When I was nearly two years old I was beginning to learn to talk. Suddenly, my speech development stopped. Before anyone else, my Mum noticed that when she called me my head would turn but I couldn’t identify which direction the sound had come from. Naturally, she was concerned.
She took me to a doctor and was told that “Mum knows best” so he referred me to the hospital where tests revealed that I only had slight hearing and I was diagnosed with glue ear. She was told I had learnt to speak by lip reading. I had grommets and my adenoids were taken out. My Mum had no experience of deafness before I was diagnosed. I know she would have felt much more confident if she had known about NDCS and the resources that we produce.
Now it is all far too distant to even be a memory. I vaguely remember occasional hearing tests and listening for beeps, but otherwise, nothing. Knowing all my life that I had gone through this, but only knowing what my parents had told me because I was too young to remember, I was intrigued by deafness. That curiosity led me to where I am today: working at NDCS.
That’s my story. There are various psychological studies that show that humans remember stories and emotions much better than statistics. This is why it is so powerful for decision-makers and supporters to hear your story: they will remember it. It will move them much more than any statistic and spur them to action. They will want to make things better, because they will relate in a human way.
MPs and Councillors, the people we are often trying to influence in our Stolen Futures campaign, are particularly used to hearing individual’s stories on the doorstep and at their surgeries. They are then obliged to act upon that ‘casework’. They are almost pre-programmed to act on individual stories, so these stories hold real power.
Not only that, the media loves these individual stories. One example of how an individual’s story made national news is here.
So what’s your story? What’s your experience of deafness? Have you suffered from a service being cut? Or a service not being there in the first place? How do people react to your deafness? What have you done as a result of the cut to services you’ve experienced?
If you can answer these questions, you can tell your story. Share it with us in the comments section today, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.