Interview with Lisa from Cherry tree Candles

Tell me a bit more about yourself ? what you do for a living
etc…

I’m Lisa, I grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire and now I live with my
Husband Marc and cat Pablo in the South Wiltshire countryside. I am a Harry
Potter fan, a gin drinker and I love going for walks. I am a self-employed
wedding photographer and during the pandemic I have also launched a candle
business called Cherry Tree Candle Company.


What Hearing loss do you have, How long have you had your
hearing loss ?


I have a bi-lateral sensorineural hearing loss as well as a bi-lateral conductive
hearing loss which means I have to wear hearing aids in both ears.
I wasn’t diagnosed with my hearing loss until I was 7, prior to this my nerve
damage was masked by all sorts of problems happening inside my ears such as
glue ear and constant ear infections, these ear infections led me onto having
operations and countless ENT appointments.
My hearing loss runs in my family, my Dad and my sister wear hearing aids too,
which makes our family one of kind! My sister and I grew up knowing all the
wrong words to nursery rhymes and pop songs and my dad’s ongoing joke wa
that every married man just have a TV loop system in their living room.
Due to my ongoing ear infections, I was then not able to wear my hearing aids
all of the time so this was very tricky for me to be able to build my confidence
up and know what I needed to succeed. My parents pushed for the correct
support for me and sent me to a school with a good hearing impaired
department.
I wasn’t a confident child, I was told multiple times as a child that I wouldn’t
succeed, that I wouldn’t be academic, but that’s fine! I found my own route to
get to where I wanted to be and looking back now at how far I have come as a
person is actually quite overwhelming!


How did the wearing of masks affect you in the start of this
pandemic ?

At the start of the pandemic I was working as a medical photographer within the
NHS. I had to wear minimal PPE (mask, apron and gloves) when photographing
patients on wards, this was something I did find a bit tricky but as there were
other ward staff around to help me and tell me what needed photographing
before we put masks on and entered the room it was ok. What I did struggle
with was when staff would walk up to me whilst wearing a masks and start
talking to me, I’d have to get them to repeat what they were saying over and
over again until I then said “sorry, I wear hearing aids” and then they’d drop
down their mask.
When it became mandatory for masks to be worn all the time in hospitals I had
a big panic and complete meltdown at home when I found out the news, already
it was tricky for me to understand staff when I was on wards and now they were
telling me that myself and all other staff with hearing losses would be
completely isolated, out of all of the organisations I thought that the NHS would
notice this issue straight away.
I raised my query with the disability and diversity representative within the
hospital, it was acknowledged and nothing was done.


How are you feeling about the lifting of lockdown ?

I am excited to see my family and spend time with my friends, but the
uncertainty of how long other restrictions will be in place is worrying. My fear
is that we will continue to wear masks for a long long time.
How has seeing the lip reading friendly posters made you feel ?
Hopeful! Not enough businesses and public areas are deaf friendly, I understand
that we are deaf people living in a hearing world, which means over time we
have adapted to the hearing world by lip reading, using subtitles, emails etc but
in order for us to adapt to their world hearing people need to just have a basic
understanding of our needs and not put blockages in the way of us accessing
this.


Would you like to see more businesses on board ? If so
who/which ?

I feel that larger companies would be more difficult to tackle but would have the
biggest impact.
I am fed up of not enough businesses having easy access for deaf people to
communicate with them, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to fill
in an online contact form, and I’ve stated “please do not ring me, I am hard of
hearing please email me” for them to ignore it and ring me anyway!