Silence.

Silence is a beautiful concept.

No phone calls. No shouting. No police sirens. Nothing. Just a sense of calmness, stillness and peace. A feeling that can’t be beaten.

During the last 5 weeks I have been taking exams and as I’m sure you know it’s a daunting concept. Do you want to know the first thing I do when I sit at my desk in the exam hall?

*click*

I turn my hearing aid off. That’s it, I can’t hear anything. One of my five senses has been blocked and the feeling of peace fills my mind. My heart beat increases at this moment. Although the feeling may be calm there is always a sense of anticipation that I might miss something that someone says.

We all have had that moment whether it be in the bath washing your hair, diving into the swimming pool and taking your breast stroke pull into the water of total and utter silence. When your ears are free from the world as they enjoy the freedom of no sound under the water. That moment your ears hit the water is one that I face on a day-to-day basis. The moment of silence.

I love it. Your other 4 senses of taste, sight, touch and smell all still function with ease. You can still watch the world go by with one less thing to worry about: sound.

I dare you right now to embrace silence for a moment. Put your headphones in with no music or simply block out the noise filling into your ears.

Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Love it.

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Noises Off

Last night I saw the play ‘Noises Off’ with my mum and a close mate. It was really brilliant, and absolutely hilarious! I definitely recommend it.

Frustration

‘Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterwards.’ – Kurt Vonnegut

All of us have the benefit as a child to be grumpy. Whether it be because you haven’t been given a chocolate bar or the latest toy car- we have all been a victim of frustration.

Yet deaf children have an additional frustration. A frustration because we can’t communicate how we feel or what we want through language. But I got irritated not just because I was little, but because I was deaf. As my speech was delayed, I would show my frustration by having a mega tantrum! I would absolutely flip. I would scream, shout, and cry, and even throw my mum’s china plates against the wall! I would stand and stamp my feet whilst shaking my entire body – my brother to this day does a great impersonation constantly giving us the giggles!

When I first had my hearing aids fitted when I was 18 months old, I would find them really annoying. The moment they were put into my ears, I would hear strange noises, shouts and continuous chatter. It was all too loud. They would irritate and rub against my skin making them very uncomfortable. Every time my mother put them in I would simply tear them out. The hearing aids changed my peaceful and quiet life forever- I was a deaf boy in a loud world for the first time, and I hated it.

Distraction techniques had to be employed – my mother would say ‘Hey Jamie there is a MASSIVE aeroplane other there,’ while I turned my head and desperately searched for an aeroplane my mum would pop my hearing aids in.

One day when I was 5 we were in the car on the motorway, and I had just been to the hospital to replace a hearing aid I had lost. Having recently put my new hearing aids in, I already got irritated but the loud sounds they amplified. Taking my hearing aids out I looked at them with some thought. I didn’t understand why I wore these things. My misunderstanding caused me to reach over to the other side, pull down the window and throw my hearing aid out onto the motorway!

Noises were Off.

Five minutes later my parents asked me where my hearing aid was so I simply pointed to the window. We turned around returning back to the hospital…

We never saw that hearing aid again.

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Wellies or Willies?

I’m sure you have all seen that the world is constantly making strides towards making life easier for the disabled. More wheelchair access, more medical advances and more awareness for the disabled: the list goes on.

Yet one thing that has caught my eye over the last week that has certainly made me chuckle is subtitles. I use subtitles on a regular basis during movies and live TV. (On the topic of films if you haven’t seen TED go out to your local store and get it now!)

Subtitles are brilliant, and if you haven’t noticed- hilarious! Occasionally, subtitles on live TV have some amusing mistakes due to their poor voice recognition devices.

A particular favourite of mine must be the news sensation of a reporter describing how little pigs “love to nibble on anything that comes into the shed, like our wellies.” Hilariously wellies was translated as willies. I could only feel sorry for the pigs!

Most areas of life can viewed upon with great humour. This being a prime example.

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.” – Katharine Hepburn

Jamie Williams

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A Deaf Boy in a Loud Garden

There have been moments in my life where others have been affected by my hearing.

Every year, my family get together for a informal gathering during the summer. During these gatherings all five cousins enjoy each others company: laughing, joking and chatting away.

One gathering, about 10 years ago, we being the adventurous children we were,  entertained ourselves by trying to find some treasure in our grandparents back garden.  After endless hours of searching, no treasure was found. There was only one bush that we hadn’t searched yet. I dived in. After scrambling on my knees, for a few minutes… nothing was found. I crawled out of the bush, looking for my cousins.

There wasn’t a cousin in sight. Just a deaf boy in a garden.

What happened? Where had they gone?

I never knew where they had gone that day until a week ago when I was told the story. I was told that my Grandmother had called for ‘Teatime!’ and the starving four cousins rushed in for dinner. No one had thought that I wouldn’t hear the call.

This is a prime example on how my disability affects everyone around me, myself included. My grandmother thought that the time was right to explain to these children that I do miss out, hearing whats going on around me and they need to take some responsibility. They need to look out for me.

Yet now I am older, I am the one that is responsible in making YOU aware of my deafness, and how this affects the choices I make.

“One’s philosophy is not best described in words; it is in the choices one makes and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility,” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Jamie Williams

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Counting sheep…

Last night, after counting 583 sheep, and endless hours of trying to get to sleep – I just couldn’t do it. I kept thinking.

This blog has opened my mind on how I look at my lack of hearing, for the first time I have thought about how it effects aspects of my life.

Like sleep.

Being deaf is fantastic for sleep, absolutely fantastic! Not once have I been woken by a sound. Ok maybe once or twice, but not often. Many of you, I am sure, have had the delight of being woken up during the dullest hours of the morning just to let your dog out for a wee? Well, that doesn’t happen to me.

Yet of course, as with anything there are downfalls:

Last summer during a brilliant trip to Canada a fire alarm went off in my hotel. My friend shouted, shouted and shouted at me to wake up. That didn’t work. As the alarm grew louder and louder, he thought of throwing a glass of water at me. So during a fantastic dream, dancing away with the cheerleaders I encountered that previous day, I was (kindly!) interrupted with a glass of water being thrown at my head. I am very grateful, he saved my life.

When I say he saved my life I really mean we ended up, a group of 20 grumpy teenagers, sitting in a cold corridor for 3 hours. The only entertainment was a man repeating ‘We are currently looking into the incident, please keep calm, and we will update you on the situation.’

Of course as with so many fire alarms, there was no fire! After diving back into my  bed, I returned to my dream of dancing with the cheerleaders. In fact, I was starting to gain their attention, I will leave you to guess what happens next!

Jamie Williams

Me Sleeping as a Baby

Me Sleeping as a Baby

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Would I want to hear everything again?

The answer is no.

However hard I think about how great it would be to hear everything I wouldn’t want to because that would be giving up. My disability gives me the motivation I need to keep going in all areas of my life. It gives me my personality. I wouldn’t be the happy, friendly, chirpy chap that I am without being deaf.

I had lunch with my Grandmother today. During this lunch I tried to explain the concept of a blog. After a couple of goes she was starting to grasp the idea. I then went on to explain how I had come to build ideas for the blog you are now reading. The first idea I discussed with her was what I wanted the blog to explain. I wanted something that was different. Something that you wouldn’t see on your everyday scroll through internet. Something that was unique to me: my deafness.

After explaining to her what blogging was, for the final time and that mine was going to be based on my disability, she was dying to see it. I passed my blog over. Then silence. I waited, looking in her eyes to see her response. Tears. Tears in her eyes.  Her response was tears. I couldn’t describe how I felt then at that moment. Did I feel guilt? No. Did I feel joy? Not quite. But I did feel happy. What I have done with my life is to develop it into something that no one thought it could be. A life that is filled with happiness. Those tears were a symbolic ‘well done’.

Now back to my light hearted self: my dog is now looking at me in an odd, yet entertaining way. She is smiling. I think its time I gave her dinner!

Jamie Williams

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Smile like my dog

A Loud World

Imagine your life was limited.

Imagine you couldn’t hear out of one of your ears. Close your eyes and try to imagine it. I dare you. I was brought up in a society that places the disabled in a different basket from everyone else. But the disabled can rule that basket and climb out and go beyond the basket. They can even build a new basket. Do you know what? I’ve grown to love my basket.

The world (or more specifically, a doctor) told me I would never be able to speak. He said I would have to go to a special school, and use special signs to communicate.

But 16 years later, I am flourishing in my basket. I do speak. I do go to a normal school. In fact people say I make them smile. Yes, I do wear a hearing aid. But hey, that’s great! In fact, there is one little thing I love doing, and that’s communicating; using my charm. Now, if you were as happy as me you would have just smiled then, and I hope you did.

Here is a blog to make you smile. This is a blog to explain how my deafness affects me. And what has happened in my past and present.

Jamie Williams

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Smile like me

Smile like me