To Men: Do You Like to Message Women? Read this.

I wanted to make this post, as I feel it is very important, with what has happened recently with the sad death of Sarah Everard, and the reaction to it from the public, women in particular. While I think it is very important for us women to make it known what happens or could happen to us when we are out in public (I’ve had a LOT of experiences there, and may make a blog post about it sometime), and ask for help to keep us safe, I think it is important not to forget the interactions we get from men online. Some of it can be damaging, dangerous even. 

I am going to give examples of some messages  I have received from men online. Some of them are very explicit and incredibly horrific and awkward, but I think it is important that men and other people understand that it is very unsettling and distressing to get those messages. Some of them are from when I was very young. I will also point out my relationship to the person that sent the messages, to make it clear that us women get them from a very wide variety of men. Some we know, and some we don’t.

‘I want to fuck a white girl before I leave [for Nigeria]’ (complete stranger)
In the above example, I was barely 16 years old.

‘I’m going to go down on you so hard you’ll be screaming’ (someone I used to know – not very well) 
I’ll point out here that I was only in touch with him as a friend. Nothing sexual. 

‘You have such a hot body’ (an ex-boyfriend from 10 years prior)
He got in touch with me out of the blue, and not once did I initiate a flirty conversation.

‘Hi sexy’ (I have received this from many, many men. Almost all are complete strangers who messaged me on Facebook or some other platform).

‘You are one fucking ugly girl. Good luck finding a man’ (complete stranger on a now extinct social media platform).

‘You’re coming to mine for dinner later [mobile number]’ (first message from a complete stranger on a reputable dating website).

‘Can I show you my penis?’ (someone I didn’t know that well).

‘I want to get naked, just for fun [goes to try and coerce me into getting naked too]’ (someone I didn’t know well).

There are a fair few examples there, but sadly, they are a very tiny amount of how many messages I have received from men. It is just the tip of the iceberg. I want to make it clear that most of them were on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Hi5 (from the dinosaur age – hehe!), and absolutely NOT from somewhere that invites messages of that nature. Nor did I ever, EVER instigate anything. 

Now I am going to speak directly to men. If you are respectful of women, and you have never sent a message of that nature, then fantastic, well done. If you have, or still do, I ask you: Does it make you feel good? Does it make you feel big and strong? Does it satisfy you sexually, mentally, or otherwise? Please note that it is not big, and it is not clever. You make us women feel degraded and unsafe. You might think you’re the ‘big man’, able to send women those messages from behind a screen, but you know what? You’re just disgusting, cowardly and vile. There are some genuinely nice men out there, but you give them all a bad name. Even now, I get anxious when strange men speak to me, which I think is very sad. I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

Think of it this way: if someone sent those messages to your mum/wife/sister/other important woman in your life, would you be happy? No? Or you’re not bothered? Then it’s time to change your ways.

Another way to think of it: imagine your son treating other women the way you treat them. Did it make you smile? No? Then, once again, it’s time to change. 

If you’re not taking to heart what I’m telling you right now, then it is time to change. 

If you’re not feeling the need to protect women in your life, and women in general, then it’s time to change. 

If you feel impacted by my message, and feel strongly about it, then I give you a big virtual hug. Thank you from me and all women. We need more people like you.

Now, I’d like to speak to child/teenage women and/or their parents. I remember being in my mid-teens and getting explicit messages online. Since we are in the digital age, this has become more and more commonplace. Please, please always remember that if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, block them and tell a trusted adult. You are not in the wrong, no matter what those men say. You should never feel embarrassed about telling someone you trust, they just want to protect you. And remember, it is likely that what those men are doing is illegal (messaging children, for example), and it is very important to tell someone, to stop it happening again to you, or to others like yourself. You are not in the wrong. 

Now a message for young boys/their parents. Please remember that it is not big or clever to send people nasty messages online. And it is important that you remember – your friends have no control over you. Please do not allow anyone to make you feel big and clever about sending women explicit messages. If you feel someone is pushing you to do this, please block them and tell a trusted adult. Never let anyone make you feel small for not wanting to do bad things. It takes a stronger man to say no, and a weaker one to follow the crowd. 

Thank you all so much for reading. I hope it brought out an important message, or two. Please share.

Thanks, have a lovely day.

Jenny xxx

Why it is Important to Respect Frontline and Key Workers

As we are in the pandemic, the most important people to us are the front-line workers. I’m talking about shop staff, NHS staff, police, education workers, and more. We may not think of them differently to how we thought of them pre-Covid, but the pressure on them and the demand in their jobs has increased tremendously. This has a negative effect on their physical and mental health, and I think it is very important to address this, and consider what we can do to make their lives easier and their work days a little more pleasant. 

One of the most important things to remember is that people who work with the public are NOT ROBOTS. They are real, living human beings, with flesh, a heart and feelings. Yes, they do have to be firm with people at times, but the majority of the time, there is a reason they need to do this, maybe for their workplace rules or health and safety, but more on that later. They don’t live at, nor sleep, breathe and eat their jobs, they have a family, a life and problems of their own. This is all too often not considered, because they are often the first or most pivotal beings that the general public will see.

I would like to talk about one of the most important things in life to you or me: respect from others. As mentioned, people who work with the public are also human, just like you, and it is important to treat them with the same respect and politeness that you would like to receive from others. If you would like to make a complaint or suggestion about something, most workers would only be too pleased to listen to you or advise you. However, the way you put your complaint is important, let’s have a look at two complaint examples; please choose who you’d prefer to help: 


‘Why the fuck did they speak to my child like that?! I’m sick of this shitty place and the way everyone behaves. Not coming again. Bye!’


‘I would like to make a complaint. I am very upset about the way [worker] spoke to my child, and I have some concerns about the behaviour of some staff. Please could you advise me?’

Out of those two examples, who would you prefer to help? The sweary, shouty, nasty one or the polite, clearly concerned one? If you were able to politely offload your complaint, a manager may be able to reassure you, and give you reasons for why the unpleasantness occurred, or even speak to the workers in question. However, if you’re nasty and vocal, no-one will want to help you, and you’ll just make yourself more angry, and you may upset others. And you will make yourself look like the one in the wrong. 

As mentioned above, there are times that public workers will have to be firm with people who come to their workplace. This, for the most part, is not a reason to complain or get too upset about. Public workers are trained in their jobs, and likely receive occasional updated training related to their jobs, health and safety, and current circumstances. 

I’ll give an example of a health and safety rule for clarification. When I worked in a theatre, we had to MAKE SURE that the auditorium aisles were clear, for two very simple reasons: one being that if someone has to walk up the aisle in the dark to go to the toilet or something, they would trip and ultimately suffer an injury. The other reason is fire and evacuation safety. While it may seem ridiculous that you cannot have a small bag in the aisle, if 1,000 people had to jump up and exit the auditorium with a second’s notice, a bag in the aisle could cause someone to trip, which subsequently would cause a pile-up, which then would cause delays in getting out, and even cause injury or risk to life. 

Other workplaces will have different rules, but it is important to remember that public workers do not make up the rules as they go along, just to spoil your fun or make you angry. They are just ENFORCING the rules to ensure yours and others happiness and safety. Just remember that public workers know and are trained to enforce the rules, and they know way more than you do about their own job, so if they tell you to/not to do something, it is best to abide. 

But how you react to them enforcing a rule is important too. Once, in the theatre, I had a tall, muscly man stand up, tower over me, and whisper-shout (is that a thing?) in my face. What did I say to make him do that? I’ll tell you what my exact words were:

‘Sir, would you mind switching your phone off, please?’

[Side note – I just want to clarify that most of the issues I’ve had with the public are very mild and inconsequential compared to people working with the public during Covid, but I just wanted to emphasise that it doesn’t take much for someone to react negatively.]

We were in a theatre. And we HAD to make sure everyone’s phones were switched off during shows. Some rules may be annoying, but it is public workers’ jobs to make sure everyone is happy as well as safe. There also can’t be one rule for one person and another for others. This would be unfair. Also, it is impossible to please everyone. Just imagine what it would be like, and how many complaints would fly around if everyone was allowed to run amok and do whatever they wanted. Not to mention the health and safety implications. 

I would like to go back to talking about public workers being human. Because we are in a pandemic, public places have drastically changed, and there is a massive (even I can’t comprehend how massive) increase in pressure on public workers. You might experience workers being short and irritable with you more often, and while I am in two minds about this behaviour, I would also like to consider the potential reasons for why they might be like that.

Imagine you’ve had a bad day. You were up late last night sorting things out/working/something else in your personal life, your child played up, you had an argument with your significant other, you are incredibly worried about something or someone, etc etc. And on top of that, because of Covid, the public are even more restless and likely to complain than usual. You’ve scarcely or not even had a break, or even a trip to the toilet (this would especially be true of NHS medical staff or police), you’re forced to grab a quick bite (only if you can) while rushing around. While public workers must make every effort to be polite and courteous, there are times when they might just slip into being a little short with someone. It’s unpleasant, but not personal. They’re just under a lot of pressure. It would lift their spirits or even make someone’s day if you just asked a simple ‘are you okay?’

Since the pandemic started, I’ve heard countless stories where public workers have been reduced to tears because they have been spoken to in a nasty and abusive manner by the public for things that are way out of their control, such as a supermarket not having an item a customer wanted. It makes me incredibly sad to hear about fellow human beings behaving like this; making others cry. Sure, you can make a sad face and say ‘ah, that’s annoying!’, but please NEVER EVER shout at the worker or make personal remarks. 

A quote I’d like to make now, that I think fits in here, and that is one of my favourites:

‘Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.’

‘Be Kind’ are the operative words. 

If you happen to come across a public worker, you never know what they are going through in their personal lives, nor do you know what they have experienced prior to seeing you on that day. A nice ‘hello’, or ‘how are you?’ or even a simple smile can do wonders for someone, whether they work in a shop, in education, are doctors, nurses, police officers, firemen etc etc etc. 

It is also imperative to remember that public workers are also the ones who put themselves at risk of Covid the most, out of everyone, and as it is their job, they barely have a choice. And they also have that added fear of working with the public: will they encounter a nasty person today? Will there be a shortage of a certain product, which will cause bedlam in the supermarket? Will someone cough on them, just to be nasty (yes, I’ve seen videos of people doing this)? 

I’ll end this blog post with these words: 

Be. Kind. 

Many thanks for reading, and please feel free to share. 

Much love,

Jenny xxx

Why You Should Never Ridicule People for Loving Their Pets So Much

Today I’m going to talk about something that’s a little different to what I’ve written before. Those who know me will know that I’m a huge cat lover, and am currently owned by two little cuties.

But it does make me sad when I see people ridiculing others for loving their pets like family, and saying things like ‘it’s just a cat/dog/rabbit/etc’ when something happens to them, or sometimes worse. I’m not expecting non-animal lovers to change their feelings about animals, but I do expect them to respect how we feel.

In my view, animals are ‘beings’ too, just like us. They think, feel and hurt, just like us. They may not be able to communicate as accurately as humans, but they do have their own way of communicating with us and each other. All you have to do is really listen to them.

An important point to make here is that – animals are a LOT smarter than a lot of people think! I’ve met someone who was in his 20s when he realised that cats do have their own personalities (they do!). And from having cats all my life, I’ve realised that if I repeat the same thing over and over with an action, they will begin to make the connection and understand what I’m saying.

What’s more – it has been scientifically proven that it is possible to love a pet just as much as your own child:

Again, I don’t expect non-animal lovers to understand how we can love animals as much as your own offspring, but I do love my cats as if they were my family. Of course, I don’t treat them the same way as I would a child (much! Heh heh), but the love I feel for them is just as strong as the love I feel for my family.

But it does go deeper than that. The next topic I’m going to discuss is something I really don’t like talking about, as it’s a sensitive thing with me, but I feel it is important to try and get the message across. Animals don’t live as long as humans. In the past, when my pets have passed away, I have grieved for them just as much as I would a human – and I still do grieve and miss them. And I’ve heard some people saying that, for them, losing a pet was akin to losing their child, but the deeper feeling for them was that they would never lose their child, but they will lose their pet. It is beyond painful. So please do refrain from saying ‘it’s just a [pet]’.

Also, for some people, their pet is their only comfort, or even the only being that they can truly feel at peace with. My two girls for example, were born at a time when life was almost unbearable for me. They gave me a reason to keep myself going, and get myself up in the morning. Also, as I live alone, and we are in the midst of a pandemic, they are the only living things I can cuddle, and interact with. I really don’t know where I’d be without them. For some people, when they are going through difficult times, their pets are a real source of comfort. They do make us feel better.

Another important thing to remember is that pets come with a big responsibility. Of course, you don’t have to watch them as much as you would a child, but you do have to feed them and cater to their needs, and you can’t leave them alone for too long periods of time. I’ve had people not understand or even ridicule me when I’ve said I can’t go out, can’t stay over or will have to come out later, because I have to get home to my cats. This only happens when (for example) I’ve been at work/somewhere else all day, and they’ve been alone for many hours, which is not fair on them. Please remember that pet owners are responsible for those animals, and also the animals cannot understand why they are alone for so long, nor can we explain it to them. Pets must always come first before our social life.

Next time you want to tease an animal lover for the way they treat/view their pets, please, please think first. I don’t mind the odd jive about how my cats own my flat and just let me live there while I pay the bills (harhar), but if someone jokes to me: ‘I’m going to kill your cats’, or mimic swinging a cat against a wall (yes, I’ve had those said and done to me), it really hurts. Imagine if someone made that same jive about your mother, father, wife, husband, would you find it funny? No. Didn’t think so.

Many thanks for reading!

Much love,

Jenny xxx

‘Never Mind’

I would like to talk about the infamous

‘Never Mind’.

It comes in many forms, such as:

‘It’s not that funny anyway’
‘I’ll tell you later’
‘It’s not important’
‘Don’t worry’

Ask any deaf person, and I can almost guarantee they will tell you they don’t like it. It may be insignificant to you, but it does have a huge (I’m talking HUGE) impact. It’s painful, very painful, and it’s isolating. Why? Let me explain.

First of all, I’d like to do an exercise.

In a minute, I’m going to ask you to close your eyes. With your eyes closed, I’d like you to imagine you are sitting in a pub, or at a party with a fun group of people. Everyone is talking and laughing. There is a big, fun atmosphere, and everyone is enjoying themselves. BUT…nobody speaks the same language as you. Close your eyes and imagine that for at least a minute, and try and really feel it. How do you feel?

Now, take a look at these:

NVM (1) NM2

This is the reality. Imagine that you get told to ‘Never Mind’ so many times, you would eventually just stop asking. If you’re at a social gathering or event, and a deaf person is sitting quietly, not joining in the conversation, it is very likely that they do not want to be left out, nor do they want to sit and just watch everyone talking. They’re just afraid of a getting variation of ‘Never Mind’. I can tell you, when I am sitting and not in the conversation, I feel embarrassed and lonely. But I do not want to leave, because I still want to be part of the group, and I want to have fun, as well as make new friends. But at the same time, it is humiliating, sitting there alone. It’s a constant internal struggle.

Part of that struggle is feeling misunderstood. Maybe we’re bubbly, fun people, but are seen as quiet and uninvolved. In reality, communication between deaf and hearing people is a two-way street.

Of course, we don’t want you to be constantly watching us to make sure we’re feeling included or part of the conversation. That would be exhausting for you, and we want to be INVOLVED with you, we don’t want you to have to work for that. We’re not expecting you to drop everything for us. All we ask is that you be aware, and maybe drop in a little sentence or ask us a question linked to the conversation if you see we’re not following. And above all, refrain from saying ‘Never Mind’.

Of course, the issue of ‘Never Mind’ isn’t just limited to group conversations. It also links to one-on-one and ‘in passing’ or check-in conversations. Here’s a quote I found on another blog that I think fits in here:

“Never mind.  It’s not important.  I’ll tell you later.  To a hearing impaired person, saying those words is comparable to letting a door slam on a person in a wheelchair who is trying to enter a room.  It’s like leaving a blind person standing on a curb when you know they are unable to maneuver across busy traffic.”

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, there are several different types of deafness, and several different devices that people use, if any – some may choose not to, and some may speak, some may sign, some may use both. But even if a deaf person (myself included) has good hearing devices and can hear reasonably well, we still have days where we are tired, unwell, distracted, worried, etc. This can have an impact on our communication, and we may ask you to repeat yourself more often at those times.

Also, we do understand (to a degree) that it is frustrating for you to have to repeat yourselves, please try not to let that show. We can see the frustration on your face, and it does hurt. It makes us afraid to ask again. Also, who is this more frustrating for? I’d like to explain this visually:


So, how can you help?

In a group setting: I don’t want you to transcribe the whole conversation word for word,  as all I want is to be involved with you. What I find most helpful is – if there’s a general conversation – someone tells me something linked to what the conversation is about, or even asks me a question linked to it, or simply gives me the context. That way, I can easily find my way into the conversation, and can easily join in. With other deaf people, it may be similar, but it’s always best to ask them. Again, here’s a visual:

road (2)

The main road is the conversation. Sometimes we lose track (going off into a slip road), and saying ‘Never Mind’ will send us off in a completely different direction, whereas, just giving us a little hint will bring us back to the main conversation.

The biggest and best way to help: Stop saying Never Mind! If you’ve ever said it to a deaf person, and you feel confident/want to do this, you could approach them and say you are aware you’ve done it, and that you’ll try to stop. It can be nerve wracking to do this, but honestly, we would really appreciate it, and it would make us feel a lot more confident!

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to two external links to other (short!) posts of the same topic, which I also found really helpful, and has more information:

Many thanks for reading, and much love.

Jenny xxx


The Dangers of Shaming on Social Media and the Damage it Does to People

We live in an age where it is almost impossible to escape social media. This comes with many pros and cons. A major upside is being able to keep in touch with many people, without having to wait days or weeks for a letter. Another upside is being able to share photos and positive things in your lives.

A major downside that I would like to talk about in this blog post is the filming/photographing and sharing of footage of other people. I don’t condone violence or disrespect to other people at all, but I also think people should think before sharing certain things. Social media can be degrading, even dangerous at times. I will be looking at some examples of sharing, and explaining why I think they should not have been shared. I hope this blog will encourage people to think about the way they behave on social media.

The problem with Facebook is that anyone can upload photos and share stories. There have been times when someone is embarrassed or upset by a photo, and asked the uploader to take it down, only to have them refuse. This has happened to me twice, so I know how upsetting and degrading it is. It was years before one of my ‘friends’ agreed to remove a certain degrading photo of me, which was set to public – for everyone to see. I won’t explain why, but this almost had very dangerous implications for me.

I have also very recently seen someone I know sharing a conversation with someone else, naming and shaming them. I agree that sometimes people do wrong things, but I disagree with sharing their wrongdoings, especially if it is something that only annoys people, but is not particularly dangerous.

Another ‘share’ I saw recently was of someone who did something evil (I won’t go into detail to protect their and the sharer’s privacy), from what I know, they seem like an awful person who has done despicable things. Yet, when one of their evil acts was shared along with a clear photo of their face, many, many people commented, with intentions and threats to beat them up, even kill them. In my view, threatening to beat someone up, or actually doing so makes the other person just as bad.

However, sharing photos of friends and refusal to remove them is just the tip of the iceberg. There are photos and videos being made public and spread widely around. It is true that the police or general public do need to share footage to obtain information for a crime, but there are many posts and videos that are very unfairly shared without permission.

An important thing I would like to discuss is – we don’t know people’s backgrounds. We don’t know if people are going through bereavement, mental health issues, bullying, abuse, and so on. What impact do you think having footage of themselves shared widely on the internet will have on those people?

I’ll explain this with an example. I saw a video of a young girl of about 7 or 8 throwing a fit because her phone was taken away from her on a plane. A lady who I assume is her mother, was trying her best to restrain her, and was absolutely crying her eyes out. She was obviously very distressed. Yet, this video was shared far and wide on the internet. The same is true for other videos that people have filmed of child temper tantrums. Again, we don’t know their background. Maybe the parents are already having difficulties with their child. How will they feel if they are constantly being branded ‘bad parents’ by social media? How will they feel about their children then?

What we *do* see is the child having a tantrum. What we *don’t* see is the family’s background. Maybe that child is autistic, has behavioural problems, is being bullied, has a difficult home life, etc. The same is true for the parents and other people who unwillingly and unknowingly have footage shared of them on the internet – we don’t know their backgrounds.

If someone – child or adult – is being bullied or abused, what do you think will happen to them if the perpetrator happens to see footage of them on social media? It will absolutely not help with their situation. If a child has been taken from their parents for neglect or abuse and their biological parents see the videos, this could be downright dangerous for them. Adults/anyone being abused or bullied could face danger in this situation too.

Also, what we see in social media footage is only one tiny part of their lives. Maybe someone is going through a bad time, and is reacting badly, but they may not behave like that at other times. I have seen a video of a lady screaming and crying while stuck in traffic, and many people commented, ridiculing her. Again, her behaviour could be because she is on her way to see a dying relative in hospital, or she could have just got a huge shock. She was alone, and had no-one with her at the time to console her. Maybe she did not have anyone in her life at all to fall back on. Maybe she just needed an outlet.

Another example of the damage social media sharing can do is this story:

An exhausted mother, stuck at an airport for 20 hours with her two-month old daughter was shamed for putting her baby on the airport floor while she was on her phone. She goes on to explain that her daughter had been held or in a carrier for a very long time, and needed to stretch out freely, and also, she needed to contact family, which is why she was on her phone. However, social media screamed ‘bad mother’. She mentions that she was terrified of this having an impact on her job as a nurse – she feared she could have been forbidden to work with infants.

This leads me to talk more about the impact sharing footage of other people has on their lives. They could lose jobs, they could be in disgrace or disowned by their friends and families. It could wreck their lives entirely. For the most part (or even just a little part), the footage shared could only be a very tiny part of what was actually happening. The mother above for example, you didn’t see her holding or feeding her daughter, you only saw the part where her daughter was on the floor. The same is true for much other footage shared – there is a lot you don’t see.

Footage can be removed from the internet, but something very problematic is that potentially hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of people have already seen it. It has been erased from the internet, but it cannot be erased from people’s minds.

I would also like to talk about celebrities and those who have jobs that make them widely known. As most of us know, Caroline Flack committed suicide after committing an assault on her husband. Yes, Assaulting someone is wrong – very wrong, but again, we only know what the media has speculated and spread for everyone to read. She could have regretted and hated herself for what she did, but the media blowing things out of proportion alongside the general public hating on her and coming up with their own conclusions could have had an a very bad impact for her. Yes, she is a celebrity, but she is also human.

It is sad that there is more pressure on celebrities when something happens in their lives, only to have it spread around by the media/the general public. Yes, they do live part of their lives in the spotlight, but their private lives are a different story. You may think you know everything about them, but in reality, you hardly know anything.

The same is true for actors being criticised for their work in theatre shows and films. Because they are more in the spotlight for their work, the pressure is huge for them. If a critic demoralises an actor for their performance, it could be spread quickly and cause them to lose work, even if it was just one critic who did not like their performance. It is better to give your opinion (even negatively) fairly, rather than drag people down.

As it is a huge thing right now, I am going to touch upon the subject of Coronavirus. I have read horrific stories of people encountering racism, as well as other panic stories flying around. I find the racism part particularly awful, as the hurt racism causes people has a massive, massive negative impact on their lives. It could hurt them for the rest of their lives. It could make them depressed and isolated. The important thing to remember is that the spreading of words and footage on social media causes this. I think it is right to be cautious and work towards preventing the spread of Coronavirus, but the over-panicking is unnecessary.

Think of footage sharing like a Chinese Whispers game. As the story gets passed along, it changes ever so slightly with each telling, so the end result is a completely different story to what actually happened. If you weren’t there, and if you only see two minutes of someone’s misdemenours, you know very, very little. It is important to remember that just because you read something on the internet, it does not mean it is the absolute truth.

If you are in doubt about sharing something – ASK. Ask another person if they mind their photo being on your social media – but always remove it if they ask you to. Ask someone else for their opinion if you are unsure whether to share something.

Parents: do, do educate your children about social media. Make sure they know they must remove photos if their friends ask them to. Make sure they know to talk to you if something is being shared about them and they don’t like it. This way, the problem can be dealt with quicker.

In conclusion, before posting something, always think to yourself – how would you feel if someone shared that about you? Are you degrading someone? Are you putting someone in danger? Always, always be aware of what you post.

Thanks for reading, I hope it was educational and informative.

Jenny xxx

The Life of a Deaf Child at School, and How You Can Help

Hi, and welcome to a new blog post!

In this one, I will be talking about what it is like to be deaf and in (school) education. I will be focusing on mainstream Primary Education as I feel that in Primary school, children are at the age where they are getting more independent, but still finding themselves and learning how to communicate their needs. They may not always understand why they are getting frustrated or tired, and the aim of this blog post is to try and help teachers and parents understand what it is like for a deaf school child. I would like people to understand where deaf children’s frustration and exhaustion is coming from.

Everything written here is my own view. If you do not agree with me, that is fine, but I am writing from the point of view of a deaf person who has experienced mainstream school life. There were times when I felt frustrated and tired, and there were times where things were a little unfair, but I have never fully realised why until fairly recently.

Extra teachers, extra equipment, extra sessions.

It is more than likely that a deaf child in mainstream education will have extra everything.


More often than not, a deaf child will be allocated a teacher to sit with them at all times during lessons. This alone points out that they are ‘different’ from everyone else. Those teachers are needed, yes, but it can come with some implications, which I will explain more about in other sections below.


Back in my day, I had a MASSIVE radio aid that I had to wear, first on a harness (in kindergarten, mind you!), then in a bumbag, and finally in my pocket. Luckily, such equipment has dramatically reduced in size, but (I assume) they also come with other issues, such as breaking down, needing collecting, etc.

If a piece of equipment should malfunction in the middle of a lesson, the child has to – more often than not – miss part of a lesson to sort it out, and then spend precious break or rest time catching up on the missed lesson. I agree that catching up on what they have missed is important, but at the same time, it is extra work having to go and get equipment fixed and then coming back to a lesson.

For a deaf child in mainstream education, they will be in the minority where equipment is concerned. It is natural for them to feel anger towards the equipment. One reason being the ‘why can’t I be like everyone else?’ mentality and another being the ‘ I’m being weighed down by all this extra stuff I have to wear and carry’ mentality. Yes, it is important to encourage them to wear it, but please do remember that sometimes they would like some time away from it, to fit in with their peers, or to just get a little break. Heavy forcing can have negative implications.

Another issue with extra equipment is they need to be collected from a deaf centre/unit every morning. One memory I have of Secondary school is: I got a taxi to and from school. If the taxi was late or there was traffic, I would be late through no fault of my own. One such morning, I arrived at school with two minutes until the bell for registration would go. I had an agonising decision to make: should I go to the Unit and get my equipment and be late for registration and risk detention, or go straight to registration and get into trouble for not having my equipment? I chose the latter.

My point in telling the above story is that I want to make people aware that deaf children have extra responsibility in the morning and I find it very, very unfair that they will get into trouble for this. Yes, it is important to get to school on time, but sometimes things are out of their control. This just adds to their frustration about school life.

Extra sessions

More often than not, deaf children will have extra sessions, apart from the usual school lessons and one-on-one sessions at the same time as the main lessons. I won’t lie, when I was in primary school, some teachers made them fun, and I sometimes even got to take a classmate with me, which they loved. But the important thing to remember is that some children do those extra sessions ON TOP of school lessons. which means extra concentration and extra learning.

I do agree with one-on-one sessions, especially if you learn through games and such. It is beneficial for deaf children to learn quicker that way. But I would say the best way to do this would be maybe once or twice a week – or even once a day – during an actual lesson. That way, deaf children would get that extra time to learn, but also they would not miss out on much-needed play and switch-off time. Bringing in another child from their class would also mean they have a chance to bond with other children more easily, since it is harder for deaf children to interact with their peers in a big group.


Being a deaf child can lead to concentration fatigue. There are a few very good blog posts that tackle this topic:

I know I am adding on a lot more reading to this blog post, but I really recommend reading those blog posts. For me, reading them was like reading about myself at school.
I won’t go too much into it, as the posts above cover a lot. But essentially, I would like to mention that all deaf children have different methods of communication, and they can all be exhausting. Why? Because deaf children need to concentrate extra hard. Even if they have the same structure to their day as their hearing peers, they are doing so with extra concentration.

Remember, deaf children (and deaf people in general) are adapting for YOU, more than you are adapting for them. You may have adaptations put in place for deaf children, but they are still adapting to fit in a predominantly hearing world, which is much more hard work.

Yes, deaf children do need to be reminded to concentrate, but please agree with the deaf child of a way of doing this. I remember in school, one teacher would click her fingers right in my face to make me concentrate. I HATED that. I also remember a teacher holding up a sign saying ‘Jenny – pay attention!’ I did not mind that so much at the time, but looking back, it was a bit much.

Also, where possible, allow a deaf child to have a one or two minute eye break. As mentioned, they are adapting for you, and concentrating ALL DAY, and most likely go home with a headache or extreme fatigue. Maybe even allow them to go out of the room, and walk up and down the corridor, or sit alone for a minute. This can work wonders for their fatigue.

Telling off

To start this section, I want to mention that I agree that bad behaviour does need to be rectified. Children do need to learn that there will be consequences for their actions. But also, most children will misbehave at one time or other, which warrants a telling off or disciplinary action. They are children, and learning about life after all!

The absolutely important thing to remember is that – as mentioned above – deaf children will likely have an extra teacher, which means they will get double the telling off, at different times. And if their parents are told, they will likely get yet another telling off at home.

Hearing children will get less. Is this fair? I don’t think so. And also, don’t forget that deaf children will be more likely to be told off for not concentrating, for playing up because they are exhausted, or some other reason. Being told off is negative, and too much of it can have a big impact on their lives and the way they view their hearing peers and authorities.

Being kept out of certain classes/not being given a choice

Sometimes there will be a class or session/outing where it is assumed it would be too difficult for a deaf child to be involved in. In some cases, yes, this is true, but unless you try, how will you know?

In cases like these, I would like to ask you – do you THINK they cannot get involved, or do you KNOW they cannot?

If you THINK they cannot, it is simply not good enough to exclude them. Also, you cannot KNOW, as each and every deaf child is different, and sometimes they may feel they are able to do one thing, then feel different about something similar, because they are exhausted.

How can you resolve this? Take them aside and ask them if they would like to try. Never assume.

Also, please remember, They may also be getting purposefully excluded by their peers. I remember when I was in secondary school, one of my classmates excluded me from a game they were playing because it was ‘guess the tune’. I know for sure that I would be able to participate, or at least try, but no, I was left out. If you suspect this, do encourage the deaf child to be more assertive in cases like this, and also remind peers to INCLUDE.

I will mention (for the one and only time) a College experience I had that I think relates to this. I found out that I was excluded from Voice classes (I studied Performing Arts) without them consulting or even mentioning it to me. I (along with a CSW) decided to be assertive about this and bring it up with the head of the course, who apologised and agreed to let me partake in the classes.

However, being initially excluded made me very nervous. I remember quite early on, we were put into pairs and given an assignment: to create a 10 minute vocal warm-up session to try on the rest of the class. On the week and day I was to do mine, my partner was off sick a few times, and I was left to do it alone (which was all the more nerve-racking, being deaf and not in a clique). I managed to do my own part of the warm-up, which I had planned myself, and only managed to do 6 or 7 minutes. This resulted in me being harshly criticised, and made me feel very down.

This culminated in a few results: Firstly, I did not go back to those classes, out of choice. I felt it was unfair that I was excluded, then criticised for joining in. Secondly, this class was included in my certificate, and I got an ‘Unclassified’ for my trouble. Thirdly, I missed out on important actor vocal training.

Most of my vocal training has come from directors in shows I have been in, who have all been so incredible and understanding of my situation, which I am very grateful for.

Making friends

As previously mentioned, it can be harder for deaf children to make friends, for several reasons (Please check out my other blog post on deafness in social situations here). One main one being that it is harder to participate in large groups. One way to get round this problem would be to arrange a ‘play session’ (more about that above) for the deaf child and one or two of their peers, or even have a ‘deaf unit/centre’ playtime once a week, where all deaf children in the school are allowed to come, and bring one friend. This way, they would be able to make bonds with their peers, and be more likely to be included during play or breaktime.

Also, do (gently) encourage deaf children to mix with other children. But do not (deliberately or not) point out the differences between them and other children too pointedly. This only reminds the deaf child that they are different, and also reminds the other children of this too. By all means, do remind other children that they must be patient and understanding, and do remind them to include, but do this in a positive way.

At home (this part is mainly for parents)

After a long day at school, deaf children come home, having had double the load of concentration and learning than their hearing peers. When they get home, they will likely be exhausted and may want to switch their hearing aids or cochlear implant processors off for a bit. Do let them. If you force them to keep their devices on, they may start to resent those too (see the equipment section above), but do gently encourage them to wear them until bedtime or just before – I like to switch and take my processor off an hour before I go to bed, as a way of winding down, and giving my head and ear a break while I am awake.

They may also need some alone time, or some time run around and let go of some frustration. Where possible, do let them. It will soon be time for the big ‘H’.

Ah yes, the dreaded ‘H’ word. Homework! More often than not, your child will have homework. As I mentioned, deaf children will be exhausted from concentration fatigue, and doing homework is an extra, daunting task. Try and make it light-hearted and fun, without too much frustration, and plenty of praise. And do allow them to have a one-minute eye break every 15 minutes or so.

Concentration fatigue also is not limited to school. It is also included in home life. Family gatherings, outings or other doings also require concentration.

I would like to try and show a visual demonstration of the difference between what a hearing child and deaf child have to carry through their school day in the hope it will make an impact. I am not saying some hearing children do not face discrimination or difficulties, as this will happen to others too, but in this instance, I am focusing on a deaf child’s point of view.

DEAF                                                           HEARING
School lessons                                           School lessons
Telling off                                                   Telling off
Telling off                                                   Homework
Telling off                                                   Worrying about lessons
Worrying about lessons
Worrying about the fact they are ‘different’
Trying to fit in
Difficulties with communication
Trying to assert themselves
HA/CI/Listening equipment
More concentration in school
More concentration outside of school
Facing discrimination

In conclusion, I think it would be a good idea to sit down one-to-one with each deaf child once a month, and ask them how they are getting on. Ask them if there is something they would like adapted (such as eye breaks), and try to reach an agreement together – you do not have to drop everything for them, but making things work with a deaf child is a two-way street.

Just to reiterate, the deaf child is the one making the most adaptations in their life. They are the ones having to carry a lot more. They are the ones who get more exhausted than their peers. And they are the ones who are being constantly told to concentrate, sort their equipment, and many other things. They have to deal with having to ask people to repeat themselves (and often will get the sigh of exasperation). All of the above and many more could cause them to act up more out of frustration. Please be mindful of this.

Many thanks for reading. Please feel free to share!

Jenny xxx

The Fight For Access in the Theatre: The Other Side of the Story

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I was speaking to my colleague, who does a lot of work with deaf people and has experience in theatre/creative environments. It turns out we both have had very similar experiences when it comes to pushing for access in the theatre, but our points of view come more from the professional side, rather than an audience side, and we wanted to impress upon how important it is for both sides to work together, and we have noticed that a lot of deaf people have (rightly so) been pushing for access performances, and complaining that they are lacking, but there are no arguments from our (access provider) point of view.

Just to reiterate: my main ambition is to push for mainstream theatres to allow deaf actors in their shows – more on this will come in a future blog post.

Before I properly start, I would like to accentuate that I am not placing blame on any one persons or groups of people. I am passionate about making theatre more accessible for those who want to go, but I feel it is very important that people understand exactly why accessible performances seem to be lacking massively, and I wanted to point out that making access happen is a two-way street.

First of all, I would like to talk about respect. There have been several occasions where people have asked us (myself and my colleague, and likely lots of other people) to inform them personally when there is to be an access performance. We have gone out of our way to text or email people to let them know there is a BSL or captioned performance, only to get no reply. Not even a little ‘thank you’. The problem with this is that we are using our own FREE time to inform you of access performances. We understand if you cannot make it, but a little message saying ‘we cannot come, but thank you’ for our time and consideration would be very much appreciated.

The above has happened to me so often, that I have stopped sending out personal messages, and I now just write one general post on my Facebook page. But this does mean that it is more likely to be dismissed as a ‘chain’, and it also mean less people will be informed. I also want to make it clear that when I inform people of an access show, I am doing it in my own free time, and not being paid for it. But I do it because I am passionate about theatres continuing to provide access performances.

My colleague has on at least one occasion obtained free premium tickets for BSL shows in her workplace, which is no easy feat – we only get a limited number of free tickets. On the day, the people who were given the tickets did not show up, because they were too tired, and they failed to inform her or the theatre. This caused her a lot of embarrassment, as the box office in the theatre were aware that her free tickets went unused.

You may think that if your tickets are ‘free’, it does not matter whether you turn up or not, but it does. If you decide you do not want to come, that is absolutely fine, but your courtesy of informing the relevant people would be so very much appreciated. This means your tickets can be used by other people who would like to come, or the tickets could be sold to other general members of the public. Free tickets mean the theatre loses money.

This leads me to talk about funding. It is absolutely NOT cheap to produce an access show. Even if it is just one performance, the costs are still very high. The theatre has to pay for the interpreter/captions, as well as advertise the access performance. So much money and effort goes into it, so it is hardly surprising if they decide to have access performances less often if no deaf people turn up.

Also, in some places, they have a one-off integrated BSL performance – this means the BSL interpreter is involved in the action. When this happens, one public show has to be cancelled to allow for a rehearsal for the integrated show, which causes the theatre to lose revenue, and they still have to pay the interpreter and the actors in the show for that extra rehearsal. The actors also have to go out of their way to accommodate the interpreter, in a show they have been used to for months, and the interpreter has to note down his or her stage movements, and remember them when they are performing. This means there is a lot of work involved for a multitude of people.

I would also like to mention that I myself have sometimes been asked to ‘interpret’ for a few shows, but being deaf myself, this meant I have had to learn the ENTIRE script off by heart. I do not mind doing this, as it is good for my career, and it provides an accessible performance for those who need it. But, as mentioned, it is a LOT of work on my part. In one instance, I did three separate 1-hour-long shows in one week; it took up a LOT of my free time, as I was also actively (along with the theatre) advertising for the show, as well as learning the scripts and attending rehearsals in my *free* time.

After all that, no deaf people turned up to the shows I was doing. We could argue that the access is there for those who needed it, but it was a lot of work on my part, and a lot of thoughtfulness and free time that went into it. At this point, I agree that it is important to keep producing access shows, but I also started to understand why some places are getting reluctant to provide them.

I have also had discussions with people about how deaf people feel that theatre is ‘not for them’. This could be understandable, seeing as most shows have a predominantly hearing cast (again, I will write a blog post in the near future about this). I just wanted to emphasise that theatre is for anyone. ANYONE. And the whole point of providing access shows is for deaf people to be able to come and enjoy the theatre.

If theatres and friends of those who provide access were getting more communication and feedback, we may be more inclined to make more effort to provide more access shows. As mentioned before, it is a two-way street, and communication from all sides is very important. From a professional point of view, if or continuous efforts to provide access performances keep getting ignored, we will likely give up and stop fighting. Similarly, I have heard that some West End shows have stopped providing interpreted or captioned performances as often, or they provide them only at certain dates and times, due to lack of demand/interest.

I hope this blog post has given people food for thought, and I also hope it will encourage more people to give the theatre a try.

Many thanks for reading!

Much love,

Jenny xxx

(above photo (c) Alex Brenner (

Humorous Answers to Popular Questions People Ask Deaf People

Finding out someone is deaf can be hard to hear (pun intended), so for deaf awareness week, I’ve written a list of common questions and occurrences that us deaf people get on a regular basis. It is meant to be a laugh, no offence meant :).


Hearing aids/cochlear implants must be really annoying and uncomfortable to wear.

Well, I guess those huuuge ridiculous headphones you’re wearing must be the bane of your life.


You’re deaf? But….but….but….you can TALK?!

Well I’ll be damned!


Deaf people choose what they want to hear.

That is actually true. I can switch off my processor when I hear (har har) silly rumours like this.


(Exaggerated speech) HE-LLLOOOOO! H-O-O-O-O-WUH *pause* A-RE *pause* YOU! TO-DAY?

Please don’t exaggerate, it makes my eyes hurt.


You’re deaf? Awwwwwwww I’m SO SO SO sorry to hear that/awwww you must have a crap non-life/(something along the lines of that)

*tearfully* you’re right….it’s been hard for the past 32 years, but the next decade is where it’s going to get REALLY tough…


You’re deaf? Ohhh….SORRY…[wild windmill gesture]…..BUT…..I…..[wild point to self]….DO…[frantic nodding]….NOT….[wild hand flapping]….SIIIIGGGNNNNN…[wild hand movements]

Well, you’re doing a pretty good job….at making a fool of yourself. Well done. Oh and just so you know, some deaf people DO sign, and some don’t.


[Does a bunch of wild, unintelligible charade-like gestures]

I’ve almost cracked what you’re trying to say, could you please do it again, just make it a little bit bigger…wow, you should join the circus.


Oh!!! I know sign language!! [does ‘why don’t you f- off’ gesture]

Ooookeee…let me tell you what that LITERALLY means. Ready? N….Backwards N…Through….great!


You can’t be deaf, you don’t look deaf!

Right. We are born with gills, but they gradually disappear as we get older.


Oh you’re deaf? WOW! My cousin’s best friend’s brother’s wife’s dentist’s grandma’s best friend was deaf too/do you know them?

I have a friend who’s grandma’s best friend’s daughter’s pediatrician also wore glasses. Do you know them?


Deaf people cannot enjoy music.

Really? Wow. I guess I really wasted my time downloading all those showtunes. Thanks for informing me of this fact. Oh and just so you know, I can hear music with the aid of my cochlear implant, and I LOVE musical theatre! There are also deaf people who have no hearing aids at all, and can enjoy music by feeling the beats. Music has no limits :).


Deaf people cannot/shouldn’t drive, it’s too dangerous.

I passed my theory and practical driving tests first time. Now I have been driving for 13 years, and I have no insurance claims. But yeah, I guess it’s too dangerous. We might not SEE another car coming towards us. We might not SEE an ambulance in the rear-view. We might not SEE pedestrians crossing the road.


As a parting note: please do not be afraid to ask us deaf people questions; asking us questions does help to raise awareness. Just remember that some questions and statements can be derogatory or offensive. I believe that you can educate through humour, which is why I have made this blog post. Also, please do remember that deafness is not black and white; no two deaf people are the same, so please please do not make assumptions.

DO: ask us how we wish to communicate.
DO: treat us like you would any other human being. We are human too! 🙂
DO: be patient!! Sometimes we may ask you to repeat yourselves, especially if we are tired/emotional/drunk/busy and may not understand you the first time.
DO: include us in conversation.

DON’T: tell us what we shouldn’t/cannot do. We are the judges of what we can and can’t do. Just because one deaf person has something a specific way doesn’t mean we all do.
DON’T: assume.
DON’T: exaggerate with your speech and hand gestures.
DON’T: say “it doesn’t matter” or “never mind”
NEVER: say “I’m so sorry you’re deaf”
Hope you got a little laugh out of this blog post. Thanks for reading!

Much love,

Jenny xxx

My Experiences in Social Situations as a Deaf Individual

First of all, I would like to make a couple of disclaimers.

  • I am not trying to offend anybody. If you are offended by something I have written, I do apologise, but I am opening up, and explaining what the world is like for ME as an individual. Everybody has different opinions and experiences.
  • I do not want to start a controversial argument. As I previously stated, I am writing from MY OWN personal experiences. If you disagree with anything I say – no problem! Just remember, I am entitled to my own opinion, as are you. There is no reason for a falling-out, just because you disagree with what I say.
  • I am not writing this to pin the blame, or point the finger at people. I am NOT here to say ‘so-and-so did this!’, I am just (once again) writing from the heart, and explaining what life is like for me on a day-to-day basis, because if I don’t do this, how will people know?
  • In this post, “Awareness” is the operative word.

I would like to start off by saying that it is not my intention to write a sob-story, nor do I want people to think ‘oh, the poor thing!’, nor do I want to point out everything negative and depressing about being someone who just happens to have a hearing loss (I will have to be negative some of the time in this post, but it is the only way I can give a tiny insight into what life is like for me in general, and hopefully raise a little awareness), and finally, I am not asking for any ‘special treatment’ – I just want to be treated like any other human being.

I must strongly state that I do NOT wish for people to change their behaviour, or feel they have to adjust their actions just for me. Once again, I just want society to be aware of what life can be like for a deaf person, and that co-operation between deaf and hearing people is a two-way street, and both deaf and hearing people need to work together to be able to co-exist together.

To round off my introduction – I have a Cochlear Implant, that does help me to hear, and which has introduced me to a wonderful new world of sound. I can hear reasonably well with my CI, but as my CI is an assisted device, most of the work is down to me. I can follow conversations, and (depending on the person!) have conversations with some people without looking at their face. I do well with my CI, but there are times when I get tired, or there are certain situations that make concentrating a lot harder.

In this post, I will be using some quotes and statements from other people’s experiences, that I have found online, and that I found to be very similar to my own experiences.


Social situations and friendships/relationships

“Everybody’s yapping away. I don’t care if you’re the world’s best lipreader; while lipreading on a one-one basis is hard, but possible, compound the level of difficulty by the number of people present. You have mumblers, people with mustaches or weird mouth shapes, people who cover their mouths while they speak, people who look away while they speak, people with accents, and the list goes on. Lipreading is a process of decoding what is already limited information (only about 30% of speech is actually produced on the lips; the rest occurs inside the mouth and throat, and we’re not Superman with X-ray vision) and all of the above just further limits the amount of data that we have to work with in order to form an idea of what the correct statement actually was. And all of this work goes on while we’re continually trying to process the continual streams of data that keep coming in even as we’re still working on the previous data. In addition, Hearing people often talk over each other. By the time you’ve identified who was speaking, someone else says something, and you miss about half of that. And then there are the people who respond to comments made elsewhere in the room. It truly is an impossible task of exponential progressions in difficulty and diminished data.”

Which leads to:-

“Most of the time, you end up being ignored. Or maybe you’ll get greeted with the standard basic pleasantries, and then they’ll move on to the people they’d really rather be with. And if the other person knows you only on an acquaintanceship basis, you may just get a hand wave of acknowledgement, and that’s all.”

This is a fairly (not wholly) accurate representation of how I feel.

One problem is not being unable to fully engage in conversations as such, but when people meet in a social situation, and are able to converse while talking over each other, they form strong friendship bonds. Being less able to fully follow group conversations means I am less able to form those bonds. This is the point where, I feel, cliques form. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing (some people might feel closer to certain people), but sometimes I do feel singled out. When such cliques form, I feel myself getting more and more isolated. This may also because I have missed out on a fair few social protocols, simply because I am not able to hear them.

I do find sometimes that I try too hard to make and keep friendships, and, admittedly, I do get a little clingy sometimes. But this is because one emotion I do feel a lot is – loneliness. It is a horrible feeling. I am very social, and I do love making and keeping friendships, but when I am unable to fully patricipate in social situations, this becomes a lot harder, and it is very easy for me to (wrongly) give up too quickly, and start isolating myself, sometimes to make it less painful later on. Admittedly, I do sometimes feel angry and upset about this.

In a social situation where there is a big group, I can decipher conversations, just by knowing the context; if you see me looking a little lost, sometimes it helps if you just explain the context, then I will be able to follow the conversation to a degree. I am not expecting people to transcribe every single conversation for me.

Also, take time to get to know me personally! I may sometimes be quiet in social situations, but, like you, I am a human being. I love to meet new people and form new friendships, plus I have a very silly sense of humour!


“I’ve felt like I’m the last person to know about things. I’m constantly surprised when something happened or changed.”

“It seems like a solution is just to ask more questions.”

This is how I feel sometimes. I do realise that I ask a lot of questions about ‘what’s going on?’ and this can be annoying, but there are times when I have missed out on information, and people suddenly get up to leave, or something happens later that I was unaware of. One example is, when I was out with a big group in a bar, and the bar was closing, everyone got up to leave. Once outside, the group split into two, one group walked one way, the other group walked another. I had no idea what was happening, but I later found out that one group was headed to another bar, and that everyone who wanted to go too was welcome. I missed out on this because it was such a big group, and ‘where shall we go next?’ was discussed in the hustle and bustle of the bar.


I am going to touch a little on romantic relationships (I won’t go to far into it, because, for me, it’s a little personal, but I feel it is important to just mention it).

“Being deaf especially sucks when it comes to love. You can’t ever love someone unless you’ve talked to them. So how do you communicate effectively? Everything I’ve ever thought of is awkward, because none of them are ever normal. Social norms are norms because they are what people expect.”

This is a little (not fully) accurate for me. I am currently single, and would someday like to meet ‘the one’. I am trying to keep a positive mind about this, but it may take me a little longer, considering difficulties in social situations, and sometimes feeling isolated from social situations.



Speaking FOR me

Okay, this is something that REALLY bugs me. Some examples of this (which have actually happened) is:

[all said in front of me]

“Stop making that noise, Jenny won’t like it.”
“We can’t go there, it’ll be too difficult for Jenny”
“You need to make sure you LOOK at Jenny when you are speaking”
“I she [points at me] profoundly deaf, or?”

I am 31 years old. I consider myself to be perfectly capable, and perfectly able to speak for myself. Granted, some people might find meeting a deaf person for the first time a little daunting, and that is totally understandable, but to speak on my behalf in front of me, or even behind my back, without asking me is just plain rude.

How you can help: ASK ME! It may be a little daunting, but, like you, I am a human being. I understand your worries, and I will not get offended about people asking me about my hearing loss. What I DO find offensive is people making their own minds up for me.



This is something else that really gets my goat. I have had people assuming that because I have a hearing loss, I simply must have other disabilities/ailments. I am NOT saying that there is anything wrong with having other disabilities; I am just saying that it is always better to ASK than assume. Everybody is different.

Also, when I first meet some people, and they realise I am deaf, I sometimes get the response: “Sorry! I cannot sign!”. Well, here’s some news: not all deaf people sign! Yes, I can use BSL, but I did not learn that until later in life. I consider myself an all-rounder, but my main language is spoken English.

If people prefer to use only sign language to communicate – fantastic! We are all entitled to choose how we wish to communicate, and it is up to society in general to ASK US what our preferred communication method is.

Also (I find this the most difficult to talk about, as it can be controversial), people assume that I am ‘part of the deaf world’. Like I said before, I don’t like cliques, and I do not consider myself to be part of any ‘world’. I think the deaf community is fantastic, and it is great that there is such a community where deaf people can go to feel included, and I will attend certain events, but I am not a huge fan of separating myself between the deaf and hearing worlds. I prefer to just get along with everyone.

Another assumption that makes me roll my eyes MASSIVELY: “I couldn’t be deaf, I love music too much”, or, more offensively, “If I was deaf and couldn’t hear music, I would shoot myself”.

Newsflash….I have been profoundly deaf since birth, and I am a HUGE musical theatre lover! I have an iPod, and it is full of showtunes. Plus, you should see me when I am on a road trip, and blasting out music in the car :-). Deaf people CAN enjoy music too!

Plus, I don’t sing with my voice, but I DO sing with my hands in BSL! I LOVE doing this, and I have done it professionally, being a trained actress.

To round off this section – it is always best to ASK than assume.


I know this blog post has been very long, but I have felt the need to open up and speak from the heart. Another point I wanted to make was – even though I do face some barriers, I am happy with the way I am. I would not wish to not be deaf. I am Jenny. I am ME.

My next blog post will be about being a deaf individual in the performing arts industry, and will include music! :-).

Thanks again, much love,

Jenny xxx

Cochlear implants: Need they be such a controversy?

Do I have a cochlear implant (CI)? Yes.

Am I proud of it? Heck, yes!

But there are some uninformed prejudices floating around on the internet about CIs that make me scoff. I know that I cannot quash every single one of those rumours and unfair uninformed beliefs (also started by rumours), but I will have a jolly good try.

Please note: I AM NOT WRITING THIS TO PUSH PEOPLE TO GET A CI! I am writing it because I have been disgusted at some of the things I have seen online. I have also been disgusted to see how other people have been treated.


“Doctors force people to have cochlear implants.”

Come on.

For one thing, do you have any idea how much cochlear implants cost?

I am speaking for England here (I know there is a different procedure in the US and other parts of the world, but I assume the inordinate costs are also taken into account). One single person getting just one CI costs the NHS tens of thousands of pounds – upwards of £30,000, and more if you go bilateral. Do you really think the NHS – in its current state – would waste money forcing people to have a CI? No. They wouldn’t.

For another thing – you cannot make assumptions just by being simply asked by doctors if you would like a CI.

A doctor saying: “have you considered a cochlear implant?” is NOT forcing someone. it is just merely ASKING.

Nor can you make assumptions if you have not been through the assessment process.
I was asked when I was 12 if I wanted a CI. I said no. Doctors backed off and did not push me into it. When I was 18, I decided I wanted one, and after going through all the assessments, my audiologist asked me, “are you, sure, sure, SURE you want it?”. She was pretty insistent that I was 100% sure I wanted this operation. PLUS! You need to sign a consent form before surgery. If people were forced, they would not sign this, or sign it as ‘under duress’.

And for a third and final thing: if doctors FORCED people to have cochlear implants, there would be lawsuits flying around, and doctors being struck off the medical register. Think about it.


“Parents/doctors force D/deaf babies to get cochlear implants.”


It is a very difficult decision, which is not taken lightly by both parents and doctors, and anyone else involved.

Parents want WHAT IS BEST for their child, so they strive to do that. Anyway, is it anyone else’s business if parents decide get their child a CI? NO. It is their choice. Their business. We have no right to poke our noses in and tell a parent to do what is right by their child. If unlikely problems later arise, it is STILL THEIR BUSINESS, not ours.

Having said that, I know plenty of people who got CIs when they were between 18 months and four years old. They are extremely happy with them, and would not have it any other way. Stop focusing on the negative, and start looking for the positive!


“The surgery is too risky. You could die or become very ill.”

All operations carry risks. Breast enhancements carry risks. Rhinoplasties carry risks. Tooth extractions carry risks. Scoliosis corrections carry risks. appendix removals carry risks.

See where I’m going with this? Yes, it is right for doctors to go through the risks of surgery with a CI recipient, but it is very unfair to try and put someone off having a CI by making a big thing about the risks.


“Cochlear Implants take away the deaf culture.”


Yes, maybe the deaf culture is getting a little smaller, and D/deaf schools are being closed down, but it is up to D/deaf people to keep this going. Moaning and blaming cochlear implants will not get you anywhere.

In fact, there are times when I have been to D/deaf events, and people have told me I am ‘faking my deafness’, or I am ‘bad’ for getting a cochlear implant. Think about it. Are those unfair comments going to make people want to continue going to such events? This attitude certainly made me a little hesitant, and could be putting people off. What we need to do is welcome anyone and everyone, and show them what a lovely and welcoming group we are!

A brash attitude will just push people away, while a weloming attitude will make people want to keep coming back!

Sign language is a beautiful language, and it is up to us to keep it going. However, once again, free speech (or free sign!) is important. It is a PERSONAL CHOICE what language someone wishes to speak. if someone wishes to use spoken English rather than BSL or vice versa, that is up to them. We cannot force people to agree with us.



Another thing I wanted to get out there was: STOP BELIEVING EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET!!! Anyone, I repeat, ANYONE could make up an article/meme/statement/etc that could be read, believed, and passed on. This is how rumours start. This is how uninformed prejudices start.

For example: I could anonymously knock up a meme or news story about Johnny Depp getting a girl pregnant, and I could post it from several different accounts. Will people believe this? YES! Does it mean the story is true? NO! Will there be victims in this? YES! People will be hurt. People will be upset.

People will be subject to bullying and marginalisation, just because there has been untrue information spread all over the internet. Is this fair? NO!


If you don’t like cochlear implants/don’t want one, then don’t get one. Simple.
But also, do not force other people to share your beliefs. Feel free to have a discussion about why you agree or disagree with things, but keep it just that – a discussion. It can be interesting. Informative even. But once again, LET OTHERS HAVE THEIR OWN BELIEFS AND OPINIONS!


If you have a CI and use only sign language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you have a CI and use only spoken language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you have hearing aids and use only sign language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you have hearing aids and use only spoken language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you wear NO hearing aids or CI and use sign language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you wear NO hearing aids or CI and use spoken language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you fit into any of the categories above, and use BOTH sign language and spoken language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!
If you are hearing, and interested in the deaf culture and/or sign language – THAT IS FINE, I ACCEPT YOU!


Can’t we all just get along?


Thanks for reading, and much love to you all, whoever you are.

Jenny xxx