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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