Tell us about yourself.
I’m nineteen years old, moderately deaf, and I’m currently studying in London for a music degree.
I like anything creative and arty, and enjoy going to cultural events and exhibitions where historical artifacts are shown (very easy to get to when you live in London!).
I am also highly involved with helping to raise self esteem amongst deaf young people.
How did you cope with being deaf and progressing in music?
My hearing loss has never really held me back with my music as it’s something I love doing, though I admit that I wouldn’t be able to it without my hearing aids.
Although I play violin and piano, voice is my primary study at university. By using hearing aids and working with my singing teacher to ‘feel’ where notes are placed, I can really make the most of my hearing.
It was partly determination and partly being told I was capable of doing things by my parents and teachers that got me to where I am now, and I hope to pass that attitude and level of encouragement on to other people.
It’s important to realise that music can be made accessible to anyone as long as they’re given the right opportunities and are encouraged to have an ‘I can’ outlook on life.
You use a device to help you. Tell us what difference it makes?
Yes, I use a new system made by Phonak (a supporter of this site) called Roger. The system consists of a Roger Pen (a transmitter with a microphone which literally looks like a pen), and receivers attached to my hearing aids.
In university, for instance, a lecturer can hang the pen around their neck, and their voice will be sent directly to my hearing aids.
I can also plug it into the computer, my iPod, the TV, or connect it to my iPhone via Bluetooth so that voices or media sources are also directly streamed from the transmitter to the receivers.
I also now use another mic with the system, which is a smaller and more basic clip-on mic.
This way, I can give the Roger Pen to my lecturer and plug the clip-on mic into a computer so I can listen to instructions and any work online at the same time without having to mess around with different buttons or headphones.
The system has really changed my life – it is incredibly clear which is perfect for any musician!
What are your ambitions for the future?
Since becoming involved with hearing aid manufacturers, deaf services and charities, the world has opened up to me.
I’ve had support from many places including the Ewing Foundation who inspired me to help other deaf children and young people.
Because of this, I’d love to become a Teacher of the Deaf and combine music and working with deaf children into one career.
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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