Right Hear, Right Now

Kate Disher-Quill
 

One in six Australians experience some form of hearing loss, yet it is an issue which is rarely talked about. I was born with a mild to moderate hearing loss. I was diagnosed when I was three years old, yet it wasn’t until I was ten years old and given my first pair of hearing aids, that I realised I had a “problem”. I hated the idea that I had a “disability” and I simply denied it. I got through high school and university talking very little about it, and rarely wearing the five pairs of hearing aids I was given over the past sixteen years. Rejecting my deafness and refusing to wear my hearing aids, is not something I am particularly proud of, but I have been trying to come to an understanding as to why I bottled it up and denied it for so long. And this project was my way of exploring it in the best way I know how - taking photographs and collecting stories. 

Over the past year I have met with people who have experienced deafness in some way or another. I have met adults, young and old, teenagers, children, parents and relatives. People with hearing aids, with cochlear implants, those who use sign language, and those who are bilingual. But I have also met those who choose not to wear hearing aids, not to get a cochlear implant, not to sign or not to speak. I have come to learn that there are so many experiences and facets of deafness, so many different perspectives, attitudes and even debates. And I believe these are important to share. 

‘Right Hear, Right Now’ is about empowering people to accept and embrace their differences, to raise awareness and to ultimately transform negative perspectives into ones of inspiration and understanding. To educate people on what it means to be capital “D” Deaf, deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, hearing impaired or to have a hearing loss, and to empower those who have felt the need to hide a part of their identity.

Essentially this project is something that I would have liked to have seen when I was ten, sixteen, twenty-one and twenty-six years old. A project which may have inspired me to accept my hearing loss long before I actually did. 

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Right Hear Right Now was first exhibited in May 2015 at District 01 in Sydney as part of Head On Photo Festival. Now showing at No Vacancy Gallery in Melbourne until August 28th.

If you would like to be involved or would like more information, please contact Kate at info@righthearrightnow.com