Joe McMahon

Name & Pronouns: Joe McMahon (he/him)

Year: Sophomore

Major(s)/Minor(s): Accounting and Computer Science Major

A little about myself:

My name is Joe McMahon. I am a sophomore transfer from the University of Minnesota. I am an accounting major with a Computer Science minor. Some things I am involved in on campus are the Men's Chorus. I like to talk about music, so if you want to talk about music with me, hit me up.  I have moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I have been hard of hearing since birth. In terms of how I identify, I identify as a hard of hearing person. With my hearing, there are some speech difficulties.

How my disability has impacted my life:

I would say there's a lot of directions in which my experience with hearing loss has gone. For the most part, I would say it has largely been positive, although there have been struggles here and there in terms of  classroom settings, or somewhere that I am not close to the speaker.

How my disability functions as a strength in my life:

Understanding who I am speaking to has applied not only for communicating my hearing loss, but also other concepts. One thing that is kind of cool, is that these new hearing aids I have can connect to bluetooth, so I can just listen to music, or podcasts. It’s really nice.  I have learned how to communicate my disability for people who ask about it, and are on different levels of comprehension. For example, when a six year old child comes up and asks “what are those things in your ear,”  I have ways to simplify the language to make it understandable. Whereas if it is one of my peers that asked, I can be a little more complex in my description.

Barriers to accessibility I would like to bring to light:

 One thing I do rely on a lot is lip reading, so this pandemic has been a true nightmare for me. One thing that would be really helpful for me, and everyone in general, is to speak up. Masks can really hinder your volume. If people can project a little bit more, that would be so very helpful. Having captioned videos is also really important for me. If student organizations or other video-related content from the school could be captioned that would be really great.

“Disabilities are gonna be different for each person and their own disability. The Student Accessibility Service has been great about where I fall in the spectrum. Shoutout to SAS!”