Amy: ‘I miss being able to have a normal conversation’
Hi, I am Amy. I am thirteen years old and my mum fell ill when I was seven, so it has been most of my school life. At school, I don’t think people had sympathy and who could blame them.
I didn’t expect them to understand but it felt like people wanted to make things as hard as possible for me. I think I changed a lot in those past years. I grew independent and I learned how to cook so I didn’t have to eat dad’s beans on toast for a month while mum was in hospital.
If mum and I were in the shops and the assistant behind the counter asked her something, I would have to say, sorry my mum is deaf. Some people were nice to her and still spoke, but most would either just talk to me or not talk to us at all. I would also have to answer the phone when I was in the house and some people wanted to talk to my mum and wouldn’t talk to anyone else. So we were stuck because she couldn’t hear the phone at all. I was young so I didn’t really know what to do but I had to learn quickly.
I don’t think people have very much understanding about deafness and that makes me a little annoyed. It upsets me having a deaf parent and I miss being able to have a normal conversation without repeating things or having to try so hard to be heard. I mostly feel sorry for my mum, as I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my hearing.
When I was on the Hearing Link programme [Amy and her Mum attended an Intensive Rehabilitation Programme in 2009], I enjoyed seeing how amazing people were when they had been deaf for so long with very little help. I learned how to communicate in easier ways with my mum, such as finger spelling and sign language. I met a deaf dog and I also enjoyed learning how subtitles were done.
I learned what can make people deaf and how to protect my ears. I felt more understanding towards my mum.
Gregor: ‘He lets us mess around and make loads of noise’
I’m 11 years old and my grandad is deaf. Sometimes it’s really annoying, especially when I’m excited and want to tell him something quickly and he just can’t get what I’m saying. Telling him something on the telephone is even harder because it takes him ages to work out that it’s me who’s talking not one of my cousins.
My grandad uses one hearing aid. He can’t hear anything in his other ear at all. I worry sometimes because his dad was deaf and his brother and his uncle. It’s a genetic thing so I suppose I might have it too. Mum says I don’t need to worry until I’m at least 20 because that’s when it starts to happen.
My mum wasn’t affected but I might be. I don’t want to be because I really like music. My other grandad is completely bald. He lost his hair in his 30s. I’m hoping I don’t get the double whammy. I have a brother and sister so maybe it’ll get them instead!
All my friends know my granddad. They really like him because he lets us mess around and make loads of noise. I tell them that they’ve got to look at him and speak clearly but they’ve known him ages so they do this anyway. Even people who’re more shy than everyone else do it right. My grandad does fun stuff with us so they have to.
When you speak to my grandad it’s best to do it when there’s no other noise. At the tea table, we have to shout to everyone to ‘shut up’ so we can tell him something. If it’s a long story, it’s better to go into another room.
Even though my grandad finds it hard to hear, everyone always wants to speak to him. My mum, my dad, my aunts and uncles, lots of people. He gives good advice and knows lots of things.
I think I’m really lucky to have him as my grandad but one thing that’s annoying is that he keeps telling me to speak clearly – when I am! The other thing that’s even more annoying is that he won’t learn to text on a mobile phone. If you’re reading this grandad – get it sorted!