Georgia Horsley, 26, from Malton, North Yorkshire, works as a model and helps to run the family florist business. She won the Miss England title in 2007, and was also one of the top 18 semifinalists at the Miss World Talent pageant in the same year. Georgia lost her hearing in the right ear at the age of two as the result of a bout of meningitis, and throughout her school and teenage years, learned to adapt to hearing in just one ear.
Tell us about your life growing up. Where do you live and what were your interests?
I grew up in a small market town in North Yorkshire with my mum, dad and big sister Lauren. I had a lovely childhood, despite the struggles with hearing loss.
I studied for my A Levels and then trained and worked as a beauty therapist. In 2007 I won Miss England and competed at the Miss World finals which launched my modelling career which takes me to my life now! I now Live in London with my Fiancé.
When did you first become aware of your deafness?
My earliest childhood memory is when I was about three years old. Mum used to read us a bed time story and I used to complain that I couldn’t hear when I put my head down on the pillow! It wasn’t until I started school that the school nurse realised something wasn’t quite right.
Because throughout my life I learnt to deal with my deafness I adapted to certain situations. Although sometimes missing out on certain things I hadn’t heard, I managed through the three day Miss England completion without a hitch up until the end!
I was worried people might think it was a sob story if I told the organisers about my hearing loss and didn’t want people to take pity or treat me differently. I wanted to do it all by myself.
Was winning the competition a positive experience for you?
Entering Miss England was one of the best things I’ve ever done! (Thanks to my mum for persuading me to give it a go!) Through that I have managed to create the modelling career I have today. It was honestly one of the best years of my life and I got to do so many wonderful things.
When did you become open about your deafness?
I think at around 13 I realised it was better to let people know about my deafness, rather than struggling to hear and missing out on conversations! Since then I have always been very open about it rather than embarrassed.
My life has been a lovely one! I’ve tried to not let my deafness affect anything I do or hold me back. It can sometimes be a pain, especially in social situations but I have learnt to adapt.
We understand you now have some new hearing aids. Tell us about them?
I have recently been fitted with a Phonak [who support this site] Nano hearing device which has pretty much changed my life. I can’t believe how much I have missed out on being deaf in one ear! I feel like I have a hearing super power now!!
Why didn’t you wear hearing aids before?
When I was ten I was given the option of a hearing aid but it was a big bulky thing which consisted of wires going across my head into a battery pack in my pocket! The last thing I wanted at ten years old was to look different.
I was already a lot taller than all the other kids at school so didn’t want to stand out anymore. So I learnt to cope and it wasn’t until now at the age of 26 I found out all the new possibilities!
Interview by Charlie Swinbourne
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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