What is deaf identity? There is much contention in society around deafness and deaf identity. Conflicting opinions around what level of hearing loss constitutes ‘deaf’, can cause confusion and upset. Too often we hear ‘You can speak, so you’re not really deaf’, or ‘You don’t sign, so you’re not really deaf’. How do we then …
Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year and runs from 10-16 May.
‘How deaf are you? Can you write it down?’
This is what I was asked when trying to access emergency medical care at the local Accident and Emergency department of my local hospital, recently. That said, I only know what was asked of me thanks to my partner, who heard and repeated for me from behind a clear panel mask. Experiencing the beginning of an anxiety attack anyway, the isolation, inaccessibility and judgement of the situation only served to make me feel worse and I left, against medical advice.
May is Mental Health Awareness month so I wanted to share a little about my mental health as it relates to my hearing disability. As someone diagnosed with moderate-severe hearing loss at a young age, and more recently with sudden hearing loss, I know how closely intertwined my own mental health is with my hearing journey. Sharing this story is difficult, but I want to write it in honor of Mental Health month.
There are many different misconceptions and myths surrounding hearing loss/deafness. Many abled people, are quick to make assumptions regarding deafness, because it is considered an ‘invisible disability’. In the past, deafness as a disability has been considered a ‘taboo’ subject, and has only recently been spoken about more widely, thanks to social media, which has …
Hello, first of all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Vilma Jackson. I am Deaf and a performance artist; I have worked as a performing artist for 12 years in many different roles including TV, Film and Theatre. I work with both hearing and deaf actors and directors.
Hello, my name is Annie. I am a young adult from Columbus, Ohio who has moderate to severe hearing loss. I was diagnosed when I was two years old, thanks to my mom. She was the first person to notice there was something wrong with my ears when I was just a baby. Because of her attention to detail and persistence she was able to get me the help I needed and has been with me every step of my hearing loss journey.
In July 2020, I was handed another diagnosis to process. Years of fending off intense intrusive thoughts on my own, the pressure from lockdown became a bit too much to bear. With the encouragement of my parents, I approached my GP and was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I was also prescribed sertraline.
Despite going to a mainstream secondary school with a deaf unit, nobody there once asked me or told me about the idea of a ‘deaf identity.’ It’s only now when I’m questioned on how I identify, I can pinpoint exactly how I feel and be proud of all the different parts that make up me.
A few weeks ago, I had what I would probably describe as an ‘activist burnout’. Asking hearing people to make their content more deaf friendly and accessible, only for them to ignore you and belittle your concerns is exhausting. At worst, it can make you question your efforts to increase deaf awareness, when certain individuals just don’t want to listen.