One in six Australians experience some form of hearing loss. Yet it is an issue that is still so rarely discussed.
The lack of conversation around Deafness and hearing loss means there is very little understanding about the diversity and complexity of Deaf experience. It is a topic which has a history of contention, stigma and discrimination, which has lead to many people feeling needlessly isolated, ashamed and marginalised.
Earshot is a collection of personal stories, articles and information about the experiences of Deafness and hearing loss. The project brings to light a myriad of experiences and issues surrounding this complex theme. Everything from the daily reality of hearing aids, cochlear implants, lip reading and Auslan, to personal stories of overcoming insecurities and celebrating differences.
Earshot aims to empower people to accept and embrace their difference, to break down barriers and to ultimately transform negative perspectives into ones of inspiration and understanding. It draws from photographer Kate Disher-Quill’s personal experience with hearing loss.
Diagnosed with hearing loss at three years of age and fitted with hearing aids when she was 10, Kate spent her childhood, adolescence and early adulthood feeling ashamed and hiding this side of herself. As a way to overcome her insecurities and to encourage others to accept their differences, Kate created the Right Hear, Right Now project — a photography, film and multimedia project which explores the diverse experiences of deafness and hearing loss. The project was subsequently exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in 2015 and 16. Earshot is an extension of Kate Disher-Quill’s Right Hear, Right Now project.
Thanks to its multi-city gallery tour, Earshot (previously Right Hear, Right Now) has already influenced and impacted people in a number of different ways. This has included educating non-Deaf audiences on what it means to be ‘capital D’ Deaf, inspiring people to learn Auslan as well as connecting people who may not otherwise have been connected.
“As someone who hails from a small country town, there wasn’t a community as such of ‘hearing impaired, Hard of Hearing or Deaf’ peers. It wasn’t until I moved to Sydney and was approached by Kate to share my story, that I grew to become more comfortable, getting out of my ‘shy, strictly no speaking about the topic and in denial’ shell.” (Rosie, 23, participant)
If you would like to be involved or would like more information, please contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org