By Grainne McCool @grainnemccool
Being deaf doesn’t mean that I’m stupid or that I’m slow.
“Being deaf means I can’t hear, I thought you’d know.
Being deaf doesn’t mean I ignore you, when I don’t turn around.
Being deaf means I can’t hear you, for I’m deaf profound.
Being deaf doesn’t mean, I can’t achieve things,
That hearing people can do with an ease.
Being deaf deals with the stigma it brings.
My ears don’t work well, but I’ve got no disease.”
Just over one week ago I noticed the above words on a friends timeline on Facebook. I immediately
took time to read them and then remembered that this girl is deaf.
I’ve known her from a little girl and have always been aware of her hearing problem but these words made me stop and think twice.
I meet this young lady now on a weekly basis, the village shop, the post office, the street I live in. I say
‘hello’ and such but her hearing issue has never been a problem for me. Until I saw these words.
From I can recall Carolann Grant has always worn a hearing aid. She has also always been a clear
speaker, so there was never a need to feel different about her or the need to treat her differently.
But on this evening I began to wonder if others treated her differently. And so I asked her a few days later.
Carolann told me that she posted the above post on her Facebook because she is very aware and feels very passionately about Deaf Awareness Week – which took place earlier this month.
She says it “is a week for people like myself to make others aware of the stigma which is sometimes associated with those that are deaf.”
Carolann herself is very fortunate in that her friends and neighbours have never treated her differently.
Just how deaf or little hearing does Carolann have? “When I was about 3 or 4 I was confirmed as
partially deaf. I am classed as having ‘moderate hearing loss’. I wear a hearing aid although I’m
supposed to wear two” she laughs.
Carolann’s mother Bríd told me that when Carolann was just a baby of nine months her local GP carried
out the usual hearing test and she was assessed as having “normal hearing.” Some time later, Bríd’s
mother, Carolann’s grandmother suggested that she get the child’s hearing tested and it was then that
Carolann was diagnosed as ‘deaf’.
Growing up this young lady didn’t let anything get in her way. At nine years of age she moved from her
local school in Muff to St. Anne’s Primary School in Derry where her needs were better catered for.
Carolann went on to finish secondary school and continues to live a very independent life.
However the deaf society is very close to Carolann’s heart. She is very closely involved with the Foyle
Deaf Association in Derry where she receives great support – they organise social nights, help raise
money for interpreters etc, help hearing impaired people get an education and so very much more.
Deafhear.ie in Donegal also is a support for Carolann and many of her social circle.
Carolann has moderate hearing and so converses easily with another person within her vicinity. She
tends to lip-read most of the time but will use sign-language when in the company of her long-term
deaf profound partner Jo and her many deaf friends.
Carolann is very much focused on ensuring that people are made aware that the pre-conception to treat people who are deaf differently, is completely unfounded.
“We are the same as everyone else. We talk with our hands. We are all equal.” As the quote above clearly states ‘My ears don’t work well, but I’ve got no disease.’
For more information check out Foyle Deaf Association on Facebook and www.deafhear.ie