I thought it would be a great idea to introduce guest blogs on here! I’m so proud to introduce Deaf Author Gael Hannan as my first guest blogger! She wrote ‘The Way I Hear it’ last year and it’s a book I would love to read soon!
Here’s Gael’s blog:
’19 going on 61′
Ellie Parfitt is an inspiring young woman who tweets as @deafieblogger. She is 19 years old, whereas I am not. I’m 61, but I remember being 19 and what my life with hearing loss was like back then.
To paint a picture of my hearing loss life in 1973:
- I did not yet have a hearing aid, because the doctors always said they wouldn’t help. That was the wisdom of the time, but they were wrong. When I got my first hearing aid in 1975, it was beige and ugly but it changed my life.
- Growing up, I never had any classroom supports. Access meant that your mom told the teachers you had hearing loss, and you sat in the front row to lip-read the teacher (but not any of the other 29 kids sitting beside and behind you). I became a brilliant speech-reader through time.
- There were no amplified telephones or captioning or almost any technology to help me except for the volume knob on the TV.
- I would lie on the floor with my head pressed to the stereo to hear it better.
- I didn’t know anyone else with hearing loss, and it would be over 20 years before I finally connected with other people who were walking the same path as me.
- While I wasn’t exactly ashamed of my moderate hearing loss, it also wasn’t the thing I liked most about myself. But my family and friends and the people I met every day accepted my hearing loss as part of me. I wasn’t a better or a worse person because of my hearing loss, but it took a few years for this truth to sink in deeply.
- I wear two hearing aids and am on the list for a cochlear implant which will happen sometime this autumn or early next year.
- I use, or have used, almost every bit of technology that’s ever been dreamed of: captioning of all sorts, neck-loops, telecoils and loops, vibrating alarms, flashing lights that tell you just about anything except when your eggs are boiling into a molten mess in the kitchen, smart phones and iPads, texting, noise-cancelling headphones, etc.
- When I was expecting my baby, for the first time I was worried about the impact of my hearing loss. Would I endanger my child if I couldn’t hear him crying in the night or if I couldn’t hear him burp? In
another life-changing move, I reached out to hearing loss support groups and got the answers I needed. I also found my passion in life – to be an advocate, to use different ways to convey the message that there is no shame in hearing loss.
For the past 20 years, I have written numerous articles, essays, weekly columns, and last year I published a book, The Way I Hear It. I have created a national elementary school program to teach children about protecting their hearing. I have travelled North America delivering workshops and comedic/dramatic performances about the hearing loss life.
The internet has given a voice and a platform to @deafieblogger and @gaelhannan. We are just two among many who want others to feel comfortable with their deafness, to understand that there is help, and to throw off the cloak of shame and fear they may be wearing.
Gael Hannan, Author
I hope you enjoyed reading her blog. Leave your comments below, I’m sure she would love to hear them!
Love E x