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.


29 12 2007

A friend was not happy at missing the last See Hear programme and that a repeat was not shown during the following week, as it was christmas week. She emailed the BBC on the 27th to complain. She got a reply today. Wow, they reply intelligently, they don’t fob you off, and they work on Saturdays!

Dear Mrs X

Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘See Hear’.

I understand you have been unable to access the 19 December edition of the programme and would like to know if there is any other way you can watch it.

I am pleased to inform you that the festive edition of this programme is scheduled for broadcast on 09 January at 01.25am. As this will be broadcast during the BBC One ‘Sign Zone’, it will appear in the late night listings for Tuesday 08 January. I would add that an edition of ‘See Hear’ is also broadcast at 01.25am on 03 January during the ‘Sign Zone’.

I would suggest for future reference that you book-mark both the BBC ‘What’s On website and the ‘Radio Times’ homepage as both are the most accurate and reliable sources of information on all BBC scheduling:

I hope that this goes some way in clarifying the situation and I would like to assure you that we have registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

Thank you once again for taking the trouble to contact the BBC with your concerns.


James Kelly
BBC Information
Have your say about the complaints process in the BBC Trust’s current public consultation –