‘Dear Hearing People’ by Sarah Snow & Jules Dameron

Here is an impressive video made by Sarah Snow of Glide and Jules Dameron.

“The Deaf community tells all hearing people what’s truly on their minds— and it’s a big deal.”

You can also read about why, Sarah made this video.

http://www.glide.me/dear-hearing-people

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‘Make The Most Of What You’ve Got’ by Martin Griffiths

At least three people have asked me what gig was I going to see and misheard my reply. I told them I was going to see ‘Wolf Alice’ and one said “Oh, wonder if he will play his didgeridoo?” and another said “Isn’t he in prison for being a dirty old man?”. “No, no, no, I am going to see Wolf Alice NOT Rolf Harris!” I think the number of hard of hearing people will be increasing soon.

I also constantly get asked how can I enjoy gigs as a profound deaf person with severe sight loss. Easy answer is I accept that I cannot hear or see the same as others do but if I prepare properly I will get some enjoyment from

a. Being out of the house

b. Being in a gig atmosphere watching crazy gig neighbours singing and dancing

c. Enjoying what I can hear or see and not stressing about my sensory losses.

Photo by Martin Griffiths

Photo by Martin Griffiths

My preparation for ‘From the Jam‘ at Barry Memo Arts on 26th  March 2016 started with contacting the band via their Facebook page and asking for a setlist. They duly obliged with a warning that on the night there may be late changes. They did appear to drop two songs but lesser known ones. This threw me a little but knowing the songs expected next helps me tune into the song via memory and what my hearing aids pick up.

Tip – if contacting bands via social media it is usually better to contact direct via private message as many bands are not keen to share setlists unless there is good reason.

Often I will search sites like Setlist FM ‘www.setlist.fm‘ for setlists from the latest tour of the band I am going to see. These lists are fan generated and accuracy can vary although I generally find them to be reliable.

Next step is to listen to the tracks via direct audio input to relearn the songs and also checking lyric sites and apps. This can help although often bands rearrange popular songs or do medleys which can be challenging.

Using apps like Soundhound and Musixmatch can help with identifying songs and discovering lyrics often in real-time. The apps may be more successful in linking with pre-recorded music. Live music tends to come with audience generated noises that confuse the apps.

Preparation done so now time to get the ticket and head to the gig. I hope for the best but still look to using my experience to increase the odds of a successful gig. I discovered that in small venues you often can put your hands on speaker stacks and pick up additional information through vibrations. Dont stand in front of the stacks as you may lose the little hearing you have left. I often stand to the side with arm outstretched to feel the music and I hear better.

It is also wise to play with hearing aid settings too. I often find having one hearing aid on the omnidirectional microphone setting and the other on unidirectional works best for me. At one gig someone threw liquid and I took the wet aid out and discovered having one aid out helped me pick up bass notes more easily. Different gigs and venues may require different combinations of hearing aid settings.

I never hear the banter between songs and often fail to hear a familiar song.Time to stay positive and pluck up courage to ask a neighbour what that song is!

Often I have to move about to find best sound spot and it helps to be close and get visual clues. I guessed we were starting Pretty Green just by watching the rhythm of the guitars and drums. I was in the front row so had some visual stimulus.

If I did not know the songs I may still enjoy the broad sound and guess what they might be singing. I know Eton Rifles very well but if I did not I might look at people singing along and think its Eating Trifles!

I tend not to sing along as for some reason doing this reduces what I can hear. I need to concentrate.

It’s not easy but I have to be positive. I sometimes have a beer and take part in some crazy ‘dancing’ but if I do I will lose some of the already reduced quality.

Gotta keep getting whatever enjoyment I can when I can. My sight and hearing reduce each year so there is no time to waste.

Positivity rules.

🙂

By Martin Griffiths.

Martin Griffiths

Mr Martin Griffiths

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

therapythedeafway

By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to the their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

A Pleasure To Meet You.

I was encouraged by my best friend to share a video, that my daughter managed to sneak off me. (The little minx!)

I had previously been too fearful to share it because in it I speak. (I say “Is it recording?”) The last time I spoke in a video which was for the BBC, the fall out was unfortunately, predictable.

Too many people presume (albeit dangerously) and try to dictate our choices rather than respecting them.

By the way, I have signed ever since I could, because I have deaf parents – I believe in total communication.

So, come on over to The Tree House and meet me / us, cyber wise. Do feel free to share your videos too.

Positivity rules! 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Suffering of Deaf Children In Gaza

There are many untold stories and here is one of them……

“The idea of making cartoons was started after the war, after being inspired to help the many traumatised children within Gaza. They suffered from psychological and behavioural problems during the war, as with all children living in a state of armed violence. Their idea behind the cartoons is to show the world what the children living in the Gaza Strip are suffering from and what they have witnessed during the war.

Deaf children specifically were in a state of isolation during the war because they were unable to go to school or come to the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children for someone to explain what was happening around them as not all families were able to use sign language to explain the reason behind the brutality. They would only see is their families leaving their homes; mothers barely had time to pack some things and take her children and leave, sometimes even forgetting some of them.

They also suffered from power outages and were unable to communicate with anyone, as they had to do so only in sign language, and although the parents were there, it was difficult to communicate in the dark, thus leaving the children isolated.

The biggest fear felt by the deaf children in Gaza is the fear of losing their arms and hands, as that it their only means of communication, so that scared them the most. They had always hoped if something were to happen to them, that they would be martyred immediately rather than lose their arms, because if they did, they would have no way of communicating with the outside world.

One form of psychological rehabilitation used by Atfaluna, for both all the children and the employees, was the use of drawings, which were later turned into cartoons for the deaf to express themselves. We are happy that these cartoons were very popular and received attention from all across the world.

Video by MEMO’s Mohammed Asad.”

Source.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

An Open Letter To Steve Powell, The CEO Of SignHealth

Dear Mr Powell, 

We are writing to you as an open letter from The Tree House group on Facebook and blog (https://viewsfromthetreehouse.com/), we are disappointed to find that there is lack of subtitles on videos that SignHealth have produced.

We would like to remind you that The Tree House Group represents some of the 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and we promote diversity, which means we welcome people of all backgrounds including all communication techniques they use. No one is inferior or superior to one another as we are all in the same situation.

We want to make a few points regarding your lack of subtitles on your videos

• There are approximately 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people – 1 in 6 people in the United Kingdom whereas there are approximately 17000 BSL dependent users.

• We believe that subtitling the videos will enable SignHealth to reach out more people who may be deaf oral, use signed supported English, hands on signing for deafblind. Reaching out to the deaf/deafened/hard of hearing people will make your cause stronger than ever because you have more people supporting the cause.

• We know for a fact that deaf people with various communication mechanisms do have problems with healthcare,

o Not enough time to familiarise with a doctor

o Inability to lipread doctors with accent

o Wrong assumptions about lipreading and mistaking that we actually understood everything.

o Inability to book communication support in urgent appointments

o Lipspeakers in short supply

o Having to use family, friends for communication support and many more to list.

• We want to be part of and support SignHealth, because of the problems we all have encountered in the NHS, but not having the subtitles in BSL videos makes it exclusive. It makes us feel that we are being discriminated for using other forms of communication not BSL.

• We would like to ask what are SignHealth’s aims? Are you focusing on the deaf people as whole or deaf people who rely on BSL?

We hope SignHealth would consider our request for subtitles on your videos to be taken into consideration, because we strongly believe that you will reach out to more deaf people who require your help. There are softwares that subtitles can be created on videos, as most of us have managed to do it when we make videos for The Treehouse group. If you wish to know more, please contact the admins of Treehouse Group.

We look forward to hearing your response on this issue within 7 days.

Yours Faithfully

The Tree House team;

Sara Jae,

Sebastiaan Eldritch-Böersen,

Andrew Arthur,

Daniel McManus,

Paul Leonard,

Michelle Hedley,

Kimberley Lucas,

Claire Leiper,

Jamie Danjoux

In addition, members of the public.

 

Jamie Danjoux Is Petitioning Sky – To Enable Subtitles

Here is a very important post that was shared to our Facebook group by Stephanie McDermid of Love Subtitles, to try and rally, raising more awareness on the lack of subtitles across media platforms;

“Over the last three months Amazon has gone from offering zero access to people with hearing loss to subtitling 40% of their content, focusing on subtitling their most popular titles. They say that they still aim to subtitle 100% of content and will continue to make progress over the coming months.

Sky subtitles: we believe in better.

Amazon is a fantastic success story, but deaf people are still facing discrimination from many providers.

Despite having over ten million paying subscribers in UK, over 96% of Sky’s on-demand content has absolutely no subtitles (e.g. on catch up TV and box sets). Sky has set no timeframe for improving this.

Deaf teenager Jamie Danjoux has set up a petition asking Sky to offer subtitles for their on-demand service. As a Sky subscriber he feels ripped off – and completely excluded from catching up on his favourite TV shows.”

As quoted from Jamie’s petition;

“My name is Jamie, I’m 16 years old, and I have severe hearing loss in both ears. 

Like you, I enjoy watching the latest must-see TV show. Whether it’s Game of Thrones or this week’s episodes of Eastenders, I want to be part of the conversations that all of my friends are having. However, as a Sky customer, I’m always missing out.

Like most people with hearing loss, I rely on subtitles that show us what’s being said on screen and what other viewers can hear. Without them, it’s just moving pictures to me. There are more than 10million of us in the UK yet, despite being the UK’s biggest television subscription provider, Sky’s On Demand and Sky Go services, as well as their box sets, are completely inaccessible to us, because they have no subtitles.

People with hearing loss want to be able to watch what they want, when they want, how they want – just like everyone else.

I feel angry and upset that my disability doesn’t matter to Sky. It’s unacceptable that they are denying people who have a hearing loss access to the same level of entertainment as hearing people. That’s called discrimination under the Equality Act, which states that people with hearing loss shouldn’t get a poorer service due to their disability.

Worse still, we’re paying more than £250 a year for a service that we can’t fully use. This isn’t fair.

Sky have replied to this petition in the past saying that they are ‘exploring how to address this gap’. This simply isn’t good enough. Customers have been raising this issue since 2011, but it’s still not a priority for Sky. They won’t even state a timeframe for getting this sorted out.

Sky have even told some customers with hearing loss that, because Catch up TV is given ‘free’ to customers, it doesn’t matter that it’s not accessible! I find this insulting to people with hearing loss.

It’s the 21st century and the technology is available to ensure content on Sky’s On Demand services can have subtitles, just like on their ‘traditional’ channels such as Sky News and Sky One.

I simply want the same service as everyone else. Please help me to get Sky to improve their service for people with hearing loss.”

Sign and share Jamie’s petition now, pretty please?

https://www.change.org/p/sky-enable-subtitles-for-ondemand

Thank you, for your support.

Wishing Jamie Danjoux, all the best 🙂