TV personality John Barrowman has experienced deafness for the day as part of a filmed experiment so that he could understand some of the difficulties that deaf people face.
He was then partnered with a hearing dog to see first-hand the difference these dogs make to deaf peoples’ lives.
Watch the (subtitled) video of his experience below:
Gel moulds were inserted into John’s ears which left him with a 60% hearing loss. He then attempted to go about his daily routine, but found the experience significantly tougher than expected. He said:
“I didn’t realise how challenging deafness would be. I was extremely anxious when walking down the street and crossing the road, as I couldn’t hear busy traffic or the sounds of footsteps walking behind me. It was so tiring trying to concentrate on what people were saying. I became increasingly withdrawn and frustrated, and I was isolated from conversations around me. I felt invisible.”
John was then given a hearing dog called Robyn for the afternoon, who helped him out by alerting him to the sounds and danger signals that he could no longer hear such as the fire alarm, telephone and doorbell.
“With Robyn by my side, I didn’t feel invisible anymore as people were able to see from her jacket that I was deaf. I was also less reliant on others to do things for me. Having a hearing dog gave me back my independence, made me feel safe when out in public, and best of all, this clever dog provided me with wonderful companionship to alleviate the loneliness I had felt.”
To read John’s blog about his experience, go to: http://blog.hearingdogs.org.uk/2014/07/john-barrowman-deaf-for-the-day-experience/
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