Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again- Orchestra

Every year (okay, well I just started doing it last year, so for the past two years) I have written all of my teachers an email letting them know a little bit about myself, my hearing loss, and my implants so that they're not completely clueless on the first day. This year I wrote three different emails- one for orchestra, one for my core classes, and I'm going to write one for French soon. I am going to post these in case anyone wanted an idea of what I write, or if you wanted to write a similar letter yourself. So here is the letter I wrote to my Orchestra teacher.

**Some information is **ed out because it is private and/or irrelevant.

Hi Mr. ******,
My name Is L**** M**** and I'm going to be in your first period Orchestra class. I know you have taught me a few times at ***[my middle school], but I just wanted to let you know some things about me to make the year run a little more smoothly. I wear devices called cochlear implants in each ear, and without them on I am profoundly deaf. Rather than having thousands of little hair cell to hear all the different frequencies, I hear an array of 22 electrodes implanted inside of my head. With my implants on, I can hear most sounds, but they sound different to me than they would to someone with natural hearing. Because of this, it can be hard for me to tune my violin, and I may not always hear the more subtle differences in pitch when playing (or listening) to music. I am hoping this will not pose much of a problem, but if it does I will let you know you know and maybe we can figure out a time outside of class for you to help me with whatever I am having difficulty with. My hearing loss has not posed many issues in the past, so, again, I hope it is not too big of a deal in orchestra.

When you speak to me or the class, make sure you speak in a steady and somewhat loud voice so that I can understand you. I also read lips, so I need an unobstructed view of your face and mouth when you are talking. To help me hear a little bit better, I also use a device called an FM system. It's fairly easy to use, and you basically just have to hang the microphone around your neck. I don't know if you have used this type of FM before, but if not I would be more than happy to come by **** [my high school] today or Friday to explain everything. It shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, but it can be pretty hectic on the first day (as I'm sure you know!) and it would be easier for me to show you how to use it ahead of time, if that's possible.

The last I wanted to let you know is that if we ever watch some kind of video in class with important information, it must be captioned for me to understand what is being said. If it does not have captions, I will need you to give me a copy of notes with any information in the video that I need to know.

Thank you, and please let me know if you would like me to come explain the FM!

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