Category Archives: Lighting Designer

Being A Deaf Lighting Designer

Lighting Design Stencil

Lighting Design Stencil (Photo credit: SplaTT)

I’ve been asked several questions about what it is like to walk in my shoes as a deaf lighting designer. As of right now, I am the only deaf student at the School of Drama. To my knowledge, I’m the only one in this particular school’s history within the University as well.

Many people within this school are not familiar with working with somebody with a severe hearing loss and do not hesitate to ask me questions. I like it when people ask questions, in fact I enjoy it when people ask me about what it is like. It makes me feel like I’m educating people about a subculture in life that otherwise my friends and the people I go to school with wouldn’t get exposure too.

One question I get a lot: “Do you hear anything when you take your hearing aids out?”
It depends on what you mean, because there are different answers. If you mean noise, than yes/no (sometimes). I have LVAS, a type of hearing loss that fluctuates with the different days in the week and it is as reliable as the Oklahoma weather. Sometimes I’ll wake up and hear very little noise in my left ear and absolutely nothing in my right ear. Those are the days that you’ll see me being quiet at school. Other days it seems like I hear noises for what seems like OK in my left ear but nothing in my right ear. My right ear is deteriorating and I’m getting it implanted, so that will get me on that path of better hearing. If you mean noise that is understandable to the point of speech recognition and to have the ability to locate sounds, than no.

Another question I get: “Does insurance pay for your hearing aids?”
NO! It’s crazy isn’t it? The low end model of hearing aids for your grandma could cost $1000.00 each, but mine cost at least $2500.00 each with a remote that costs $1500.00. That’s $6500.00 for high end hearing aids that families have to pay out of pocket. I know of families that have deaf twins that fortunately have found help. Luckily I have received help from my doctors office, truly a blessing from God. Jace, my Audiologist and Joanna, the Director of the program have been a great help for me in getting them.

“How do you hear the alarm clock in the mornings?”
My bed is shaken by a vibrator, (the alarm clock).

“Does insurance pay for the cochlear implant?”
Luckily yes, because those things can be in the neighborhood of $60,000.00 for one.

“How can you hear on headset”/”Why would you even choose this major if your deaf?”
This question was actually asked to me from somebody at school, I simply said that I can hear from a program that my hearing aids switch to on my hearing aids.

I’ve got to go to Sociology, I’m hoping this blog is somewhat entertaining for some people reading this!

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