Some of you may have noticed that deaf comedian DJ Demers is currently doing a month-long ‘Here to Hear’ comedy tour around America. The tour is sponsored by Phonak and they are broadcasting it daily on HearingLikeMe!
I got in touch with DJ to find out a bit more about life on the road..
E: Hey DJ! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview! Tell us a bit about the Here to Hear Tour!
DJ: So… the purpose of the tour is to spread awareness about hearing loss at colleges across America. We’re already 21 days into the trip and I can see the importance of the conversation we’re having.
A lot of college students are unaware of the technology and services that are available to them at their school, so it’s been a great opportunity to make people laugh, but also to create a feeling of community and helping people to find the resources they need to be successful.
E: That’s awesome, you’re a role model! How are you feeling about it?
DJ: Haha! At this point in time, I’m already getting a little sad that it’s coming to an end soon! I kind of want to steal the RV and keep it going for another couple years. I’m currently learning how to hotwire a vehicle so we’ll see what happens!
E: I bet, it sounds like a trip of a lifetime! Can you explain about your hearing loss?
DJ: I have a severe to profound loss. Anything in the high frequencies, I don’t hear very well (or at all, really.) I wear the Phonak Naida hearing aids.
E: Sounds similar to me, so we’re both Phonak hearing aid users! Is there anything you are hoping to achieve by doing this tour?
DJ: Yeah! First of all, I want to make people laugh and feel good. That’s always my goal.
A secondary goal would be to make deaf and hard of hearing people feel more comfortable talking about their hearing loss, and joking about it even. Sharing stories with other hard of hearing people after the shows has been so fun. I feel a real kinship with the people I’ve met. It’s also been great to educate hearing people and make them feel comfortable asking questions they might have felt like they couldn’t ask. The main goal is to make people laugh, and it’s been a success on that front so far. The shows have been incredible.
E: That’s so inspiring! I wish I could come to one of your shows… perhaps in the future! How important is it that you guys are spreading the message about how students should get all the support they can, whilst studying?
DJ: It’s very, very important. Students need to know what options are available to them, and realize there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Students in the UK can also get free hearing technologies through the Disabled Students’ Allowance, which you can apply for to cover some of the additional costs due to hearing loss.
(E: This would be if you wish to purchase hearing technologies to assist you with your learning, for example the Phonak Roger Pen or Roger Inspiro or any technologies that suit your hearing loss and needs. These could be used in lectures or seminars to help you understand them better. It’s such an incredible opportunity if you’re a student, so apply if you can and you may be eligible!)
E: Absolutely! *Note to followers – ^ grab that opportunity!^*
How can we follow your adventures on the tour?
DJ: Go to HeretoHearTour.com! – We’re also posting videos on YouTube daily, so check them out too!
E: Are there any places in particular you’re looking forward to going to on the tour?
DJ: Yale and Gallaudet are both near the end of the tour, and I’m so excited for both. I’m gonna try to join the Skull & Bones at Yale. Not sure what I have to do to get in, but I’m game for whatever. Secret societies are the bomb.
E: Haha! Totally… I wish you all the best with the tour, and thanks again for this opportunity! Hopefully we can meet one day in the future!
See you all soon, E x