Tuesday, 24 May 2016

11 things you should know...

When I attended the Summer Slam Poetry Camp at Gustavus Adolphus College last year, I walked into a group of 30 campers knowing absolutely nobody. 

After that first day, I was so overwhelmed by all the conversations going on around me that I couldn't understand, and frustrated with myself for not knowing how to effectively communicate the fact that I'm deaf. I would tell people, but they didn't really seem to get it. 

So, the next day, Sierra DeMulder (camp counselor and two-time National Poetry Slam champion) instructed us to write a "Ten Things" poem, and I saw that as the perfect opportunity to express my thoughts to the rest of the campers. It was an absolute rush to perform this, and everyone at the camp was so, so lovely.

An Actor's lot...

Photo: Andrey Popov/ShutterstockIs not a happy one.....Being a hearing-impaired actor comes with its challenges, but none as difficult as trying to source government funding for discreet hearing aids. I discovered this last year when I was subjected to a drawn-out battle that made The Hunger Games look like a nice bit of downtime.

I started to lose my hearing aged 18 and now wear hearing aids in both ears. I cannot hear anything without them. Since I began working as a professional actor, I have worn in-the-ear hearing aids as I felt that the behind-the-ear models supplied by the NHS limited my opportunities on stage. I didn’t want the roles that I could audition for to be restricted due to the lump of plastic behind my ears.

The government’s Access to Work programme exists, according to its website, to provide you with funding to "help you do your job if you have a disability or health condition". Unfortunately it seems that the government, much like my late Great Auntie Maureen, does not really see acting as a job.

I discovered this in 2014 when both of my hearing aids broke in quick succession, leaving me struggling with an old pair of behind-the-ear hearing aids. At that time, the acting work wasn’t bountiful and I was skint. I couldn’t afford to replace my in-the-ear aids and needed some urgent financial support. So I turned to ATW in the hope that it would pay for new aids to allow me to continue with my work.

If I had been an office worker, I suspect the application may have been quite straightforward. 

Deaf and daft with it !

When people ask us how much can we hear, what is the subtext that goes with that question ?

You often get the old chestnut that not only do they ask what you can hear, but directly relate your response to what you can understand.  This is more serious an assumption, as this can cast doubt on your intellect and ability. 

Given the approriate access format we are as good as anybody else. The world is full of negatives for us. Why this link with deafness to understanding ? I've got qualifications I have forgotten about and exam passes, apparently quite a good Mensa score as well, but, being able to prove I'm not stupid seems to be ignored because I don't hear. 

What can you hear is directly connected to how intelligent you are. If someone asks you a maths question aka what is 28 multiplied by 13,  (*It's 364 !)... or how do you spell cognitive, and you do not hear the question properly because the format wasn't right, or you could not lip-read the word adequately...then the assumption is you have learning difficulties, even issues of mental health, not hearing loss.

Look online to see how hearing loss and deafness is seen by those with effective hearing.

'Deaf to the world' (An inability or even a desire to hear.)

'Deaf Ears'  (Hearing loss allied to people who refuse, or have no intention to listen, but the linking of the term TO deaf people that cannot hear, could suggest they aren't deaf just being difficult, or unreasonable.)

'Politics of the deaf'  (Hearing loss linked with a determined refusal to take in any point made, despite being told, again could suggest the deaf are being obstructive.)

'Deaf and Dumb' (With hearing loss, comes stupidity !).

'Deaf as a post' (Unable to hear but likened to a lump of wood, mostly aimed at older people and anyone deaf, hearing people have issues communicating with, sometimes as a joke, used as a term of annoyance and frustrations with us..)

'Fall on deaf ears'  (Hearing loss applied to people who have no intention of listening but have none).

'None so deaf as those who will not hear'  (Again linking deafness to a refusal to listen)

'Turn a deaf ear' (Hearing information, but totally ignoring it, and yet again suggesting deaf either cannot, or will not listen to what you say.)

'In one ear, out the other'  (A refusal to listen or understand !)

Although these terms are aimed mostly at HEARING people, the assumptions, are that is applies to what Deaf people are like. A relentless stream of adages and sayings that put down people with hearing loss, passed down generation to generation. Aligning hearing negative traits, directly to the deaf. 

Deaf awareness, it cannot compete with this can they ?

Monday, 23 May 2016


Where is the budget for Deaf Health Interpreting ?

"If there are budgets for interpreting in other languages, why aren't there budgets for interpretation for a deaf parent ?"

Midwives, students and healthcare professionals have called for improvements in antenatal and childbirth services for deaf families, at an event organised by Kingston University and St George's, University of London.

The Deaf Nest Project conference was run by final-year midwifery student Paulina Ewa Sporek, founder of the Deaf Nest Project, and created an opportunity to discover more about the issues that affect the deaf community.

Attendees heard from deaf charity representatives, hearing and hard of hearing healthcare professionals, and deaf parents who shared their personal experiences of the barriers they have faced during pregnancy and post-natal care. One mother told her story of being left distressed, trying to lip-read her midwife as her husband received bad news about her pregnancy.

Event Chair, Dr Jacque Gerrard, Director of the Royal College of Midwifery, described ‘huge gaps' in equality of support to deaf parents or parents with deaf children. "From some of the stories that we've heard, health services say they don't have budgets for British Sign Language interpreters – but if there are budgets for interpreting in other languages, why aren't there budgets for interpretation for a deaf parent."

A New Beginning...

Re-starting my channel based on talking about Deafness/deafness and being hard of hearing to educate hearing people. I will still be doing other videos but this is what I want to do.

[Thanks we appreciate the captions].

AV-UK: It's loud shirt Day June 17th...

Loud Shirt Day

I think I have one everyday ! Auditory Verbal UK is holding LOUD Shirt Day on 17th June: its first ever national fundraising and awareness day.

The charity is asking people to wear their loudest clothes to raise funds that will help deaf children and their families access an auditory verbal therapy programme. Participants can download a LOUD fundraising pack from the campaign page on the Auditory Verbal UK site as well as create a fundraising page.

The campaign is supported by a number of celebrities, including Usain Bolt, Matt Lucas, Daniel Radcliffe and Paloma Faith, with schools and businesses, as well as individuals taking part.

This is the first Loud Shirt Day for deaf children in the UK. Loud Shirt Day was first organised in Australia ten years ago by charities supporting deaf children. Over the past ten years, it has helped to raise awareness of deafness as well as funds to support listening and spoken language programmes for young deaf children across Australia and New Zealand.

Anita Grover, chief executive of Auditory Verbal UK said:

Many people don’t know what impact deafness can have on a child and how it can make it more difficult to make friends, enjoy school, and communicate with your family. Fewer people know that with the right support, deaf children can overcome most of these challenges. Loud Shirt Day is raising awareness of what deaf children can achieve and supporting our work at Auditory Verbal UK with the families of young deaf children.

Can you eat LESS noisily ?

Louise Windsor is now able to tell her husband off for eating too noisily after a cochlear implant meant she is now able to hear for the first time A downside of having a CI.....A mother-of-three who was born deaf is now hearing for the first time thanks to surgery - and is already nagging her husband for being too loud.  

Louise Windsor, 41, from Bristol, has spent the last four decades in virtual silence. But after having a cochlear implant, she is now able to enjoy the sounds of birds and music but admits she gets irritated by other things. 

Mrs Windsor, a dinner lady, said: 'I can hear birds outside, I can hear an aeroplane and even my dishwasher.  Louise Windsor is now able to tell her husband off for eating too noisily after a cochlear implant meant she is now able to hear for the first time 

Louise Windsor is now able to tell her husband off for eating too noisily after a cochlear implant meant she is now able to hear for the first time   'It’s emotional hearing my husband’s voice. It has changed my life.

At first it was hard and took a while to get used to people talking but now I can hear most things.