Deaf awareness 2019
Updated: May 11, 2019
For #deaf awareness week we asked our models what misconceptions they face in their day to day life and they share their personal stories to raise awareness.
Please don’t feel sorry for my daughter or any other deaf/hearing impaired person. They are happy ‘normal’ people, living life just the same as you but with very little/or no sound. My daughter loves her life to the max! Having always been deaf, the sound she can access is amazing, she is grateful to have it and doesn’t know any different. Yes life is more of a struggle, and she has to work a lot harder to achieve her goals, and this means she gets tired quickly but she is just still the same as you and me. She has the same goals, ambitions and achievements- it might just take her longer to get there. Having a disability is apart of you but it isn’t who you are and it doesn’t define you.
I was screened for hearing loss at birth, I have 'congenital hearing loss' - this means its genetic - I have a very rare chromosome disorder called 18q deletion, my ear canals are tiny and there is no successful operation in the UK to have these operated on so I use a bone conduction hearing implant, this is one that sends vibrations to the bone in the skull which in turn is heard as sound, basically bypassing my ears! I don't hear like you do though, its still not easy for me. I was lucky to be given lots of support and technology early to access speech sounds from just a few weeks old, I also used makaton. My family used the resources offered by attending local groups and used the fabulous services of NDCS, we attended workshops and yearly events. As time has gone on testing has shown I have moderate/severe hearing loss with some frequencies that I cannot hear at all. For a child with my level of hearing loss I speak well.
There is a misconception, that deaf people can't do what hearing people can. Deaf people have a whole host of different abilities just like those with hearing. I can adapt the things I enjoy thanks to the technology available. I play computer games with friends speaking to them using other equipment instead of a headset. I love music and have a great rhythm, I love to dance and I also love to sing. I hope to change other peoples attitude to hearing loss, the lack of awareness.
I am not stupid, I am not ignorant I just need time to process your words, I can speak for myself. With the right support, anything is possible, and I am proof of that.
Lois Groom - 11 years old.
“Being hearing impaired doesn’t mean I don’t want to be social. I do. I love people. Some situations can be difficult. You can help me be involved by looking at me and talking to me directly without covering your mouth. Speak clearly but please do not shout into my ear - it hurts!
Being me is what i love about me; with my Special Ears or not, im still cool! I want people to know that wearing Hearing Aids can still be good, these are what make me different and unique. I am very proud of wearing my Special Ears they are a part of me.
We didn’t realise Finley couldn’t hear so much until he got his hearing aids. He didn’t realise that the car made noise. He hadn’t heard the hum of the engine before. He wasn’t always deaf. He passed hearing tests up until the age of 6 and then lost hearing in both ears that he is still losing. He has mixed hearing loss and hearing aids have helped him a great deal.
“So if your son has a hearing impairment and now needs to wear hearing aids in both ears, how come you didn’t realise years before?” Probably because I’m not a qualified audiologist!! Our sons hearing loss occured gradually over time so it wasn’t obvious to us at first. Deteriorating hearing loss due to various reasons often unknown can happen over a prolonged period of time before parents realise there’s a cause for concern.
Aharon loves wearing his hearing aids and will openly talk to you about them if you ask him. Asking is often better than staring at him.
Lilly used to have amazing hearing. Noticing every humm and whisper. Gradually her world got quieter, and she became louder. It was only by chance we discovered her hearing loss. We are awaiting her first pair of aids this week. I can't wait to open up her world again... And maybe she'll be a bit quieter again haha!
“Oh no! Your daughter is deaf. I’m so so sorry”
Please,please, please don’t ever be sorry or say to a deaf person you are sorry they are deaf. Deaf people are super proud of their culture and to be deaf and don’t see anything wrong with it. As a parent I am definitely not sorry my daughter is deaf. It’s who she is and who she is meant to be. She is beautiful and unique. She is living a great life and enjoying it to the fullest. Being deaf does not hold her back or stop her. She may have to adapt some things but don’t we all sometimes. Why would we be sorry about that!
Hearing loss can be a challenge. In 1992 I had a skiing accident, fractured my skull, perforated my eardrum and lost 60% hearing. I was told damage was permanent and no aids would help. Since then I’ve learned to lip read and just get on with things. Last year I decided to find out if new advancements in aids could help me. There is so much support, information and new technology available to help with hearing loss and deafness these days. I am now the proud owner of a new hearing aid and can at last hear things that have been muted for the last 28 years. Don’t suffer in silence – find out what’s available and choose the life you want to live.
Natasha and Rhianna:
As soon twins were born the midwife didn't know how I would react when told both girls were deaf because twins being deaf rarely seen in the world, but I’m so proud of them.
That means they have got each other communicate with using British sign language .
It is beautiful language.
They are not afraid being deaf they hold their heads high, they attend ongoing speech therapy so they can gain some access to speak the English language .
So please don’t be afraid of us if you can’t sign ,speak clearly we can lipread you .