Life for the deaf and hard of hearing may have changed significantly in the recent past, with greater awareness, provision of captioning and greater use of interpreters in film and television, as well as new technologies providing solutions for many, yet some hurdles have stayed the same.
Our latest storyteller on the Platform is Ellie (also called E) and known as Deafie Blogger. She is someone who knows what living life navigating those hurdles is like, and is using her passion about deaf awareness and campaigning for deaf rights, to encourage others not to let deafness stand in the way of achieving their goals.
E is all about embracing her deafness and sharing her challenges and experiences and we are so happy to support her and the work she is doing in making the world a more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming place for all.
Tell us about yourself
I’m E, also known as Deafie Blogger. I live in England.
What has been your journey of disability?
I am profoundly deaf and have been since birth. I communicate with speech and lipreading and know British Sign Language Level 2 standard. I wear hearing aids.
How do you spend your time?
I am an Events Fundraiser for a big deaf organisation here in the UK. When I get a free moment, I write blogs, campaign for deaf rights and #SubtitledCinema, as well as posting fun content on social media!
Are there things about you that people misunderstand because of your disability?
Definitely. Deafness is an invisible disability. People often make assumptions like you can only be deaf from old age, or all deaf people use sign language, or can’t speak. Every deaf person is different! Communication is a massive barrier for deaf people, as hearing people sometimes are afraid or don’t know how to approach or communicate with deaf people but a little awareness goes a long way.
“Not all deaf people use sign language, every deaf person is different. “
Where do you get inspiration from?
No particular person… I’m inspired by many people and different things! I like inspiration from motivational quotes and family members who have brought me up, teaching me the best things in life. Also learning from experience and life around you. Inspired by my goals in life!
Which three words would you use to describe yourself?
Friendly, hard-working and passionate.
“Communication is a two-way process, we’re willing to make it work if you do.”
What is one thing, experience or person you have had that completely changed your life?
Doing a tandem skydive… twice! If you can do that, you can do anything! Plus, it was FUN!
Who or what has been the most significant influences on who you are today?
My mum has had a massive influence. She has been there for me since day one as a stay at home mum, through the diagnosis of having a profoundly deaf baby, to helping me to learn how to talk, through education, the highs lows, tiredness and tears, to see me succeed the other end, to the career I have today. She’s always there, no matter what!
What’s one thing about you that surprises people?
I did German A Level… there’s a misconception that deaf people can’t do foreign languages. There’s always a way around things!
For what are you most grateful today?
My family, my friends, the life experiences I’ve had. Being able to travel to see the world, and thankful for everyday as it comes. Life is too short; you have to live your best life.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Do the best you can, but always be prepared for life to change overnight. There will be bad days, but it will get better. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on what makes you happy, forget about the things and the people who don’t. You can do anything if you set your heart to it.
“Focus on what makes you happy, forget about the things and the people who don’t.”
Do you have a funny story or an experience that has happened only due to having a disability that you would like to share?
My media studies teacher once told me that I couldn’t do media because I’m deaf… I got a top grade – I’d love to tell her one day.
I was kicked out of a Golf Club because I was a health and safety liability because I’m deaf and can’t hear the balls flying – I laughed and walked out and never been back since!
People who see me using sign language ask me to teach them swear words… no thanks!
Is there something that you would like people to know about you or about people with disability that they might not know?
Not all deaf people use sign language, every deaf person is different. They have various levels of hearing loss, unique hearing technologies, they communicate in a variety of ways.
If you come across a deaf person, don’t be afraid! Speak normally, but clearly. If we don’t understand, please repeat it or write/type it down. Communication is a two-way process, we’re willing to make it work if you do.
“If you come across a deaf person, don’t be afraid!”
Do you have any advice or something you know that made a difference in your life journey that you would like to share with other women with disabilities?
My motto is ‘don’t let anything stand in the way of achieving your goals’, there’s always a way around situations, there’s things that can be changed/adapted. You must be strong and tell people what you need, otherwise they won’t know. Raise awareness wherever you go. If anything, try to make light of a bad situation, laugh it off as that’s the best way. Don’t let it get to you, be strong, rise above it.
To learn more about Ellie and her life and work, follow her on;