• Elisa Nuevo Vallín

Interview with the Deaf Awareness Activist Louise

Updated: May 4


She is severe/profoundly Deaf, she also suffers from Tinnitus.

An Award Winning Deaf Awareness Advocate and she is absolutely passionate about Deaf Awareness.

She is a fighter and an inspiration for many young (and not that young) deaf and hard of hearing people.

She is truly beautiful inside and outside.

You will probably know who I'm talking about; Louise Deaf Awareness is a blogger who intends to raise awareness of her daily challenges and successes as a deaf individual.

We have been following her social media channels, appreciating her work and we are now taking advantage of International Women’s Day to dedicate a blog post to her and share her achievements:

Hi Louise! So first of all, how did you become a deaf awareness advocate and why?

It was completely unintentional. I set up a twitter account and used it as a platform to rant about my frustrations of being deaf. I searched twitter and didn’t come across any other advocates. It wasn’t until I noticed people begun to follow me and became interested in my tweets. I decided, why not become the first advocate. Since then, deaf advocacy has grown massively! It’s awesome! I’ve always wanted to see change in the way that the world treats us deafies

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to face?

One of the biggest challenges for me, is living in a ‘hearing world’. It is mentally challenging for me at times. There are good days and bad days, but it’s the bad days that I find challenging and constantly battle with my mind, which can be draining!

In order to raise money you have run up almost 1000 steps for Action On Hearing Loss and skydived for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity amongst other achievements. You're also a keen rider... What is next on your list?

I’m currently deciding what to do next! I was hoping that Action On Hearing Loss would do another stair climbing event... perhaps at a different location this time. I would love to do a run... but that would require lots of training! We will see...!

You are finishing your BSL Level 2, good luck with your final exam! Will you progress to Level 3 and possibly beyond? What is your main objective of learning British Sign Language?

Yes! I’m have one final exam to complete! I will definitely continue onto level 3! I would love to become fluent one day! That would be amazing! The main reason why I started learning, was because I often wondered, if my hearing suddenly deteriorated completely, how would I communicate? how would I express myself? I thought learning sign language would be a great way to communicate. It always has interested me and I’ve met some lovely people who sign!

You volunteer for Action on Hearing Loss, you collaborate with BT to promote their app for Deaf people, recently you have announce that you are a new columnist for the National Deaf Children’s Society and you are also a Youtuber. How do you manage what little spare time you have?

I have been a supporter for AOHL for many years, since the very beginning of my advocacy journey, although I do not work as closely with them now, which is a shame! But always find time to ‘retweet’ their posts and partake in their online campaigns. Although, working with NDCS and BT has been amazing and I am honoured they chose to work with me! I like to plan my diary out a few weeks in advance ... I am fairly organised with my diary, so I have enough ‘down time’ to spend with my loved ones!

Sometimes you talk about your depression. We think it is a very brave step, as it is helping many people to discuss mental health openly. We hope you are you finding the support you need?

Thank you, it was a massive step for me to open up about it. I believe as an advocate, I need to be honest about who I am as a person. I had a lot of messages over the years from other deafies who mentioned how inspirational I was and asking how I cope. There were a few people who said that they struggled. I decided to openly talk about it, because I did not want other people to feel alone and that it is totally normal to experience negative feelings. Mental health is slowly becoming more and more accepted because people are talking about it!

But I am getting help! Mental heath is underrated and I believe that the NHS needs more funding in that area!

Finally, congratulations on your nomination for the Positive Role Model (Disability) Award at The National Diversity Awards. You may be the first Deaf person to win this award. What would this mean to you?

Thank you so much! That would honestly mean the world to me if I won this award. I’ve been an advocate for around 5 years now and slowly getting my message out which is brilliant. I’m absolutely honoured that people chose to nominate me! Even if I was shortlisted and did not win, that would still be a massive achievement! I’m so pleased to hear two other Deaf advocates got nominated (Luke Christian and Samantha Baines). It would be amazing to see one of my favourite, lovely Deaf advocates win!

Thank you very much for answering our questions, and for your work raising Deaf Awareness. Congratulations again on your role, Louise, and all the best for the future!

You can follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseDeafAware

Also, please vote for her if you think she deserve to win (we bet she will): nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/nominate/28691/

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