My fight to make cinemas deaf-friendly

Until recently, I only went to the cinema two or three times a year. Going to watch a movie at the theater has always been a ‘luxury’ for me. With my hearing loss, and the lack of subtitled showings, it just wasn’t possible. It also wasn’t fair.

Most families have the choice to go to the cinema wherever and whenever they desire. Our options were pinned down to luck, and the hope that the ‘yourlocalcinema’ website would announce a subtitled showing would be playing.

A couple of months ago, I finally had enough! Continue reading

10 Misconceptions about Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is sometimes referred to as an “invisible disability,” because it’s not always obvious when people have hearing loss, and it’s not often talked about. Studies show that only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one, and on average, people with hearing loss wait almost 10 years before they do something about it. Why? Sometime’s it’s related to cost, but other times it has to do with the stigma that hearing loss carries. People might associate hearing loss with getting old or don’t want to wear hearing aids because there are ugly.

There are a lot of misconceptions that people have about hearing loss. I think it’s important to be open about hearing loss and how it can affect people’s lives, both positively and negatively. Help break down the stigma of hearing loss!

Here are 10 misconceptions about hearing loss that you should know: Continue reading

Listening to music with hearing aids (or, why I choose Adele over TSwift)

A common misconception for people with hearing loss is that we can’t hear music.

Being a deaf teenager – I love my music! In fact, most of my deaf friends do too. Music has this element to it that allows us to connect. Just like anyone else, we can relate to the lyrics and the mood of different songs. Soothing tunes sound nice in our ears after a busy day full of background commotion, while other songs really have energy injected to them, which give us a confidence boost. I think music defines our personality and emotions – and for those who struggle to communicate due to their hearing loss, music is a great way to for them to express themselves.

If you’re thinking, ‘How can she hear the music?’ Well… there’s a few possibilities. Continue reading

My favorite YouTubers (who caption!)

Captioning on YouTube has been a hot topic in the deaf/Hard of Hearing world lately, especially among teenagers.

YouTuber Rikki Poynter – Pikachu lover and advocate for closed captioning, who’s also deaf – has sort of led the charge for getting all YouTube videos captioned. She explains in her video why captioning is important for Deaf/HOH people, as well as those who don’t speak the language that the video is filmed  in. She also posts a whole load about deaf related topics.

Captions on YouTube has been such an important topic lately, mostly because they are so bad. In 2009, YouTube released their automatic captioning feature for videos using voice recognition algorithm, but the text is often inaccurate. While YouTube does let users upload their own captions, it can be time consuming, and most users don’t do it.

However, with encouragement from the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, and people like Rikki, there are some YouTubers who are leading this change.

Here’s a list of some YouTubers I’ve found who caption their videos: Continue reading

Dating with hearing loss: Date spots, cuddling and lip reading in the dark

I got inspiration for this blog post from Rikki Poynter’s video, ‘Dating While Deaf.’ For those who don’t know who Rikki is, she’s a deaf YouTuber, a massive Pikachu fan, an advocate for closed captioning, and just an ordinary teenager like me!

As a person with hearing loss, there’s two sides to dating… being with a normal hearing person or with a deaf partner.

Personally, I’ve been in a deaf-hearing relationship before, and it didn’t work out. I wouldn’t say it was my deafness that ended it, as I am very capable in life with communicating, but I’d just like to point out that he could have been more understanding with my needs. (Like he didn’t get my attention when talking to me, or couldn’t be bothered to repeat what he said… so the whole thing didn’t work anyway.)

After this experience, I had doubts about whether I was ever going to be in a relationship again. I felt like all the boys my age were very judgmental and immature. At the time I also had this misconception that all deaf boys were signers, which worried me because I’ve never really interacted with deaf people before, so I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them.

A few years ago, however, my views on dating changed when I went to a deaf young leader’s course, and met my boyfriend! Continue reading

5 tips for teaching a deaf child to swim

Swimming is a fun and vital skill to have in life. Whether you’re on a beach holiday, hanging out at a local pool or fishing alongside a river, knowing how to swim gives you the ability to fully enjoy a hot, summer day, as well as keep you safe.

I’m not just saying this because I’m a lifeguard, but because swimming is my passion. I even wrote a blog about it!  I see all these stories on the news about parents not taking their children to swimming lessons, or even the parents themselves not knowing how to swim, making them unable to pass down the skill.

When a child has hearing loss, dealing with water can be stressful for parents. How can a swim instructor teach a deaf child to swim when hearing aids can’t be worn in the pool?

Well, they can! As a deaf lifeguard, I’ve found there are ways to teach children with a hearing loss about how to be safe in the water. Deaf children can achieve anything given the right support. I always encourage children to learn to swim at a young age, because it gives them time to develop and become more confident.

If you’re a parent of a child with a hearing loss, and are interested in them having swimming lessons, or if you have hearing loss yourself and never learned to swim, here are some tips:

Continue reading