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Physics Hard of Hearing or Deaf Physics ?

  1. May 31, 2009 #1
    Hello all, I'm new here to the forum. My name is Chris and my one "burning" question is that do you think that being hard of hearing will be a major obstacle for me to pursue in this field for a career? I know that the military still refuse to hire any of us but I'm wondering in the other field will it might pose a problem?

    I'm considering being physics major with maybe a math concentration because I loved taking these classes in high school and now I'm 26 years old. I'm probably in the late stage of entering this field but I do have a passion for this field of study. Anyway, hope you can answer my question soon if its worth pursuing this academic study.
     
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  3. May 31, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Probably a field where it matters least!
    Back in my day, many years ago - before Powerpoint - the dept used to pay for students to transcribe lectures for hard of hearing.
    Now that all the lecture notes are generally available on computer you can concentrate on 'listening' to the lecturer - assuming you lip read or can hear partly.

    In my experience colleges and staff will do all they can to help disabled students.
     
  4. May 31, 2009 #3

    Choppy

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    The biggest obstacle I could see would be attending lectures and labs where a lot of information is given orally. However, I understand many universities have services for persons with disabilities such as note-takers who would be able to assist you with this. I think the biggest problem there is that the note-takers are often volunteers and may not have a background in physics (and therefore have problems writing out a lot of physics short-hand). In general, I suspect this would essentially be an inconvenience rather than a true obstacle, so long as you are sufficiently motivated.
     
  5. May 31, 2009 #4
    Yes, I have been in and out of college for six years in various majors. I know that many colleges or university does provide help to disabled students as its the law. That isn't really what I think will be a challenge for me at school but having a career in this field.

    Also, I've been reading this forum around without looking into much statistics in the last couple hours... it seems like its better to be a peng instead of just a BS in Physics?
     
  6. May 31, 2009 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    You might want to contact Ian Shipsey at Purdue. He was profoundly deaf and can perhaps offer you an insider's view. I should warn you that he is a controversial figure in the deaf community, as he has a cochlear implant and has been rather positive towards them.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2009 #6

    Moonbear

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    By law, universities must provide you with reasonable accommodation for any disability you might have that could interfere with your learning. You will need to take it upon yourself to talk to the right people at the university to obtain this, and ensure all your professors know, but they will have to offer such a service to you, such as someone to transcribe lecture notes.
     
  8. Jun 8, 2009 #7
    I understand that MoonBear.. my question had to do once I get a degree... Will many jobs will be reluctant to hire me because of this small D.A.?
     
  9. Jun 8, 2009 #8

    symbolipoint

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    Fuzzy Static , plenty of people employed in scientific and engineering positions are hard-of-hearing. Enough college and university Math/sci/physics/engineering faculty are also hard-of-hearing that many or most will understand and can help students in the efforts to instruct and communicate. Accommodating hearing deficits should be fairly easy both in education and in employment. Speaking louder, visual signaling, clearly written & easily seen labeling, not speaking while standing in the way of display board text & symbolism and ones back is facing the audience. Many ways to help in communication. Also, when hearing ability is important for auditory warnings and indicators, working with a well-hearing partner should be a reasonable arrangment ( do not work alone in a laboratory ).
     
  10. Jun 12, 2009 #9

    Moonbear

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    Again, that would be illegal. But, consider this...many of the faculty at universities, just through the natural aging process, have hearing deficits. They are still fully productive, they just need hearing aids, though I've realized that my own voice seems to be at a pitch that those with aging related hearing loss have difficulty hearing even with a hearing aid. :rolleyes: I just have to remember to speak a bit louder and try to adjust the pitch of my voice a bit lower when speaking to those people.

    Regarding symbolipoint's comments about auditory warning signals, that's actually not a big issue. Equipment can easily be made to flash warning lights along with auditory signals.

    I've never encountered anyone in science who was hindered by a hearing disability. The person I've met with the greatest difficulty due to a disability was someone with a severe stutter that made it difficult for her to give oral presentations. I've even worked with a student with MS, and the only two accommodations we needed to do for her were to provide a couch where she could lie down when she got over-tired (the other grad students loved her for this, since they could use it for naps too), and when her experiments required working with radioactive materials, someone else had to do those for her...generally just a technician...because her tremor would make it unsafe for her to work with those materials. She still decided what to do and how to do it, just had someone else be her hands for those experiments.
     
  11. Jun 15, 2009 #10
    At most institutions that I know of, student "note-takers" are assigned students that are concurrently taking the class... so their qualifications on subject content should be good. Generally, it's also seen that cooperative learning experiences (in many forms.. from working on homework together, discussing lectures) help students master subject content... so in your case, you'd have good excuses to set up these experiences. Most physics and math departments are small, so you'll probably from a good connection with the other students and have no problems.

    Also: you'd be surprised how willing people are to work with you in your department -- and not just via legal obligation. While some people might be uncomfortable around disabled people... there are a number of us out there that have lots of experience and connection with at least one disabled individual. When I was a child, my church had seminarian (priest in training) who was mostly deaf. On the academic front: one of our former graduate students was employed as an undergraduate student as an aid to a physically disabled faculty member (taking care of personal needs as well as helping out in the classroom with demonstrations, AV equipment, etc.). Closer to home: my stepson has very involved CP -- so my husband and I, both faculty members, are particularly sensitive to the rights and issues of the disabled... even though our son will not ever attend college level due to both interest (he' much rather just ride the bus!) and functional abilities (such as literacy).

    Of course it depends on your willingness to "throw yourself out there" as well as the severity of your condition. You might prefer to keep your disability private, which is certainly your right and an understandable position. In our case, there's no keeping our son's condition (with his bulky electric chair and tendency to go on and on about buses) private unless we hid him away... which wouldn't be our style especially given his social nature.

    I'd discuss these things as you look into which institution to attend. Set up private meetings with both admissions and with the departments (get meetings with faculty as well as department chairs). Trust your instincts on their attitudes when making your decision... as well as considering their other strengths (as a research opportunities, etc.).

    Lastly, I'll make a note on your statement regarding later employ in the military. While there might be restrictions on enlistment, you should still be able to hold a civilian position in say, a military lab. I worked in the Air Force Research Labs as a civilian, and I'd say at least 1/2 to 3/4 of the researchers in the lab were civil servants... not enlisted military.
     
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