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> > > Deaf Teens in a Hearing World, BBC3

3 February 2012

portrait photo of a young woman, pictured with a finger to her left ear

Photo of Meghan, courtesy of Century Films

On Monday 6th February, BBC3 are broadcasting a brand-new documentary about five deaf teenagers taking their first steps in the hearing world. Charlie Swinbourne previews the film.

What does it mean to be deaf in 2012? BBC3's 'Deaf Teen in a Hearing World' shows us that there isn't one single answer. This documentary follows five deaf teenagers who are about to take their first steps in the hearing world. While they may have deafness in common, they're taking their own personal journeys to adulthood.

Two of the teens start university with very different problems. Meghan has had a cochlear implant operation just weeks before term starts and begins lectures unable to hear a thing, because it hasn't been switched on yet. Meanwhile, Sara, who is profoundly deaf and uses sign language to communicate, worries that with an interpreter and a notetaker at each lecture, she won't fit in with the people on her course.

Next we meet Christianah, who is facing the crucial final year of her A-levels in a specialist deaf school where signing is banned. Despite the risk of being given a detention, she persistently refuses to wear her hearing aids. Then there's Jake, who is an identical twin – the only difference between him and his brother Adam being that Jake was born deaf. When the twins sit down to talk about how their futures might differ, some home truths start to emerge.

The fifth teen we follow is Asher, who is Sara's boyfriend. He's currently learning to drive, communicating through a mixture of mime, written instructions and lipreading with his hearing driving instructor. (There's a nice comedy moment when the instructor explains what he thinks deaf drivers and boy racers have in common.)

Where the documentary excels is in giving us a real insight into these teens' hopes and fears, their families and friends, and what they think of the wider, hearing world. Or more commonly, what the wider, hearing world seems to think of them. Always needing to correct other people's presumptions about deafness and feeling misunderstood are recurring themes here.

There are many moments that are true to deaf life. After Meghan's cochlear implant operation, a nurse forgets that she can't hear a thing and speaks to her while Meghan can't see her face. It's a real doh! moment. Then there's the remarkable excuse a notetaker gives Sara for not being able to stay for her whole lecture. It has to be seen to be believed.

portrait photo of a young woman, pictured in profile, with a smile on her face

Photo of Christianah, courtesy of Century Films

We find out how influential family attitudes can be when Christianah tells us how her father made her and her sister hide their deafness from his friends. We also discover what Sara's mother thinks of cochlear implants just as we see Meghan having her operation, and how Jake's Dad remembers finding out that his son was deaf. Never mind the teens taking their journeys into the hearing world – their families all seem to be at different points on their own emotional journeys too.

The documentary features some clever use of sound - with the audio becoming muffled or silent at different points to give the hearing audience an impression of what being deaf can sound like. That said, the most effective and powerful scene is one where viewers are invited to try and lipread Meghan’s colleagues on her course as they chat casually in a group. The camera looks where a deaf person would look, and I can't get those shots out of my mind.

What makes 'Deaf Teens in a Hearing World' compelling is that the teenagers are allowed to take centre stage to tell us about their lives. They are engaging, honest and insightful, and because it comes from them, this film has the potential to truly unlock the reality of what being deaf means for a hearing audience.

Deaf Teens in a Hearing World will be shown on BBC3 at 4.25am (with sign language interpretation) and at 9pm on Monday 6th February 2012.

Comments

The Buzz - National Deaf Children\'s Society

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6 March 2012

Hi all, you can find a interview with Christianah who was on the Deaf Teens programme at http://youngpeople.ndcsbuzz.org.uk/topics/ref:N4F267453D2997/title:Deaf+Teen%3A+Hearing+World/

The Buzz www.buzz.org.uk is the National Deaf Children's Society's website for deaf young people aged 12-18. On this website, Deaf young people can make friends, play games and ask questions about the things that matter to them.

Go to www.buzz.org.uk today!

Zenae

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21 February 2012

I am a filmmaker and have a feature script written and a short film completed based on this subject alone. I am looking for supporters/investors/producers etc...

If someone sees this please email me services@lemonzproductionz.com.

TRAILER:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASVZGMxAZXc

Pauline Taffley

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21 February 2012

I am trying to locate deaf teens : hearing world on I player and unable to locate it. I am attending a level2 bsl course and my teacher has recommended this. If it is not on the I player are there any repeats due

Katherine

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13 February 2012

Thanks for the production of this film,it is highly educative to both hearing and deaf world.Well done! Claire,more grease to your elbow.

Colin Hambrook

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10 February 2012

The programme is still available on BBC i-player for another 3 days. The link is at the bottom of the review. Is also being repeated on BBC 3 on Monday 13 Feb at 3.20am

Savanna

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9 February 2012

Please get in touch with me if your doing another filming. I have been deaf all my life, i'm 17 now and I've just only started telling people that i was born with no hearing and i have a cochlear implant and i hate being a deaf teenager. I'm also learning to be a teacher of the deaf and i work with deaf children. I would love to tell people what it's really like to be deaf and the issues that i face everyday. This would be a great opportunity to get my story across to people and maybe they would understand what it's like being a deaf teenager in a hearing world.

Jody

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8 February 2012

I have just found on BBC I Player using the link that i just saw posted by Charlie Swinbourne. Thank you

Jody

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8 February 2012

I have recently joined this page/group as i thought it would help me along with my Level 3 studies.

This sounds like a really interesting programme but unfortunatly i missed it.

Doe's anyone know if there is a repeat on or if i can get this on BBC Iplayer as i can't seem to find it anywhere?

Krystelle Chapman

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8 February 2012

I am porfoundly deaf and I am a teaching assistant in a mainstream seondary school supporting hearing impaired students. My husband watched the programme with me and it opened his eyes as to what I have to go through to make myself understood and to understand other people. Also the igonrance of some people.

Eliza

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7 February 2012

I was really excited to see this program but I live in the US,..is there anywhere that I can go to view it?

Lee Elliott

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7 February 2012

While I applude your programme I have to say that as a deaf person I was ashamed that the programme was allowed to show hearing people the views of which myself and quite alot of my hearing friends found discriminatory to hearing people, I feel that while the show respected the people involved right to their views they should have also promoted that the views of bunch of teenagers who in this day and age have it easier being deaf than many older people myself included (I'm 30 do not that long ago was I a teen) had it, views do not in no way represent the deaf community as a whole!!

Many thanks

Lee Elliott

Deborah Caulfield

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7 February 2012

A good first episode, I thought, despite one or two subtle yet cringe-making bits of commentary, e.g. "How will she make herself heard? (at uni)" And the bit where they (Sara and her boyfriend I think it was) explain deafness as: "... we can't hear a pin drop."

But maybe as a hearing person I don't fully appreciate the depth of ignorance that is out there. If this series helps to fill in the gaps, dispel any fears (what was that about? People frightened of talking to deaf people!)and explode the myths, then bring it on.

Charlie Swinbourne

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7 February 2012

Hi Danielle, thanks for your comment, I've forwarded it to the director of the film, Claire Braden. I agree with you, I hope they make more documentaries that cover deaf life - it's the best way of educating people out there about what deaf people and our culture is really like!

And to everyone else who has commented - it's great to know about your experiences. I definitely relate to a lot of the experiences on the programme myself.

I just wanted to add a couple of links for people who haven't seen the film yet. It's currently on BBC iPlayer with a signed version:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01byv1w/Deaf_Teens_Hearing_World/

I also interviewed the director, Claire Braden for the Hearing Times and she gave some interesting insights into the making of the film. You can read that here:

http://charlieswinbourne.com/2012/02/06/interview-with-claire-braden-director-of-bbc3s-deaf-teen-hearing-world/

Thanks, Charlie

Danielle Melvin

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7 February 2012

I watched it last night. It was great, i really enjoyed it. I hope you do some more fliming for the future. i'm the only one who is deaf in the family. It can be Frustrating sometimes. When the family is all the together and they're talking away, and it makes me feel isolated sometimes. So i forced them to watch it last night and they seem to be aware a bit better. I'm glad that it came on tv and it makes people realise what we feel. And i work for the City Council and i loved it. People are so nice to me and they seem to understand well, im so glad that im here. P.s PLEASE MAKE MORE OF IT.

Annette

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7 February 2012

What a brilliant program. I am the hearing mother of a thirty two year old profoundly deaf son who uses BSL to comunicate.He has so many friends in both the hearing and deaf worlds. I do think this is because he goes out of his way to make himself understood with hearing people. Once people take the time to understand him they realise what a great funny caring intelligent individual he is. He left school with afew GCSEs tried a couple of jobs then whilst working did a course at The City Lit to teach BSL. I am one very very proud mother.Things are a bit different now for the deaf teenagers they have so many more opportunities, they really must follow their dreams and not be put down. Fight for it all the way.Good luck to all of them.

alina

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7 February 2012

Is hard to be deaf in this world is not much people understand how is to be deaf ..how we are feeling inside ....and about this ....of why some of deaf people wear hearing aid or Cochlear implant is to hear to sound of music to make us happy....in our world...but we don't understand what they say in the music what sing in word like this is and when we watch TV if we put loud volume we still not understand what the say on TV...and sometimes the sound we hear..make feel we are not alone..is some sound there than nothing for us...but people have to understand us deaf ...we have hearing aid or cochlear implant just to hear the sound and lips reading to understand the same time sometimes we don't read everything on the lips, when we cant concentrate like we have lot in the mind or we are tired..or we can't reading everyone on the lips..and the make us so sad and feel down ...

And i hope in future teenagers, children and adult who is deaf to have more support about if they wish to do something in they life ...i am talking about university more here because teenagers is at the stage where they want do something in they life...and if they have somebody deaf in they class they have to introduce deaf with hearing and to tell we are deaf and we want to communicate and to show them how to communicate because lot people don't know how to get in contact with deaf...when i was in college first thing in first day i say i want to explain to my class to know me i am deaf and what they have to do to communicate with me...and do you know they was so happy to know and to learn to sign my name...so is best for all school , college and university first think is to introduce deaf people to hearing and to explain and show video how to communicate...is a lot more to say...but i think i stop here....

I do love hearing world because i was grow in a hearing family and have a lovely hearing friends ..and i do love deaf world and for first time in my life i go out last year to meet deaf people and when i meet deaf people like me i was feel i come home...so please deaf or hearing we all one love we need just to communicate between us...to understand..love you all.

Daniel Jones

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6 February 2012

After watching this programme, I'm am pleased to see that it's being put to the public of deaf awareness. It's a vital tool to see this teaching many others what it is really like to be a deaf individual yourself. Unfortunately to this day, I still do experience difficulties at my employment, at first I had trouble with indivuals that wasn't aware of my deafness. The only way was to teach them, luckily my company got someone in to teach my colleagues of the issues I face. Nowadays things have dramatically improved my job every day. The other thing is that I speak soo well, I fool a lot people in thinking that I'm like everyone else but I have to tell them that I do have a hearing problem. Most say come off it but seriously I tell them again I'm not joking. They soon realised. I'm am what I am now is all down to the teachers that train us. Credit to them, it's not easy. What I noticed tonite was very different social life to the one I have, there is no other deaf person in the group I go out with, all of friends are hearing. I don't mind deaf world but there is a whole lot more you can learn from in a hearing world. It's best to experience them both. I prefer the hearing world because that's me as indivual. Everyone is different. Unfortunately as we all grow up from teens to adults there are many more barriers that we face thru our life. Frustrations build up! Getting more emotional etc I could go on. I wanted to say I enjoyed the programme n hope you plan to do more of this to show more awareness so that people can understand things better. Thank you.

MJ

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6 February 2012

Great show, really portrayed the realistic issues young deaf people face. However, the notetaker needs to be sacked and the nurse needs some deaf awareness training, especially in light of her regular contact with D/deaf patients! Shameful.

Emma Bagley

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6 February 2012

i really enjoyed watching that! Im profoundly deaf with two implants! :D x x

carlie simpson

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6 February 2012

I am really looking forward to this as I have been working as a CSW for the last 10 years and am hoping to be an Interpreter in the future. It will be an interesting insight as I work with Deaf teenagers in a mainstream school and know some of the problems they face

Matt Wainwright

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6 February 2012

I am a CSW in a college in London. I also support Deaf people in interviews with government services. I hope this program will make people aware of what it means to be d/Deaf. But I will wait and see.

sheila16

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6 February 2012

I am deaf myself and my own hearing family doesnt sign language much, I understand not easy only the reasons is communication, i think programme is good and bad respective from deaf people's view and i agree with deaf person's feeling and strong view of point and try to understand with hearing peers and to be deaf in hearing world, in every day in our life. Why banned signing and why they think they dont want to see hearing aid as deaf person, in real world they share their experience with hearing world and hearing person own view of point. I dont see deaf myself or hearing either, no different.

sheila16

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6 February 2012

I am deaf myself and my own hearing family doesnt sign language much, I understand not easy only the reasons is communication, i think programme is good and bad respective from deaf people's view and i agree and try to understand with hearing peers and to be deaf in hearinf world, in every day in our life. Why banned signing and why they think they dont want to see hearing aid as deaf person, in real world they share their experience with hearing world and hearing person own view of point.

Mark Bushell

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6 February 2012

Deaf 'schools' (????) Banning BSL, a recognised language that empowers and elevates awareness of deaf culture internationally. Just who makes these decisions????? I can guarantee it's not deaf people or anyone with genuine empathy.

alina

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5 February 2012

I just find this program for deaf, i am deaf my self and my old son is deaf too, and is hard sometimes when communication is problem ...I think this program is good to see people and to understand how hard is to be deaf in this world..and how hard is when we work, study...etc..

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