I first got to know and meet Ellen through the wonderful world of social media in the very start of when LWHL was first launched .
We connected straight away and her kind offerings of support and validity in the early years contributed a lot towards the success of living with hearing loss . Ellen supports Living with hearing loss when she can and we are grateful to have her on board.
Please meet the lovely Ellen by reading her blog entry .
Tell me more about yourself…
Hi, I’m Ellen. I work in Occupational Therapy and live with my husband and our Beagle, who definitely keeps me on my toes!
I am a big foodie so love trying and cooking new food and also a big gin fan. I enjoy long walks, photography and floristry.
Tell me about your hearing loss…
I have a severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, thought to be a result of chicken pox when I was three years old.
Apparently I was an absolute nightmare to diagnose! However once I received my hearing aids, it made such a difference there was no looking back.
Growing up with a hearing loss was challenge and it was a constant battle for my parents to ensure I was always receiving the right support at school.
How did the use of masks affect you at the start of the pandemic?
I remember walking into work the day masks were introduced and having a complete meltdown! Seeing everyone’s mouths covered, the one thing which allows me to communicate successfully was scary. I really didn’t know how I was going to manage my role. Thankfully my immediate team were supportive; however I was and continue to be really shocked at the lack of awareness, particularly in the healthcare sector.
And the listening fatigue was real!
I also initially lost all independence which I’d worked so hard to gain – particularly as lockdowns began to lift. It was much easier to avoid shops, not order the coffee etc. than struggle trying to explain that I needed to lip read. I often felt people were too worried about removing their masks even at a safe distance or behind a perplex screen to enable effective communication, which is where Amy’s Clarity in Communication campaign was so welcomed!
How have the lip-reading friendly posters made you feel?
Optimistic; it was always a relief to see one. It’s a small gesture which means so much to those who lip read and makes such a difference to our experience knowing there will be no awkwardness or any misunderstandings.
What has been a positive outcome of this pandemic for you?
I have become more accepting of my hearing loss as a disability and become more confident in challenging people when communication is difficult. Admittedly, there are still times when it’s particularly overwhelming and I’ll often ask a family member/friend to step in, but it’s a learning curve. Looking back, I am proud of my resilience the last couple of years.
My confidence has mostly grown since becoming aware of Living with Hearing Loss at the beginning of the pandemic, but also due to my involvement with supporting Amy at LWHL to create a more positive change for the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities. It’s great to see the increasing awareness and I feel people are gaining more understanding. Yes, there is still a very long way to go but I think it’s important that we celebrate the little wins along the way!
Thank you so much Ellen for sharing your story with us, its much appreciated 💕
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