This October, D.J. Demers is getting in a bright green RV with his face plastered on it, to travel to universities across the U.S. for the Here to Hear Comedy Tour, sponsored by Phonak. D.J. will perform free stand-up comedy shows, meet with the D/deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and engage with fans through social media and daily vlogs on YouTube.
“I will party very hard on the bus every single night,” D.J. says. “I feel one of the stigmas that surround hard of hearing people is that we don’t know how to party, and I aim to shatter that stigma empathetically. I might be fabricating this stigma to justify all the partying I will be doing…Nonetheless, I will be installing a hot tub on the tour bus to show my commitment to shattering stigmas.
“In all seriousness (not that I am not dead serious about the hot tub) I’ve met so many people with hearing loss in my travels. It’s become one of my favorite parts of being a comedian, certainly one of the most rewarding. I feel very fortunate to be embarking on this month-long comedy tour to help Phonak in their mission of destigmatizing hearing loss. It’s an opportunity I don’t take lightly.”
“It’s become one of my favorite parts of being a comedian, certainly one of the most rewarding.”
D.J., who was most recently seen on “Conan” and “America’s Got Talent,” has severe-to-profound hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids since he was four years old. He currently uses Phonak hearing aids and Roger technology for school and office settings.
“As I’ve gotten older (and dare I say wiser?) I’ve begun to acknowledge that my hearing aids are not a small part of who I am,” D.J. says. “They are a huge part of my identity. I still believe that I am more than my hearing aids, but I’m not ashamed to fully recognize their role in my life.”
D.J. grew up with a great support team among his parents, audiologists, teachers and university disability councilors, who helped him follow his dreams without his profound hearing loss being a barrier.
To help other university students follow their dreams, D.J. will help spread the word about students they can obtain free hearing technology, such as the Phonak Roger Pen, that can help them hear better in the classroom. The Phonak Roger Pen is a wireless microphone that connects with any hearing aid on the market. The technology allows students to understand 62% more in noise and over distance compared to people with no hearing loss.
“I can’t wait to meet hard-of-hearing people and feel that special bond that happens the moment you see each others’ hearing aids,” D.J. says. “I feel like we should come up with a secret handshake or something, to make it official. We can chat about it in the hot tub, no need to rush into such an important ritual.”
Tour dates will be announced later this month on www.HereToHearTour.com and on social media channels.