. The hearing aids allowed me to hear my classmates and to follow the dialogue. There were no more gaps in my notes.

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