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“Deaf 101: Jessica’s Story” video


A young woman has long dark brown hair and wears a loose fitting black and white striped shirt. She has pale blue nail polish on her fingernails.

TEXT: Jessica’s Story – deaf is a spectrum.

An aqua border frames Jessica and in the bottom right-hand corner, the NDC logo.

Jessica stands in a room with a large whiteboard that has blue writing on it.


So I wish that my friends understood that with deaf people… deafness is a spectrum. It’s not just one definition. Deafness doesn't mean the one representation you see on television. Or the one thing that you read about in a book. It doesn’t mean that every deaf person is stone deaf and can’t hear a single thing. It’s different depending on who they're talking to or who they're encountering. And that it's okay not to be able to interact with someone perfectly the first time you meet them.

I think that a lot of my friends feel like they're walking on eggshells around me because they don't know how to interact with me. If I tell them, 'look, I'm deaf' or 'look I'm hard of hearing' they kind of feel like oh no what do I do' or 'Oh I'm so sorry' and it's nothing to walk on eggshells about. It's just one thing like any other thing and so long as you do the things that I might ask for you to do like look at me when you're talking or speak up, then we'll be just fine and there's nothing to apologize for.

Especially if you do understand that spectrum of deafness from being someone like myself who's late-deafened and has some residual hearing and sometimes uses hearing aids to somebody who could stand next to a jetliner and not hear that at all. So, it's things like that that I really wish my friends and friends of friends understood.

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