Just because I am dealing with my hearing loss, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect the other people around me.
Yes, my direct family had to live with it, but my wife, Claire, experiences it in a different way.
So in our first ever video together, we have a chat about it has affected her, but not necessarily in a bad way.
Check out the video [CC] below as Claire talks about her experience being around my deafness, with transcripts below the video:
Ahmed: What’s up everyone? I am Ahmed Khalifa and we have a special guest on my video. This is my wife, Claire.
Ahmed: She’s taking part in this video. Isn’t that fun? So…
Claire: My first YouTube.
Ahmed: Is it your first YouTube?
Claire: Very first.
Ahmed: Wow. Momentous. We thought we’d do this. Well, it was actually Claire’s idea to do this. It’s part of Deaf Awareness Week and Claire thought why don’t we do a video together and we’d be asking each other questions about this kind of topic. So I think it’d be quite fun. Welcome to my show.
Claire: Thank you.
Ahmed: I think.
Claire: I’m your first guest though, eh?
Ahmed: Well, you are actually my first guest. Yeah, you are, I know, so–
Ahmed: You’re honoured.
So when we started dating I didn’t tell Claire about my hearing until was it the third…
Claire: I think so, yeah.
Ahmed: The first two times I didn’t bother to wear my hearing aid and the third time I thought, for some reason I just thought, I’m gonna tell her and I remember it was in the cafe and we were talking about it about and, yeah, that was when I was like. Let it out kind of thing.
Claire: Bare it all.
Ahmed: Bare it all, that’s what it is. So what did you think when I first told you about that? What was going through your mind?
Claire: Um, I think I already thought there was something so I wasn’t very surprised. And I think you had sort of won me over already so, yeah, so, it really didn’t phase me.
Ahmed: Why don’t you ever tell me that?
Claire: I tell him all the time.
Ahmed: Doesn’t tell me anything, any time I tell you everything she say, “Oh, shut up.”
Claire: And I think because I didn’t react in any of sort of way you then felt very comfortable and it was enough of a conversation to then.
Ahmed: Until for another time when we talk about it in more detail.
Claire: Yeah, yeah.
Ahmed: In more depth but that first time was just short and sweet.
Claire: Yep, yep.
Ahmed: I think it was.
Claire: Yep, what did you think I would think?
Ahmed: It’s hard to imagine because everyone reacts differently, whether it’s good or bad, whether it’s small or big, it doesn’t really matter so I didn’t know what to expect.
Ahmed: But, I guess, that’s the reason why I felt comfortable telling you because I also thought like, you know, after three dates it was going very, very well and I thought, you know, it was going to take a lot to kind of ruin it and I didn’t think that was going to do that to me so that’s why I thought I felt comfortable enough to tell you.
Ahmed: People who know me outright, didn’t know that I wear hearing aids, and I’ve got a hearing problem, so, you know, I think but I’m telling you after three dates.
Claire: Yeah, and I could tell that which was a big deal for you to tell me so early on. You obviously felt like you were invested in our relationship already, so, you wanted to get it out there earlier, I guess, in case I ran away but, but I think that you knew that that probably wasn’t gonna happen.
Ahmed: That’s right!
So after obviously a few dates, and then few more after that, and then we get engaged, and then we are now married.
Ahmed: Yeah, we are.
And, you know, you get to know me better about, you know, about all these things in my life. So with regard to my disability, what quality do you think that it gave me?
Claire: Mm-hmm. So I think that you’ve always been a very loving, a very caring, you put other people first. That’s just who you are but I think because you have your hearing problem you are more patient. I think you take time to really understand people, you listen to people, and you are more considerate, I think? Just all around.
Ahmed: I never thought of that. I never thought that it’s something that could make me more considerate, I don’t.
Ahmed: I never really, yeah, I just never thought about that.
Claire: I think you’re more compassionate to other people’s problems as well.
Claire: And I think you can relate to other people in other ways because you’re going through similar, not exactly the same things.
But there is an understanding there and you let that person know that you have that understanding and I think that given what you’re doing with these videos and the amounts of comments you’ve got, and the types of comments you’ve got.
Claire: These are really helping other people to feel like they’re not alone and they have another outlet, and you’re giving them that and I think that does sum you up that you are a giving person, you want to help people.
Ahmed: Again, you never tell me that. Why you never tell me that?
Claire: This is a theme.
Ahmed: It’s not. Okay, it is.
So obviously having a disability comes with challenges and I thought, you know, that the way I’ve been living my life, you know, the challenge is enough for me alone but as a couple in a relationship it’s a whole new set of challenges and it’s unique, so obviously, come to you then.
Ahmed: Did it bring in challenges and what are the challenges that you think that my hearing disability has brought to our relationship really?
Claire: I mean, I think, it’s not really, it’s not serious things.
Claire: So things like long car journeys can be really lonely.
Ahmed: I hate it.
Claire: Because the radio is my friend, which is fine, I like to sing along but we cannot have a conversation. The noise of the road is far too loud for me to be able to have a conversation.
Claire: Same on planes, there’s no way on a plane you can have a conversation because I obviously don’t think about these things, or wouldn’t have before, but now you realise how noisy the environment is and so even on a plane talking to a hearing person can be difficult, for you it’s an absolute nightmare, and so again we just can’t talk.
Me forgetting about your hearing problem a lot because it’s not something you see so, you know, if I’m mumbling, or looking away in the fridge, or in a different room as you maybe heard on the other video.
Ahmed: You know what I’m talking about.
Claire: You know, I forget and then you’re like, “I can’t hear you,” and I’m like oh, sorry.
Ahmed: I do.
Claire: And so it’s very, very easy to forget.
Ahmed: Because of all the challenges you kind of have to adapt to the situation.
Ahmed: What kind of things have you had to do to adapt and kind of, you know, twist your life a little bit to make my life easier?
Claire: Hmm, so one of the biggest things, which is not a big thing at all, is subtitles.
Ahmed: Love a good subtitles, massive fan.
Claire: So I even, I have the subtitles on all the time even if I’m on watching TV myself because it’s just become so much of a habit. I read the subtitles even though I can hear perfectly fine.
And I don’t mind them it’s just why take them off when they don’t cause any irritation but it’s the fact that we need them.
I probably, I said before, I forget or I don’t really always realise how difficult things are for you so I just take it for granted that things will, you know, you just get on with things, which you do.
But things like going to the cinema, I don’t realise how much of a challenge that is that with all the other background noise and, you know, films don’t have subtitles and that is really, really challenging and that’s something I think needs to be looked at.
Ahmed: It does.
Claire: Going out with a group of friends, I probably in the early days because you weren’t as open about it as you are now, I probably felt quite protective of you and then, was then more–
Ahmed: She’s a keeper.
Claire: Looking after you and like, are you okay and can you hear? And so I was adapting in that sense by being more aware but now I’m not very aware and things like I need to be more patient.
Claire: Because I know that I will need to repeat myself multiple times a day. It’s been three and a half years so far.
Ahmed: Three and a half years so far and you still haven’t got used to it.
Ahmed: Okay, so the marriage is looking good, isn’t it? Since I’ve been more open, what have you noticed about me? Anything change at all?
Claire: Yeah, I think, from doing your let go video, which won you your trip to San Diego, that was a big turning point and I think that was your first video about it so up until that point most of my friends had no idea, it’s not something I told my people.
Ahmed: Nor do I.
Claire: It just really didn’t come up in conversation.
Ahmed: Yep, I don’t do either.
Claire: So I think it was almost like, you know, a moment where you were expressing it to the world and people we spent a lot of time with didn’t have any idea.
Ahmed: No, yep.
Claire: Which shows how well you adapt to situations, how much your hearing aids don’t draw attention, as much as I know you think they do.
Claire: And how well, yeah, just how well you cope in situations so I think you’ve become a lot happier and because it’s almost like a weight off your shoulders that now people know and you wouldn’t have had the confidence to do these videos.
Ahmed: No, no.
Claire: I don’t think unless you hadn’t gotten feedback from the last one.
Ahmed: You’re right the let go video, gonna put that video in the showroom, you can see it. That was a big deal for me to do that video and the fact that it got me to San Diego and to meet a huge inspiration of mine in life, you know, Pat Flynn, it was, it blew my mind and I should point out, though, it was this person here who pushed me into it.
Not pushing to me like, you know, “You better do it now or you’re grounded.” More in terms of like encouragement, like, “You can do it, you can do it,” kind of thing.
And the videos I’ve been doing for Deaf Awareness Week also Claire was like, “Oh, just do it, just do it. “I think it’s a great idea.” The fact that I’m doing it for something personal that’s a whole other level, I never thought I would do that, so, yeah.
Claire: It’s showing your insecurities, your vulnerability, which is brave no matter who you are so it’s helping you as well as it’s helping other people.
Claire: Because you are able to express yourself and how you feel about it and you people you know very, very well through these videos are learning more about how you feel about it and how it affects your life.
And you’re not doing it as a please pity me, it’s a I want to educate people, and I want them to be more aware, so that they can help me and I can help them, and we can have a better interaction.
Ahmed: Yeah, I mean, yeah. It affects my life and I think I, you know, try to make a joke out of it, be sarcastic about it, but it is about making other people aware, yeah. You’re right.
That was the main point of it. To round it up the only thing I wanna say is to thank you, first of all, for appearing…
Claire You’re welcome.
Ahmed: …on my video. And also because you have encouraged me, you gave my confidence to do that, you’re really, you know, gave me that platform to be like, just be free, and tell people about it, and have fun with it, and just laugh about it, you know, just create videos and, you know, already it got me to a lot of places that I never thought was possible.
San Diego, feedbacks, and, you know, all these messages I’ve been getting from people I know to strangers, it’s great, so if it wasn’t for Claire, it wouldn’t have happened so I have to thank you for that.
Claire: You’re welcome, I’m very proud.
Ahmed: Look at that, fans, she’s proud of me.
Claire: I am.
Ahmed: Well, then that’s it so thank you for watching and let us know what you think about it, if we could do any more videos together. Huh?
Claire: It’d be nice.
Ahmed: Huh, we could do more videos together?
Claire: Only if they’re nice.
Ahmed: Yeah? If you want more videos, tell her.
Ahmed: Just tell me and I’ll get her back on, okay? If you don’t, just tell me as well, privately, and thank you for watching and we’ll speak to you soon hopefully. Take care.
- Social model vs medical model of disability: What’s the difference? - September 22, 2021
- #mySLjourney: sharing my sign language journey + how to join - September 19, 2021
- Funny (yet terrible) hearing aids jokes - September 16, 2021