PHIL + LUCY
"When we go to bed we take our cochlear implants out, so we can't hear anything. If we want to say something, we'll put the flashlight on and sign."
Profoundly deaf, with two cochlear implants
"Its pretty convenient to be able to use both English and Auslan. For example if we're out and we don't want other people to know what we're saying we'll sign. Or if we want to say something to each other from across the room at a party."
Profound hearing loss, with two cochlear implants
I was diagnosed at the age of 2 and a half. This was picked up late because in many earlier hearing tests, a rattle was used and when the audiologist stood behind me I would sense that she was at present and would turn around to see what she was doing. As a result of this, the audiologist assumed that I was hearing as I responded to all sounds. My parents were therefore more worried due to the fact that I was not speaking. One afternoon my mum dropped something that made a very loud noise and I carried on walking past her and not responding and that was when she said 'My daughter is deaf.'
I wear Cochlear implants. My right ear was fitted at the age of 16 and the left one 10 years later. I learnt to sign when I was at college as there were a lot of deaf students there.
I have always accepted my deafness from an early age as I grew up with a hearing loss. However, when I was a teenager in high school, it was a different story. I hated the fact that I was deaf and was very negative about it. I found school very hard as I was the only student with a profound hearing loss and I felt I was 'different.' I mentioned it a few times briefly in conversations when it cropped up but teachers couldn't say much or make any suggestions. I was much happierwhen I started college and I did not feel alone. I could share my story with fellow peers and there was an excellent support network in place and this was when I began to accept my deafness again.
I often think that if I wasn’t deaf I wouldn't have met other amazing deaf people out there, for example, my partner and also my close/best friends in England and Australia. Life would of have been very different in term of friendships. I am also proud of achieving great grades during school, college and university, having to work extra hard to get them.
There are many challenges, for example, classes at school that played DVDs that had no subtitles meant I missed out. But I was still expected to answer questions on the worksheet which was frustrating. I also find group conversations and conversations that takes place in a noisy environment very tricky. However as I became older I reflect back on past situations and consider ways on how to overcome these challenges now. I speak up for myself and I know my rights.