Turn coffee shops and cafés into public forums to discuss hearing loss.
Most towns have a local coffee shop or café. Your school's audiology department could arrange weekly meetings where people in the community can meet with audiology students to discuss hearing loss challenges over a cup of coffee.
You could advertise the weekly meetings online, in the local newspaper, and at the coffee shop itself. Each meeting could focus on a different topic related to hearing loss, such as hearing instruments, communication strategies, and self-advocacy. If you are looking for potential topics to discuss, you can explore the Ida Institute's Group Aural Rehabilitation tool for inspiration.
Café Philosophique is a grassroots forum started in 1992 by philosopher Marc Sautet in Paris, France. His idea was to bring together people in a public forum so that they could freely discuss ideas.
The concept has spread and there are now thousands of Café Philosophique events taking place all around the world.
Hearing café meetings can bring the topic of hearing loss out into the public arena. Instead of meeting behind closed doors, meeting at a café can bring the topic out into the open. People who frequent the coffee shop or see the flyers can get drawn into the conversation.
This would also be a good opportunity for audiology students to meet people with hearing loss outside of the consultation setting. It would show them a different side of their clients, and open up the complex challenges and emotions persons with hearing loss must face on a daily basis.