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Breaking the Silence: Voices of Resilience and Advocacy on World Hearing Day 2024 

World Hearing Day 2024 revolves around the theme of ‘changing mindsets,’ aiming to reshape perceptions and address societal misunderstandings through heightened understanding and collaborative efforts. As part of this initiative, The Shepherd Centre conducted interviews with individuals living with deafness or hearing loss, exploring common misconceptions and ways to overcome them. Hear from Stephen Tang a Shepherd Centre Alumni and Hear For You Mentor below. 

More To The Story Of World Hearing Day 2024

A Perspective from....

Naomi Clarry

Similarly to Stephen, Naomi Clarry, the New South Wales Programs Facilitator for Hear For You, reflects on the misconceptions she often faces as someone who is deaf. She emphasises the critical need for normalising communication and fostering greater understanding and acceptance about hearing loss, deafness, and the use of hearing devices within society. Naomi provides her insights into the challenges she encounters, stating, “I try to remind myself that not many people have come across a person with hearing loss, and the best I can do is educate them and explain that just because I have a cochlear implant, it doesn’t mean it ‘fixed’ my hearing.” Her perspective sheds light on the misconceptions surrounding hearing devices and highlights the importance of education in dispelling such myths. Moreover, Naomi challenges the stereotype she has sometimes faced, that deaf individuals are limited in their capabilities, asserting, “Another misconception is that many people think that deaf people can’t do many things, which is not true; the only thing we can’t do is hear! We can do so much more than you think; we just need access to the language that many hearing people experience with.” 

Olivia Barnes

Highlighting the significance of self-advocacy, Olivia Barnes, an Alumni of The Shepherd Centre, offers her valuable insights. Born profoundly deaf, Olivia emphasises the importance of embracing her deafness openly. By fostering an environment of openness, she encourages others to engage in dialogue and inquire about her deafness, providing opportunities for education and understanding. “It just makes people more comfortable,” Olivia explains, “and I think the less you tiptoe around the subject and the more open you are about your deafness, the more understanding people will be.” 

Grace Troughton

Grace Troughton, a schoolteacher, and Alumni of The Shepherd Centre was born with a moderate to moderately severe hearing loss in each ear. She shares her journey with supporting devices and the challenges she faced due to societal perceptions. Despite initially hesitating to stand out, Grace has embraced her hearing loss openly and confidently. Reflecting on her experiences, she highlights the societal barriers that hinder accessibility and the need for advocacy. Grace emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy, recalling instances where she had to stand up for herself, particularly during her school years. She states, “I’ve been self-advocating for 22 years. There were times when I was at school where I had to advocate for myself because there was no one else to do it for me.” Grace perceives having speech as a “silent superpower,” enabling her to navigate a world that often overlooks the needs of disabled individuals.