When growing up I was constantly trying to keep up with reading writing levels. As I have grown older, I have discovered a love for language and writing.
I was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss when I was 10 months old. It was only then I received my first Phonak hearing aids. For most newborns, sound and language exposure occurs naturally. It was different for me. I had missed out on the first crucial 10 months of my life.
Read more: Childhood hearing loss: a conversation with my parents
My parents chose to teach me to speak rather than to use sign language.
Read more: Why I am learning sign language as an oral profoundly deaf(ie)
Along with learning how to speak came writing. I dreaded it when we had to write in English class. Whether it was stories newspaper articles or essays. This was mainly because my vocabulary was very limited compared to my peers. My parents used simple repetitive words so that I could understand conversation rather than teaching me numerous complex words.
At school for every written task I did, I always received the same feedback. My teachers suggested including a wider range of vocabulary or practicing different writing styles. This meant I was sent home with extra reading to do even though I was already loaded with other subject homework. I never thought I would become a writer in the future.
As a teen I wanted somewhere to vent my frustrations and share my experiences of living life with a hearing loss. My boyfriend suggested writing a blog, which led me to creating Deafie Blogger. At first, I thought there’s no way I could write well enough to be a blogger. I also wanted to be anonymous because of being afraid of judgment from my peers. I didn’t even tell my parents, as I was nervous in case I was just kidding myself!
After posting a few blogs, I received some surprisingly good feedback, particularly from fellow deaf peers saying that they could relate to the experiences I wrote about. This is how my love for writing developed.
I realize now that it’s not just about the writing, but it’s about what I am writing about. I’ve now been writing blogs for two years. I write for HearingLikeMe and my personal blog.
When writing to other people in the deaf and hard of hearing community, I tend to use simple language and sentences. This is because the primary target audience is for people with hearing loss. Like myself, deaf people struggle to understand complex written information. I like what I read to be written in simple English as my cognition is affected by my hearing loss.
As I write about what I am passionate about and to people in similar situations than me, I discovered my love for writing.
“As I write about what I am passionate about and to people in similar situations than me, I discovered my love for writing.”
I even love grammar now! Proof-reading is a big chunk of my day job, which I didn’t expect to be doing given that I used to not like grammar. I never thought I’d admit this but I guess I take after my Nanny, who gave me a grammar book when I was younger. A famous quote I remember from it… ‘The panda eats shoots and leaves’, which highlights the importance of grammar, as it could also read; ‘the panda eats shoots, and leaves’. At first, I thought it was a bizarre present but now, I love it!
Having a hearing loss and learning language at a different pace than others doesn’t mean you have to not like language. Here are tips I used that helped me.
Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with writing. Keep practicing different writing styles, it’s the way to improve. I’ve been writing blogs for two years now and I’ve noticed over time, it’s gotten easier and I can write different style blogs. Some things take time, it doesn’t come overnight!
Contrary to what your English teacher says… you don’t need to be top of the class to be a writer! I was in second set, and after constant requests for improvement from the teacher, I guess I surprised myself and I can write. I’d love for them to read the blogs I’ve written.
You can do anything you dream of, given the right support (my famous motto!) If you fancy your hand at writing, just give it a go and don’t worry what others say. You never know, you might surprise yourself like I did and land you a fantastic writing opportunity.
It can be a book, a newspaper article, a magazine… they all have different writing styles and it’s a great way to learn about the use of language in different formats. You may discover a topic you love to read about. Plus, it’s quite relaxing to sit down and read!
How did you learn to love writing with hearing loss? Let us know in the comments!