My crazy first week with a buzzing ear

24 05 2017

man grimacing buzzing ear

A buzzing ear makes a surprise appearance

Looking back on the first week of realizing I had tinnitus almost brings a tear to my eye. Not to sound negative, but those that have or are currently experiencing unexplained buzzing ear sounds will know the frustrations and stupid thoughts that come with tinnitus.

This week I want to bring peace of mind to those who are currently suffering from a buzzing ear or two.

It’s okay to do stupid things when you first realize that tinnitus is something you may need to manage going forward. Speaking with many tinnitus sufferers, we all have the same story – first embarrassment then laughter.

Going through such a journey with tinnitus can be difficult but when you get to a point of not being worried or bothered by whistles or buzzing ear sounds, this brings fulfilment and control back into your life.

So what are some of the crazy things you’ve done in the first week of experiencing tinnitus?

The first week for me was extremely difficult and looking back at why I actually thought this would work makes me laugh.


7 of my favourite deaf awareness initiatives for 2017

18 05 2017

woman hiding her mouth

How Deaf Awareness Week is breaking down barriers

It is Deaf Awareness Week in the UK, May 15 to 21, and in the theme of celebrating collaborative work, I want to share with you some of my favourite 2017 awareness initiatives. There were many to choose from, but the ones mentioned below touched my heart.

The purpose of this week is to share knowledge around the fact that 1 in 6 people in the UK is deaf or hard of hearing. It’s important to know how you can communicate with us and include us in everyday life. This week is dedicated to highlighting how you can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Spreading awareness aims to improve peoples’ understanding of deafness, hopefully leading to better support and accessibility.

Even though there is no ‘typical’ deaf or hard of hearing person, you should be aware of the possibility that a deaf person might join your seminar, workshop or eat lunch at your restaurant. Are you aware of our needs? Have you made it easy for us to communicate with you and join the conversation? If not, I hope this year’s awareness week inspires you to make changes.


Deaf counselling can help you reach your full potential

11 05 2017

deaf counselling

Deaf counselling can help you reach your full potential

Mental health issues can affect everyone. From relationship problems to work stress, we all have stress and anxiety to deal with. However, some of us need a bit more support navigating the complexities of living in a hearing world.

Unfortunately, deaf counselling is still very rare; there are very few deaf-aware and qualified counsellors available.

To answer our counselling questions we interviewed deaf counsellor, Adrian Francis, a specialist in person-centred counselling. Person-centred counselling functions from the belief that people have the natural tendency to develop towards their full potential.


Self help for hard of hearing people – Emotional empowerment

27 04 2017

self help for hard of hearing people

How to use the internet for self help for hard of hearing people

Hard of hearing and deaf people have a higher prevalence rate of depression, possibly due to the difficulties we experience navigating in a hearing world. Difficulties communicating can lead to lowered self-esteem, emotional distress and a feeling of hopelessness.

In 2004, there were 5,863 deaths as a result of suicide in the UK, with evidence that depression may be more common in the deaf population.

However, the internet has demonstrated to be an effective and dependable tool for self help for hard of hearing people. This is likely due to the ease with which deaf individuals can connect with other hard-of-hearing people and the variety of websites available to helping us find health information and ways to improve communication.

In this article, I’d like to share some of my favourite websites and how to use them as a source of self-help.


My Hearing, My Future

20 10 2011

A competition, My Hearing, My Future, is now open to young people aged 10-18 years.

Entries are invited in English or British Sign Language. Participants are invited to be creative and come up with a winning idea for using science to help improve life for the deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

Previous winners have come up with some exciting ideas;

Helen Thomas, from the 12-14 age group, was the winner in 2009. Her entry said:

I would like to think, that in the next 20 years there will be great advances in helping deaf children/adults. As a cochlear implant user I would expect advances in this area to be more exciting, maybe along the lines of putting the implant and processor under the skin and therefore eliminating the need for an external processor, or a implant that tunes in to the conversation you are listening to, and eliminates surrounding sounds (very science fiction!)

Or maybe gene therapy can play a part, with replacing the faulty gene, I along with my family, have had blood taken to see which gene is responsible for my deafness, this is something I would think research would focus on.

Communicating with deaf people, it would be great if, a degree of sign language could be on the school time table, its great to learn sign, you never know when you will need it, its important to make people aware how difficult it is for deaf people, like all sensory impairment, “making people aware” is very important.

I would like to see all classrooms equiped with the necessary sound fields and finally here is one crazy idea, what about glasses/or contact lenses that when worn would show subtitles maybe in a cinema or TV.

So this is my vision for the future, I hope it helps!

Jordan McGrath, from the 15-19 age group, was the 2009 winner. His entry said:

There are 9 million deaf people in the U.K, 34,000 of which are children and young people. It doesn’t matter whether a deaf person has mild deafness, moderate deafness, severe deafness or is profoundly deaf there are always solutions such as technology equipment such as hearing aids or cochlea implants. There are other solutions such as lip reading and sign language. 2 million people in the U.K have hearing aid/s. 4 million people don’t have hearing aid/s, this is a high number and I think that people who want to have a hearing aid/s or cochlea implant should investigate what equipment is useful for them. It would lead to an easier way of life. They would benefit from it hugely. I think that deaf people should be treated equally as hearing people: examples, more subtitled shows at cinemas, interpreters at shows, pantomimes and other public places where a deaf person needs help with communication in some way. I think that these services should be funded by the government. I also think that there should be more deaf awareness taught around the U.K: examples, staff in supermarkets, high street shops, churches, restaurants, cafes and the most important of all are doctors, hospitals, dentist and other medical care centres.  I would benefit hugely if this problem was solved because me myself as a deaf person can struggle at times when I go out to public places such as shops. Another thing is that new buildings that are being built should be built with soundfield or loop systems. More DVD’S should include either a choice of subtitles or a signer. I find that many DVD’S that my family have bought in the past have no subtitles so therefore I can’t watch it.  Also modern mobile phones as seen in shops should contain all the features that a deaf person needs.

I think that a lot of deaf people would benefit from a waterproof hearing-aid/s which has different levels for different kinds of deafness. These waterproof hearing aids could be used in swimming pools in the sea and other wet areas when it’s raining. This way they wouldn’t miss out talking to hearing friends/family or even a deaf person who can’t communicate. They would have to be a small object that fits into the ear so that they don’t fall out and get lost. Normal digital and analogue hearing aids are not allowed to get wet. I also think that a higher powered hearing aid/s should be created for profoundly deaf people. It would be loud enough so that a deaf person can hear all the correct sounds that are being said and this could improve their speech. Also in shops and other public places they may hear what the person is saying more clearly. It could be electric chargeable although this wouldn’t be good for the environment so high powered batteries could be made. Also a person with no hearing or little hearing should be provided with a choice of having a hearing dog for the deaf, this helps deaf people have a more independent life and not rely on others too much. A higher local service should be provided for deaf people if they are in need of something or having difficulties with something. They should be provided with a person who works at that local area and are able to get in touch with them as confidently as possible. They should always have support no matter how old they are.

My Hearing, My Future is a collaboration between Deafness Research UK and Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre. Sponsored by Phonak, Advanced Bionics, BT, and Chilli Technology.

Competition : My Hearing, My Future

New website for hard of hearing

20 07 2010

Dear Auntie Tina

I would like some suggestions on what I can design or put on my website that people who are hard of hearing might like to see. This isn’t a business venture more of a personal desire. I’m lifelong hearing aid user and recent cochlear implant in one ear.


Hi Patty

The best thing is probably your life experiences and observations! Everyone has stories to tell, which often help or inform others.  I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences as I’ve been a lifelong hearing aid wearer myself and my cochlear implant was switched on 4 months ago. I’m considering wearing my hearing aid in my other ear again, but keep putting this off. The cochlear implant and hearing aid are so different, what I hear through them is a world apart, it’s a tough thing to wear both at the same time.

Let us know what your website url is when it’s up and running. Looking forward to a good read!


Hearing Concern Link

2 10 2008

Two charities for deaf and hard of hearing people with speech, Hearing Concern and Link, have merged. The new charity is called Hearing Concern Link and they have a snazzy new website.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing badges

1 06 2008


Do you find that other people don’t always look at you when they’re talking, and you miss what they’ve said? It’s very frustrating and it’s not nice to have to constantly ask them to repeat themselves.

One solution is to wear a badge that says you are a lipreader or deaf. Simply pin it to your coat lapel or sweater. You can obtain badges from Hearing Concern Link.

New deaf blog

10 03 2008

My friend Lette has set up a blog for the Irish readers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Go check out Say What? Ireland.

Where’s your deaf identity?

21 01 2008

I’ve grown up feeling like I’m part of a different race, that I’m an ‘In-Between’.

I wasn’t hearing (because, obviously, I can’t hear) and was seen as Different by the hearing world. I wasn’t Deaf according to Deaf Culture (because I didn’t sign). There is a part of the deaf community that feels strongly that deaf people who can’t sign (BSL) aren’t really deaf. To me, that just shows ignorance, or would someone please explain this one to me.

I’ve not grown up signing because it was my parents’ choice that I should be able to speak and fit into the hearing world. This would maximise my opportunities for getting on in education and work. If I was only able to sign, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today – I would have missed out on so many opportunities. I see BSL as a way to *enhance* my communication skills. I believe in total communication – use whatever you have, and don’t rely on just one method of communication if one method is more problematic for you. There is no reason why a deaf person can’t learn to speak and use speech as a means to communicate. Relying only on BSL is being lazy and expecting hearing people to conform to your BSL world is selfish and inflexible. Yes, hearing people do expect you to be able to fit in and use their means of communication, but they are in the majority. They will try to meet you half way and accommodate you, if you try to accommodate them by using speech.

I just don’t understand why BSL 1st language users feel the need to exclude other deaf people and put themselves up on a pedestal saying “BSL Culture” is special – it’s not. Deaf culture need not be exclusive. By excluding other deaf people, they are shrinking deaf culture! If BSL users want “their” culture to grow then they have to accept newcomers. How am I not deaf if I can’t hear? Where is the logic in this? BSL users say they don’t need assistance therefore they are not deaf. How am I not deaf if I don’t need any assistance for my disability? Of course I need assistance – I need technical aids to communication (textphone, flashing fire alert, pager) and human aids to communication (interpreter, lip speaker, palantypist, Hearing Dog). Some hearing people become deaf due to medical injury and decide to learn BSL, like my friend Jeanette. According to a lifelong BSL user, she is not deaf and therefore not a part of deaf culture, and does not have a deaf identity. I find this very hard to understand. Can anyone enlighten me?

I find deaf culture and BSL is very interesting as I have struggled, believe me it has been damn hard sometimes, to get on at university without communication support, to get on in the world of work, to have a decent social life. The social life is the hardest one to overcome and the only way to really make a success of that is to learn some sign language and meet other deaf people. Learning sign language has opened up new doors for me and made my life much richer. So I felt as if I had been slapped in the face when I was told by a whole group of BSL users that I was not deaf because I couldn’t sign (at the time) – this happened on a training course for deaf people. If this is the attitude of today’s Deaf BSL users, they need to wake up and think this through properly. Deaf isn’t about being able to sign and not to communicate with people who don’t sign, it’s about being unable to hear and having to make adjustments to make real communication a possibility. To be sure, becoming deaf or being deaf and stuck in a hearing world is difficult and you will embark on a ‘journey’ of self-acceptance and acceptance of your hearing loss, before discovering your deaf identity. Now that I can sign up to a point, and have met other deaf people, I have developed my own sense of identity and accepted that yes, I am deaf, yes I do need communication support, yes I am not hearing, and yes, I am happy with being deaf. I’m at the end of my journey.

Basically, I’m a hearing person with ears that aren’t perfect. I’m a human being too, I just happen to have a hearing loss. If you don’t like it, if it doesn’t fit in with what a hearing person thinks I should be able to do, well that’s tough. This is me. I’M DEAF. DEAL WITH IT.

See Hear are researching identity issues between the deaf and Hard of Hearing. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Angela Spielsinger on the See Hear team angela.spielsinger at

Angela would like some stories on experiences of Hard of Hearing people who were brought up in mainstream education and their preferred method of communication is oral, this resulting in issues of feeling torn between two worlds, where they felt they couldn’t fit into either the deaf or hearing world.

Many people are not aware what it means to be hard of hearing, so See Hear want to research this for future possible stories. They are looking for stories that are based on past experiences or issues occurring today.

If you want more details, please contact Angela.