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Deaf Teens: Hearing World

2012-02-16 51 25,575 Vimeo

Insightful documentary by director Claire Braden about five deaf teenagers as they take their first steps into the hearing world. It follows some extraordinary young people who have some extreme and surprising attitudes towards their deafness. It highlights how not all deaf teens want to be able to hear and are often defiant against being part of the hearing world, but also the lengths some deaf teenagers will go to to improve their hearing. Sara and Asher wouldn't choose to hear even if they had that option; they are fully deaf and proud of their deaf culture. Not only do they not hear, but they also don't speak. This makes Sara's first days at university a real challenge, as she feels isolated and worries that her two support workers make her look like she has 'special needs'. 19-year-old Meghan feels she has hit a brick wall in terms of her deafness and desperately wants to hear more. We are there as she undergoes a life-changing operation to have a cochlear implant fitted which should radically improve her hearing. But the operation doesn't come without its risks and falls the week before she starts at university - a fully-hearing environment. Jake and Adam are identical twins, with one difference setting them apart - Adam is hearing but Jake is profoundly deaf. Adam and Jake have their own one-handed form of sign language and Adam isn't afraid to ask Jake the tough questions over whether deaf couples should have deaf children or what jobs deaf people should be allowed to do. Christianah is entering her final year at her specialist deaf school where she and her friends have a very sassy attitude to their deafness, being quick to deride anyone who won't take them seriously. It is their last year of living in a safe, deaf environment and the nerves are beginning to set in. The film highlights the difficulties deaf teenagers face when they enter the big, wide hearing world for the first time - providing a fully-immersive experience which illustrates what it's like to go to a music festival and not hear the music, how hard it can be to keep up with conversations and make friends, but also the joy of silence.

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