What is it like to be a deaf teen?
I like to think my life is pretty ordinary as a teenager, but with a hearing loss there can be some challenges and situations where either I have to find another way around it or take a little more time to do something. What is it like to be a deaf teen?
Well, lets go through the typical day…
Mornings as a Deaf Teen
I wake up each morning around 7 a.m., with the presence of my very annoying vibrating alarm clock, which is placed under my pillow. Having your head rattled to wake you up fro a deep sleep is actually one of the worst feelings in the world (and, it won’t stop, until you can fumble around under the pillow trying to turn it off!) but it works…
I eat my breakfast without my Phonak hearing aids in, as I love the peace and quiet first thing in the morning.
However, I often notice my mum or my dad trying to have a conversation with me, even though they know I can’t hear anything without my hearing aids in. It gets frustrating for them sometimes!
After having a shower, I get dressed and put my hearing aids in. I check to make sure they’re working and prepare myself for the noise and commotion of the day ahead.
School, Work and Social Life
Like every other teenager, I love my phone! I check it every morning – especially social media to see what’s going on, what my friends are up to and if I missed anything from the night before! Texting is a crucial way of communicating for me. In fact I think teenagers text all the time, no matter if they’re D/deaf or not.
“Texting is a crucial way of communicating for me. In fact I think teenagers text all the time, no matter if they’re D/deaf or not.”
Unlike most teenagers my age who are at University or College, I go to work most days. I work part time as a Marketing Executive for a Spa and Health Club company. I love my job! Everyone’s so friendly and I feel valued and included, even though I have a hearing loss.
Read more: Hearing Loss at Work
My work life is mostly enjoyable and computer based, which is what I love doing. We often communicate via instant messenger or email, and I never have to use the phone to make telephone calls, which is great for me since I have hearing loss!
Other times, however, there can be situations where I struggle, such as in meetings or group conversations with my colleagues. Another perk to the job is that I get free membership at the leisure club so I can go for a lovely swim after work, which I love!
Read more: Concurring the Conference Room
When I’m not working, I’m either spending time with family, or at British Sign Language classes, doing hobbies or working on my other jobs. I lifeguard twice a week, work for events and promotions during the weekend and whenever I get a chance I help Mum make some jewelry.
Generally, I’m pretty independent when I go shopping. If a situation comes up where I don’t understand someone, that’s when it gets complicated.
Sometimes I have to ask the store clerk if they can repeat themselves and explain I have a hearing loss. Howeverm sometimes once they discover I’m deaf, they avoid talking to me. It’s almost like they want to hide – like the Scope advert!
In last resort attempts to communicate, I pull my phone out and ask others to type their messages to me.
Evenings with Hearing Loss
When I get home in the evenings, I usually like to Skype my long distance boyfriend for a quick chat!
After this I am usually exhausted from listening and lipreading all day, so I like to unwind by watching TV by streaming the sound through my Phonak Compilot or listening to music and chatting online with my friends. I also love posting on my Facebook page and tweeting to my Twitter followers to find out what’s new in the deaf world!
When it comes to bedtime, it’s the best part of the day, where I can finally take my hearing aids out! I clean them each night, so they’re ready for the next day. I love relaxing in bed, checking social media… again! Eventually I’ll doze off and prepare to do it all again the next day!
Weekends as a Deafie
During the weekends I love going out with my friends! I just want to live my life while I’m young – just as any other teenager would!
Of course social situations can be difficult, but I usually find a way around the challenges, and my friends are pretty supportive and inclusive. If it’s noisy, I’ll just laugh and smile my way through the night! If we’re out in the nightclubs, it’s dark and noisy anyway, so everyone struggles to hear!
Challenges for a Deaf Teenager
Some days, I get really bad headaches from the amounts of concentration I have to do. I do take medication but sometimes it’s that bad that all I want to do is curl up in bed and sleep it off.
Overall, life as a deaf teenager is the same as any other teenager. We just like to have fun, learn and enjoy growing up! If you have a deaf teen in your life, just be aware to talk clearly to us and ask them if they prefer to communicate in any special way!