Read John Barrowman’s Deaf for the Day blog
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
July8, 2014 by Sarah O’Brien
Hi, I’m John Barrowman and I went Deaf for the Day for Hearing Dogs.
I hope you enjoy reading my diary from the day.
10.00 Sudden hearing loss
I arrived at Specsavers Hearing Centre in Edgware Road to meet the audiologist who would be making me deaf for the day – Mark
Edgar. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous as I imagined it would be a fairly straightforward day. Nothing could have prepared me for just how challenging going deaf would be.
The ITV Good Morning Britain film crew began filming my experience as Mark inserted special gel moulds into my ears which gave me around 60% hearing loss. I could feel the difference immediately. It’s really hard to explain how a sudden hearing loss affects you, but I could no longer hear what Mark was saying to me. Straight away, I was lip reading everything he said.
I was concentrating so hard on lip-reading one person at a time, that if someone else started speaking I just couldn’t keep up. A member of the film crew was standing beside me and apparently he asked me a question, I didn’t even register a sound. It soon dawned upon me that this experience was going to be much tougher than I had anticipated.
11.00 The silent streets of London
As I left Specsavers, I walked along Edgware Road and suddenly the world was closing in around me. I could no longer hear the sound of busy London traffic, the footsteps walking behind me, the buzz of conversation around me. I felt anxious crossing the road. All the sounds I take for granted had gone. I had entered into a world of silence.
Next, I hailed a cab to take me to my manager’s office. As I got out the taxi driver said something to me and I couldn’t hear what he said. It was too late to ask as he drove away. It’s strange the things you miss when one of your senses is taken away – like the tail end of a conversation. I wonder what he said to me…
11.30 Business as usual?
It was really difficult trying to have a conversation with Gavin as I had to concentrate intensely on watching his lips. Gavin kept telling me that my phone was ringing, I felt like I’d lost control.Next stop – a meeting at my manager Gavin’s office in central London. Gavin and the team knew I was going deaf for the day, and were intrigued to find out how it would affect me. I had to ring the intercom five times as I couldn’t hear a response. The first thing the team noticed was that I had been speaking really loudly. I was completely unaware of the volume of my own voice as I couldn’t hear it.
It was already so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I was tired. In fact, I was exhausted! Is this how deaf people feel every day?
12.30 Tired, frustrated and withdrawn
I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated as the day went on, . . . .