Finding Your Support Network

Although you will be in the “driver’s seat” at college or university, you are not alone. Each student’s support network will be differentThis can include, but is not limited to family, friends (both old and new as well as those who are going to post-secondary and those who have decided to work), counselors, people from hearing loss support groups, and anyone else who offers a positive balance in daily life. There are support services to help you with transition plans, audiology needs, and peer support, along with academic and communication access needs. We are all here to support your success!

Supports and services on campus

There are various services available on campus for different areas of your well-being:

  • Academic Advising Office is available to assist students regarding their academic questions. For example, if a student is unsure which courses to take in order to obtain a specific degree or prerequisites for a specific program, they would make an appointment at the Academic Advising Office. 
  • Financial Aid Office – The school may have grants, bursaries, and scholarships that students can apply for in order to lessen the financial burden of post-secondary expenses. The cost of each course, textbooks, meals, housing, transportation, and other school supplies can add up. As a result, some students might have thought about applying for a student loan to assist with these anticipated costs.
    • Students planning to apply for a student loan should ensure they have all the required documentation (Refer to Module 6 Financial Planning)
  • Counselling Services – provides personal support with such things as anxiety, assertiveness, educational performance, decision-making and problem solving and other personal, educational and career goals. 
  • Learning Commons – provides academic resources, writer’s workshop, 1:1 tutoring.
  • Student Union – is a hub of countless clubs and social networking opportunities.
  • Wellness Centre – professional support to deal with depression, anxiety, and stress.

While you may consciously feel that you have all the support available in your journey through post-secondary education, there may times that you feel a little bit alone. After all, the majority of the people around you don’t always have a full understanding on the additional challenges you face in accessing information or communicating in noisy environments. If you happen to know other Deaf and Hard of Hearing peers on campus, count your lucky stars! This is not always the case. It is in our nature to feel a sense of warmth being with someone who truly gets it, even if for just a moment.

Tip: Let your Accessibility Advisor know that you would like to connect with another Deaf and Hard of Hearing person also studying on campus. The first response you might get is a “no” due to the privacy policy the advisor must follow, but don’t let that stop you!

Ask if the advisor can organize a networking event specifically for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and send a campus-wide email. Chances are some will just show up and you would have succeeded in forming that vital connection.

Community Resources

Your new Audiologist will most likely be at a private hearing clinic instead of the public health unit (exceptions are those who have cochlear implants). This often means that there will be costs associated with audiology visits. It’s important to ask about those up front. 

  • Find a new audiologist that comes recommended from the previous Audiologist.
  • Someone who is in a convenient location.
  • Make sure the new Audiologist is someone that you feel comfortable returning to if you are having challenges.
  • Ask if their clinic works with FM Systems (some do not). 

Its a whole new world out there…

Just because there are no other Deaf and Hard of Hearing peers on campus, there is still a community out there welcoming you to be a part of the “second family”. We will explore the programs offered by agencies dedicated to service the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

BC Deaf Sports Federation

A multi-sport, non-profit organization functioning as an umbrella for Deaf and Hard of Hearing athletes in British Columbia.


Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

National Organization
A national organization that connects Canadians impacted by hearing loss through advocacy, education and community engagement.

National Website

BC Chapter
The CHHA-BC Chapter, in a joint initiative with CHHA Vancouver Branch, has established a web-based Online Mentoring Program for individuals with a hearing loss in British Columbia. The purpose of this program is to provide a medium for peer interaction, guidance, and the practice of coping skills through one-to-one mentor support.

BC Chapter Website. Here you will find links to general information on various aspects of coping with hearing loss from people who themselves have hearing loss, confidential one-to-one chatroom for those seeking guidance, and mentoring in adjusting to hearing loss.

Youth Peer Support Program
The CHHA Youth Peer Support Program (PSP) is a great social support resource targeted for deaf and hard of hearing students between ages 6-23 in their navigation of school, work, and social lives. They offer online resources, networking, workshops, and leadership opportunities.

Specifically, if you are looking to connect with other D/HH Youth:

  • Who have gone to the same institution you are planning to attend.
  • Who have completed the same program you are considering entering.
  • Who are currently working in the same career you’re considering.
  • In general, for games nights, group hangouts, etc.

Youth Peer Support Program Website

Monthly Socials

The PSP program hosts monthly get-togethers for Deaf and Hard of Hearing young adults, ages 18 – 35. These are informal gatherings where guests can mingle and get to know each other, share stories, laugh over common mis-“hearing” situations, and generally have a great time. A majority of the meet-ups take place in the Lower Mainland region. Occasionally there are socials in Fraser Valley, Okanagan and Vancouver Island regions. 

More details Here

Online CHHA Resources

Blogs– A series of blogs containing helpful tips on various topics (e.g., travelling, living independently, dating and relationships, etc.)

Young adult spotlight – Read inspiring stories from your peers on how they found their successes

Youth retreat (ages 16 to 25) – “Challenge Life”: spend a weekend in the Spring to boost your confidence and challenge the current way you are living your life.

National Young Adult Network (Facebook Group)– The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) offers a valuable platform for you to connect with a like-minded peer, who may be doing the same program as you are or currently working in a field that you are interested in. We can match you with someone that will make for a great connection. Click here to read how CHHA has impacted one person’s life in finding his way.

Resources in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland

The Well-Being Program (WBP)

The Well-Being Program (WBP) provides Mental Health Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Deaf-Blind people throughout the province of British Columbia. In addition, the WBP hosts workshops, groups, and presentations primarily for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind individuals (and their family members) that focus on empowerment, self-development, and life skills enhancement.

Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Deaf-Blind Well Being Program

Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility

Established in 1956, Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility is a B.C. based, multi-service, registered charity that exists to reduce hearing-related communication barriers by providing access and inclusion for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The only centre of its kind in Western Canada, Wavefront Centre provides a full range of programs and services “under one roof”. Wavefront has offices in Vancouver and Port Coquitlam.

Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility

Greater Association of the Deaf

Deaf, advocacy, social activities, educational activities, cultural activities, recreational activities.

Greater Association of the Deaf

Resources in British Columbia

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre

The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, the only non-profit agency of its kind on Vancouver Island, provides leadership, innovative solutions and services through engaging and educating communities, strengthening families, and fighting isolation.

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre

Northern BC Children and Families Hearing Society

At the NBC Hearing Society, we create ways to support each child and family impacted by hearing loss. Our mission is to provide events and networking opportunities to facilitate connection, education and easier access to resources. (Prince George and vicinity, youth programs)

Northern BC Children and Families Hearing Society

Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (PDHHS) is a provincial government organization dedicated to supporting the diverse and multicultural goals of Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind individuals and their families within an ASL and English environment.
Read the PDHHS brochure Here.

Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

West Coast Association of Visual Language Interpreters

The West Coast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI) is the provincial professional association of interpreters who work between spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL).  The West Coast Association of Visual Language Interpreters is committed to advancing the profession of sign language interpretation and to ensuring that our members provide British Columbians with exceptional standards of practice.

West Coast Association of Visual Language Interpreters

International Resources

International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People

The IFHOHYP serves as a platform for cooperation and exchange of information between organizations of Hard of Hearing youth, to encourage communication and cultural interchange between all Hard of Hearing young people worldwide and to defend the interests of hard of hearing youth and express them towards international bodies. This federation offers opportunities for international travel, study sessions, and summer camps, where Hard of Hearing young people can come together to exchange ideas while having a blast. 

International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People

International Federation of Hard of Hearing People

The International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) was established in 1977 as an international, non-governmental organization, registered in Germany.  IFHOH represents the interests of more than 300 million hard of hearing people worldwide.This includes late deafened adults, cochlear implant users, and people who experience Tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, Hyperacusis and auditory processing disorders. IFHOH has over 40 national member organizations from most regions of the world. IFHOH and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH) work to promote greater understanding of hearing loss issues and to improve access for Hard of Hearing people. 

International Federation of Hard of Hearing People

Learn About the Academic Communication Equity BC (ACE-BC)

Click on the link to learn about ACE-BC’s  Student Resources

Click on the link to learn about Post-Secondary Faculty and Staff