‘I was born with a mild-moderate hearing loss in both ears and got hearing aids when I was 10 and that’s when it began. I felt like it was a problem. I was really embarrassed about wearing hearing aids and would never wear them in public. I also had this idea that somehow by having a hearing loss I was not going to be as smart because I wasn’t able to hear everything.
‘My way of dealing with it was to ignore it. I refused to wear my hearing aids in public. I didn’t even wear them to uni. I thought that wearing hearing aids was ugly and not cool so I didn’t wear them. I felt people would judge me.
‘It wasn’t until last year when I started to wear them that I had one person say something to me. He saw them and asked me if I’d had an operation. I told him they were hearing aids and that they help me to hear. He then told me what I needed to do to fix it was to eat lots of vegetables and drink lots of milk! I was in shock. I didn’t even know what to say!
‘I realised if I was going to change people’s perspectives, I was going to have to put them out there and not be ashamed anymore.
‘Hearing loss is this sort of invisible disability. It’s not something people can see so people don’t necessarily talk about it so then we keep internalising it.
‘The only barriers are people’s perspectives. There is nothing stopping you from communicating with a deaf person. We’re all humans after all. We’re all people who can find a way to communicate.’