Hi there, let me introduce myself. My name is Ellen, but my friends call me Ellie. I live in Norfolk, UK. Some of you may know me as Deafie Blogger. I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been profoundly deaf since birth. I wear two digital Phonak hearing aids, which allow me to communicate through lip-reading and speech. I don’t use British Sign Language, although I’d love to learn one day. I’m a typical teenager, and I love being sociable, spending time with family and friends, travelling and swimming.
Of course, I’m proud to be deaf, because I wouldn’t have achieved what I have, if I was hearing. I would just be ordinary. I am passionate about deaf awareness, no doubt about it. Over the past year I’ve really gotten interested in blogging and deaf culture, and I’m hoping that I can enthuse and encourage other deaf teenagers to prove that they can achieve anything they dream of. I love writing about everyday situations in the life of a deaf person, with the aim of making others feel as if they’re not alone.
That’s the number of people with disabilities working in the US, compared to 68.2 percent without disabilities, according to United States Department of Labor’s September 2015 Disability Employment Statistics.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has laws that make discrimination on the basis of disability illegal, but my high school experience showed me the slippery ways people in power can bypass these laws.
In my first post-graduate job, a makeup salesperson at a major US department store, I received diversity training, which included many topics: language inclusivity; recognizing racial bias; respect of different religions. But what struck me was the topic of disability.
When I first entered the workforce, my parents encouraged me to hide my disability because I passed for able-bodied better than most people in my position. Any discrimination, they believed, would be brought by my openness, and they suspected it would be better for me to be quiet. Typically, I would have rejected this advice, telling my parents I would not be shackled by chains of ableism created by ignorant people, however, I was nervous about my post-collegiate future and felt adrift in the “real world” after almost 20 years of academia. I hated living at home and I wanted to earn money, but I was not sure if moving out and making a living would be possible if I was open about my hearing loss. Wanting to err on the side of caution, I nervously chose to go into hiding on my first day of work.
Hearing aids can be scary to someone who doesn’t know how they work. So with Halloween just around the corner, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to show kids and their friends that hearing aids are cool!
Theater goers can attest, when one leaves a musical they often walk away with the show tunes stuck in their heads. But a new Broadway revival is leaving the opposite impression, with most of the focus solely on the actors; half of whom are deaf.
Deaf West Theater’s production of Spring Awakening, which opened in New York in September, stars eight deaf actors, eight hearing actors and seven onstage musicians, including Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Marelee Matlin.
At Phonak, we are committed to fighting the stigma attached to hearing loss, to tearing down barriers for the hearing-impaired and to finding new and innovative ways to help everyone reconnect to the beauty of sound. We also know that individuals play a strong role in breaking down those stigmas.
To celebrate those in our community who are being open and proud of their hearing situations, we’ve teamed up with some of our favorite Instagrammers, and asked them to capture their personality and signature looks, and show us what it really means to live with hearing loss.
Last week, we featured 20-year-old Eloise Garland, a music student from the UK.
She is an inspiration to many people – especially teens – with hearing loss, both in what she’s accomplished in her personal life, as well as the unique way she shows of her hearing aids with cool stickers and decorations that she sells on her Etsy.com store, Rainbow Tubes.
You can share your story with us too using the hashtag #lifeison on Instagram! Together we can break down the stigmas of hearing loss.
“Christina, how do you feel about Math and Science?”
My good friend, Ben, had asked me this question while I was freaking out about my then-boyfriend, Noah—a gorgeous, brilliant mechanical engineer who enjoyed springing questions about math and science on me without warning.
These questions, regardless of how good I felt, always made my heart race and waves of nausea hit me. Every time Noah would try to get me to guess answers to questions about the pressure that lifted planes, or a concept relates to calculus, I could not escape the feeling that I was being tested to see if I was “smart enough” to be his girlfriend.
Initially, I imagined I panicked at Noah’s questions because I believed, as a hearing-impaired artist with no money or college degree, that I was not good enough for someone like him. Ben, a therapist in-training, listened to my panic long enough to see that it had nothing to do with Noah. I knew Ben hit something much deeper when I could feel my whole body groan at the words “math and science.” Continue reading “Friends, Lovers, and Reclaiming STEM”
I knew they alerted you to fire alarms, door bell and telephone (if you use one) and, while at the fun dog show Pup Aid in London in 2014, I’d seen a Hearing Dogs demonstration, starring Sue Perkins from the Great British Bake Off in the role of a deaf person. The crowd oohed and ahhed as the demo dog ‘woke’ Sue from her bed when an alarm clock sounded and when they displayed amazing recall and obedience skills.
On top of this, I’d met a couple of hearing dog recipients who told me having a hearing dog was the best thing that had ever happened to them — and they shared with me the boost in confidence and independence their dogs give them on a daily basis. Both encouraged me to pursue an application and so I did.
Assistance dogs have a reputation for being well-behaved and there’s a reason for this: they have a LOT of training!
At the UK charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, puppies are socialised by volunteer Puppy Socialisers who work with the pups to get them house-trained, confident in various settings, comfortable around people and other dogs and happy to walk on a lead. They also start them off with the basic commands of ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and train them to come when called.