I have severe hearing loss, I wear hearing aids in both ears, since I was a baby. To be honest I just had to get on with it you know, there's no point being down about it. Just being happy every day and doing what I love.
At the age of 12 I got told I was deaf and I thought it was the end of the world.
It was actually someone in my primary school who realised that I was deaf and said to my mum, "I think your daughter's deaf" and my mum was like "no, no she's not". So... Doctor to doctor and they actually said yes "your daughter is deaf".
I used to lip-read when they were doing hearing tests and I used to basically fake the results so my hearing was fine. But I knew I was deaf, I just was in denial to myself that I was deaf.
It feels really weird, you feel different from other people, you look different, you sound different. You just feel different in general but the fact is, you're special.
St Thomas' was, well they've been really great, they made me see a light through the end of the tunnel. The audiology team always sees me on time and the appointments are always quick if they need to be. Or if I need to talk about something they always resolve the problem.
This is my hearing aid and it doesn't really affect me, it's not an issue, it's just something that I've got used to wearing. I can't not wear it.
Playing sport is not a problem, I can run, I can play rugby.
They don't hurt me, they're comfortable. You take them out at bedtime.
And change the battery every two weeks. I'd say to a parent who's just come in with a deaf baby, don't worry nothing is going to stop your child with their life, nothing is going to stop them from living an ordinary life with ordinary friends.
Let them know that you're there. Try your best to communicate with them. I would say learn sign so that they can feel accepted as well into the family if it's only them that's deaf. Treat them normally, don't even think that their hearing is going to make them different.
There's always something to look forward to: whether it's getting a new hearing aid to be able to hear better or just the simple perks of having the microphone in the classroom to help you hear better or Bluetooth so you can connect them up to your phone through the loop system.
I'm in year 12, first year of sixth form, I'm currently studying law, media and geography.
I'm 17 and I'm studying A levels, I'm doing four. Maths, physics, psychology and PE.
Don't worry, you know you will have a fun life and don't let it bother you. Just fit in with everyone else and be happy most importantly.
Don't feel afraid, be special.
There's nothing to hold you back in life at all.