Faces Behind the Screen: E (Deafie Blogger)
E is the creator of DeafieBlogger.com. Based in the UK, she is an award-winning blogger and activist for those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. She herself is deaf and uses her platform to campaign for deaf rights.
E has achieved many things: she’s done charity skydiving, was an Olympic torchbearer for the 2012 London games, and has received numerous awards including the Leadership Award for Signature Deaf’s 10th Annual Awards.
For now, you can get to know E a little better as she shares part of her story for Faces Behind the Screen.
What inspired you to start your blog?
E: I was looking for somewhere to vent my frustrations and share my experiences of living with a hearing loss and my deaf boyfriend suggested starting a blog. There, Deafie Blogger was born and today I still love blogging and inspiring others that they can achieve anything.
What does the phrase, “Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support,” mean to you?
E: There are many misconceptions about deafness and people thinking deaf people can’t do anything, but their hearing loss shouldn’t stop them from achieving their goals. With this motto we can raise deaf awareness and prove deaf people can do anything.
What is the #SubtitledCinema Campaign?
E: Growing up, cinema was never an option for my family and I due to the lack of subtitled showings. One day, I said enough is enough and started my petition, and now I have been working with industry leaders to try and bring about this change. It’s important because deaf people are still unable to go to the cinema in peak times on a regular basis which is not fair, I want to change this.
More info here: #SubtitledCinema
What are you passionate about?
E: Raising deaf awareness and people overcoming barriers and proving others wrong. A little awareness goes a long way and helps makes the world a better place.
What is your proudest moment?
E: I have too many to list! It will probably be either doing a charity Skydive, or winning the Leadership Award for Signature Deaf’s 10th Annual Awards as recognition for the blogging and campaign work I do.
What has been one of your greatest struggles?
E: Every day is a challenge, we are constantly faced with barriers and discrimination. Either the cinemas refusing to implement an increase or my media studies teacher telling me I can’t do media because I’m deaf, I proved her wrong and got a top grade! I have had to build a thick skin as if you let it get to you, it will bring you down. I have to rise above and be strong.
What is bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and how does it affect you?
E: To put it simply, I am profoundly deaf in both ears and have been since birth. The hairs in my inner ear are damaged. I wear two hearing aids and have grown up communicating with speech and lipreading. I went to mainstream school. I’ve only started learning sign language four years ago and have passed British Sign Language Level 2.
Do you identify as d/Deaf or hard of hearing?
E: I identify as ‘deaf’ or have a ‘profound hearing loss’ – since birth. I was diagnosed at 9 months old and received hearing aids at 10 months.
I don’t really like the D/deaf labels. I don’t see why we should have to label ourselves when we’re all different hearing levels and communication methods. We should be accepting of each other.
How do you prefer to communicate?
E: I predominantly communicate through speech and lipreading but I have been learning British Sign Language and have recently passed Level 2. I hope to go further in the future. I feel I have the best of both worlds.
What is your first memory of struggling to communicate?
E: My parents and teacher of the deaf had to constantly repeat words to try and get me to talk at a young age, I think they almost gave up, and I said my first word ‘ar’ (car) and they were overjoyed! It was a long learning process from there, including speech therapy to get to the standard I am today.
What’s the best thing about being deaf/hard of hearing?
E: Being able to take your hearing aids out when it’s too noisy, having a quiet night’s sleep, switching off when you don’t want to listen! (joking!)
What’s a common mistake hearing people make when interacting with deaf people?
E: Assuming all deaf people use sign language, or that we can’t talk!
What do you wish that hearing people could know about your experience?
E: Deafness is one of the most common disabilities, but the least understood. If you can learn some simple deaf awareness tips or some sign language, it helps! Reading up on blogs helps to increase understanding:
Any finals words of advice for our readers?
E: Deaf people want to be involved in social situations, group conversations just as much as hearing people do. Our ears just don’t work. Please make the effort to include us, conversation is a two-way process, we’re willing to meet in the middle if you are.
Faces Behind the Screen would like to thank E (Deafie Blogger) for participating in our storytelling project. If you’re interested in sharing your story with us, fill out our nomination form.
Faces Behind the Screen is a storytelling project focusing on members of the Deaf and hard of hearing community.