Text size: A A A

Read John Barrowman’s Deaf for the Day blog

Share this post:

Hi, I’m John Barrowman and I went Deaf for the Day for Hearing Dogs. I hope you enjoy reading my diary from the day.

10.00 Sudden hearing loss


John getting the gel ear moulds inserted

I arrived at Specsavers Hearing Centre in Edgware Road to meet the audiologist who would be making me deaf for the day – Mark Edgar. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous as I imagined it would be a fairly straightforward day. Nothing could have prepared me for just how challenging going deaf would be.

The ITV Good Morning Britain film crew began filming my experience as Mark inserted special gel moulds into my ears which gave me around 60% hearing loss. I could feel the difference immediately. It’s really hard to explain how a sudden hearing loss affects you, but I could no longer hear what Mark was saying to me. Straight away, I was lip reading everything he said.

10.30 Conversations

I was concentrating so hard on lip-reading one person at a time, that if someone else started speaking I just couldn’t keep up. A member of the film crew was standing beside me and apparently he asked me a question, I didn’t even register a sound. It soon dawned upon me that this experience was going to be much tougher than I had anticipated.

11.00 The silent streets of London

As I left Specsavers, I walked along Edgware Road and suddenly the world was closing in around me. I could no longer hear the sound of busy London traffic, the footsteps walking behind me, the buzz of conversation around me. I felt anxious crossing the road. All the sounds I take for granted had gone. I had entered into a world of silence.

Next, I hailed a cab to take me to my manager’s office. As I got out the taxi driver said something to me and I couldn’t hear what he said. It was too late to ask as he drove away. It’s strange the things you miss when one of your senses is taken away – like the tail end of a conversation. I wonder what he said to me…

11.30 Business as usual?


John and his manager Gavin try to communicate

Next stop – a meeting at my manager Gavin’s office in central London. Gavin and the team knew I was going deaf for the day, and were intrigued to find out how it would affect me. I had to ring the intercom five times as I couldn’t hear a response. The first thing the team noticed was that I had been speaking really loudly. I was completely unaware of the volume of my own voice as I couldn’t hear it.

It was really difficult trying to have a conversation with Gavin as I had to concentrate intensely on watching his lips. Gavin kept telling me that my phone was ringing, I felt like I’d lost control.

It was already so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I was tired. In fact, I was exhausted! Is this how deaf people feel every day?

12.30 Tired, frustrated and withdrawn

I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated as the day went on, and to be honest I just wanted to go to sleep. I couldn’t understand what people were saying unless they were looking directly at me, and when everyone was having a conversation amongst themselves – I felt excluded.

It was like I was invisible. I started to withdraw from conversations and everyone noticed that I was being very quiet, which doesn’t happen often! From this experience – my advice would be that if a deaf person asks you to repeat something, never say “it doesn’t matter.” It does matter. It matters more than you know.

12.30 Lunch ‘break’

At lunchtime, I went to a nearby coffee shop to order some lunch and a coffee. Simple every day task right?
The lady behind the counter completely ignored me. I asked “how much is it?” and she just looked down and muttered something underneath her breath. “Excuse me – how much is it?” I had no idea what her answer was as she didn’t even look up for me to read her lips.


John tries to speak through an intercom

At this moment, I remembered a conversation I had with a deaf person a few months back. He told me that when he went to the local shops, he would carry a £50 note with him to make sure he always had too much money to give the shop assistant. That way, he wouldn’t have to keep asking “sorry how much is it?” and suffer the embarrassment of people in the queue being rude and asking him to hurry up.

That’s why deafness is known as an invisible disability – you cannot see if somebody is deaf. I felt increasing frustrated and wished people could just see that I was deaf for the day, perhaps then they would make more of an effort to communicate with me.

13.00 She is my ears


John meets “his ears” – gorgeous hearing dog Robyn

After lunch, all I wanted to do was have a nap. I’m an entertainer and I’m used to very busy schedules, late nights and early mornings. But hearing loss makes you feel tired from concentrating so much. I felt a bit low.
But my spirits were lifted as soon as I was introduced to my new best friend for the afternoon – Robyn the chocolate Labrador!

Robyn was everything I expected and more. Her tail didn’t stop wagging from the moment she arrived, she was so excited to meet me and I was delighted to meet her too.

I sat down on a chair to check my text messages and moments later Robyn came bounding up to me and nudged me on the side of the leg with her nose. I asked ask her “what is it?” whilst giving the British Sign language sign for ‘where’ as all hearing dogs are trained in both voice command and sign language. Robyn then walked over to the telephone – waiting for me to follow her. She then nudged the telephone to show me that the phone had been ringing. I hadn’t heard a thing. Amazing!

A little later in the afternoon Robyn nudged me again, and this time she led me to the front door where a member of the ITV film crew had been ringing the doorbell. I would never have known that someone was at the door if it hadn’t been for Robyn. She’s so intelligent.

15.00 Danger sounds

Later that afternoon, Robyn nudged me again but this time she didn’t lead me to anything, she just lay down on the floor. When a hearing dog lies down like this, it signals that there is a danger sound. This means that the fire or smoke alarm has gone off, and informs a deaf person that they need to evacuate the building.


Hearing dog Robyn alerts John to a danger sound

One hearing dog recipient called Cas was in a changing room in a superstore when the fire alarm went off and she didn’t hear it. When Cas came out of the changing room, the whole store had evacuated, there was nobody there and she didn’t have a clue what was going on. I can’t imagine how frightening a real life situation like that would be.

I was amazed at what this clever hearing dog could do for me. Robyn was incredible and helped me see just how life-changing a hearing dog can be for a deaf person. It wasn’t just Robyn alerting me to sounds, it was her being there. The morning was hard but Robyn brought a big smile to my face and stopped me from feeling isolated. To a deaf person, I can only imagine how important that feeling would be.

Here is a short video of my Deaf for the Day experience >>

17.00 Making deafness visible


Hearing dog Robyn’s jacket made John’s deafness visible

After plenty of cuddles with my new hearing dog, it was time to head back to Gavin’s office. I walked along the streets in Central London and straight away, Robyn brought visibility to my deafness. People could see that Robyn was wearing a hearing dog jacket and then they immediately knew I was deaf.

Strangers wanted to come up and ask me about what Robyn does to help me, which is a great ice breaker and encouraged me to talk to new people. She gave me back the independence that I felt I had lost earlier in the day. Having a hearing dog really brought me back into the hearing world again.

Deafness can be a very isolating and lonely disability, but Robyn provided me with invaluable companionship.

17.30 Time for bed!

I took Robyn up to Gavin’s office to meet the team and of course they all fell in love with her! When I finally had my ear gels removed, I sat down on the sofa in Gavin’s office and I could have fallen asleep right there. I couldn’t wait to go back to my hotel to sleep.

In all honesty, going deaf for the day was one of the most insightful yet exhausting days of my life. But I only experienced hearing loss for one day, deaf people face these difficulties every day of their lives.

If you are affected by what you have read about deafness, please help Hearing Dogs to train more of these wonderful, clever dogs to change the lives of more deaf people. Please click here to donate and change a life today.

Donate now

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Deaf for the Day blog. Thank you.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *


  • Eileen  on 8 July 2014 at 9:09 am

    This is an amazing story and so true. I am 90% deaf and fortunately wear 2 BAHAs which help me so much but I am lost without them. People just don’t understand all of the emotions involved in being deaf especially how isolating it is and how much harder you have to work to get through a day. Thank you!

  • Jessica  on 8 July 2014 at 9:44 am

    Wow. I always told myself if I had to choose being blind or deaf, I would pick deaf. But seeing this makes me realizes to takeing nothing for granite. Thanks John for doing this!!!

  • Cas Fowler  on 8 July 2014 at 12:47 pm

    John you did amazingly well and it’s my story alongside you being deaf for the day you did us who are deaf and have a luxury of a Hearing Dog proud thank you. X

  • Lyndsey Ewing  on 8 July 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I like to thank John for doing this experiencing what it is like for us who are deaf and struggle, for what he experienced is just how we suffer. I say well done to him. Now he knows what it is like. It amazing how it effected him to show him each and everyday task we suffer everyday of our lives. Thank you John

  • Joanne Wallace-Seaton  on 8 July 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Thankyou John for letting the public know how it feel to be deaf for the day. I am profoundly deaf since birth. All my life I use lip reading and British sign language all my life witho hearing aids which I find never useful enough for me. We usually use deaf equipment everyday in our home. But yes in the outside world we are very often lonely down to very limited to communicate.
    When I get old one day..(I am only 40)…I will think of getting a hearing dog.
    Thankyou 😉
    Joey x

  • Brodie P  on 8 July 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you so much for trying to understand and show others what it is like to be deaf. It is hard for me even with two very uncomfortable hearing aids. If I don’t wear my hearing aids it is very awkwardly silent for me and I feel isolated and if I do wear them I am bombarded with every sound around me. Either way it is scary when in the street. It is very tiring trying to work out what people are saying and quickly think of a reply. People speak very quickly. The part when you said about people saying “It doesn’t matter” happens to me a lot and it’s really hurtful inside. Thank you again Brodie age 11

  • Angel sign  on 8 July 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Great awareness in support of hearing dogs. As you mentioned Hearing loss is an invisible disability so doing something like this once a year is not enough to continually remind people about the difficulties faced by Deaf or Hard of hearing people every day. How would you as one charity along with all the others work to raise awareness monthly rather than annually cos as always this will be old news by next week and something else will have caught the public’s eye. The blog is fantastic as it is spot on to difficulties faced daily and the one that struck most was ‘Don’t say it doesn’t matter because it DOES’ For someone as extrovert as John i can imagine how frustrated that must’ve felt when he missed chunks of conversation. Well done though for putting yourself in our shoes as well as Pat St Clement and Tim Vincent previously. Hope you raise some funds through this venture 😀

  • Emma  on 8 July 2014 at 3:28 pm

    This is so true, it’s what I used to go through until I got my BAHA, thank you so much John for doing this.

  • Cassandra  on 8 July 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Please hear this now you know how we feel im deaf n my husband but we sometime use signing lang help each other n friends that hw I feel when I was working somtim I dont get it they like dont worry make u feel like know what they talking about x

  • Cassandra  on 8 July 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Hello im deaf too now you know how we feel not hear what they saying as I hav got hearing aid hear what people saying sometim no I say sorry say again people happy say again half other no get anny dont like it x
    That how I feel sometim at work when I like know what they sayi.g they say dont worry or ther people x

  • Keely  on 8 July 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I think its great to see people taking on this sort of challenge. It does give an insight into what’s it’s like for deaf people, and yes it is how I feel. My eyes are my ears and yes it’s is very exhausting John.
    Maybe the next challenge should be to,try being deaf for a week or weekend !

  • Theresa  on 8 July 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I would like to say Thank you for being deaf for the day, I am profoundly deaf and i rely on lipreading and my eyes. I have an amazing hearing husband and we have 2 children who are hearing. I do rely on my husband and kids for sounds and etc. Sometimes i do feel like i am taking them for granted and don’t feel like i should have my family as i always think they should have a hearing mum and wife. xxxx

  • Tiffany  on 8 July 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Kudos to you! I am HOH and rapidly going deaf. Every day for many of us is what you experienced. Thank you for trying to understand and share with others who do not have a clue!

  • Mary Gosling  on 8 July 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I have tried to explain to friends family what it was like to go deaf suddenly. Going to bed with hearing waking and it’s gone.

    Thank you John for highlighting some of the issues we go through daily. In fact you explanation of deafness could have been written by myself or any deaf person.

    My daughter gets embarrassed if I’m talking loud on top of the severe/profound deafness I also have tinnitus which can be anything from a quiet background noise to a raging strimmer then I find I talk louder. I have now said to friends please tell me if I’m getting loud because you are trying to lip read follow conversations then you forget and your voice because it’s so quiet naturally gets louder.

    Tiredness is a killer I find meetings exhausting.

    I used a bus for the first time I rang the bell for my stop but could not hear if it rang! Fortunately at my side was Harley my Hearing Dog in his uniform making people aware and much more considerate. I didn’t feel stupid saying to the lady opposite “did the bell ring!”

    I now don’t have people run trolleys into me thinking I’m being rude when they have said excuse me and I’ve not heard them.

    It is an invisible disability and Hearing Dogs give you confidence, I didn’t want to go out found myself withdrawing but now Harley has given me confidence I’ve become vis able again if that makes sense! Also you have no choice to go out when owning a dog. He is my best friend and my ears.

    It amazes me at how many people have never heard of Hearing Dogs, or question what does it do? I have in the past said he answers the phone for me and yes I have had many go “really” but when I’ve finished them they know as much as I can get in about Hearing Dogs and fundraising lol.

    I just hope that TV companies will take note subtitles are horrendous in this day and age there must be a way to sort them out. How many times have you watched something only for them to stop so you are left in limbo as to what happened!

    So thank Mr B for doing this and making people aware of this awful invisible disability, non of us want pity we just want people to understand look at us when talking, if we don’t understand try saying it in a different way. Oh and finally SHOUTING at us doesn’t help and niether does…..speaking……really……slow! We are deaf not stupid.

    Thank you Hearing Dogs for changing many lives. Thank you Harley for being my best friend.

  • Anne Martin  on 8 July 2014 at 11:22 pm

    My family are all deaf apart from me. Our 14 year old son goes to the jcb acadamy from 8.30 to 5 pm every day. An hours bus trip each way on top sees a twelve hour day for him with an intensive study program and two BSL interperators providing constant translation. If you were tired after three hours you can emagion how he feels. My husband has similar issues. I am not deaf but am shattered by the end of the day interpreting, phoning, explaining ” he,s not stupid he!s deaf” ect. We are waiting for our third hearing dog who is currently in training. The difference they make to our family is fanominal and I wish to thank everyone who puts a pound in the box to make this possible. Thanks John for your courage.

  • J Phillips  on 9 July 2014 at 3:41 am

    Hello, I am an American and owner-training my second hearing ear dog. John Barrowman is a delightful actor and I enjoyed this blog entry. He is right that being deaf can be very draining, even if you’re born to it, as I was. I became totally deaf soon after I got my first dog to train; but even before that I was too deaf except to hear ambulances.

    At that level of deafness, just walking in traffic is a challenge because of all the careless drivers and blind turns they make, as well as people backing up suddenly out of driveways and so forth. Add in a hilly environment where oncoming cars can be hidden, and it’s very daunting. Both of my dogs I count on for traffic guiding– not because I can’t look both ways, but because I can’t look four ways. Doorbells, and just general response to the environment means I can actually close my eyes in public and not fret about what I am missing out on.

    I did not expect to find that my first hearing dog would be the best hearing aid I ever had, since he could direct me to sound and alert me to small things I never noticed even with a hearing aid on full blast (which hurt.) It was strange to think of knowing a person was moving on the other side of a wall. That was when I knew I would not want to go back to having no hearing dog.

    Many deaf people here like electronic solutions (which are good too) but a dog travels better with you everywhere, even to hotels not designed to be accessible for deaf people.

    Thanks John Barrowman for volunteering for this.

  • Cameron beighle  on 9 July 2014 at 10:04 am

    I will never be able to imagine what people with this disability have to live with. All those everyday sounds, like John explain are taken for granted, I know I take them for granted. Just watching the video and reading how he felt is an eye opener in itself. I’m almost at a loss for words. It makes me sad that people have to live this way and even get treated badly for it (which is inexcusable). I can not possible imagine a world without sound, thank you John for doing this and helping me understand what so many people have to live with and what they go through. Such an unbelievable story/experience.

  • Jane  on 9 July 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Got to go back to work in a moment so only read a little of this and already can feel the tears pricking. I have 45% hearing in one ear and 10% in the other so my world is not silent and for that I am so grateful but so good to read how isolated John felt after only one day. I don’t start a conversation ( I used to before my ears went silly) because it seems rude not to hear what thereplynis to your questions….people think that your not interested in them, and I am I’m just don’t hear

  • Marilyn Holmes  on 9 July 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I have a 5 month old grandson who has been wearing hearing aids since he was 5 weeks old. He was born with hardly any hearing and will have cocklier implants by the time he is a year old. We as a family will help him as much as we can. He also has outside support, so hopefully he will grow up to be a confident person. It’s a learning situation for all his family.

  • Tracii Stephenson  on 9 July 2014 at 5:43 pm

    A wonderful blog. Respect for John Barrowman. Our daughter was a h/aid wearer from age 4-12years. She lost her hearing due to meningitis. She was plunged into a world of silence for 5months fillowing sudden hearing loss after an ear infection. She had CI which changed her life in a very positive way. 19months later her implant failed. She was reimplanted within 2weeks and now at age 15 is doing great but tires as the school week is coming to an end.
    Respect to John Barrowman for taking on this task. Deafness is a hidden disability and deaf people are often wrongly labelled as stupid. This couldnt be further from the truth. Education and raising awareness is very important. Thanx John Barrowman. Xx

  • Matthew Barron  on 9 July 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Really interesting to read this from a hearing persons perspective.

    More people should be made to live life as a deaf/blind person for the day and then the general public would be much more understanding of the challenges deaf people like myself face everyday.

    Thank you for taking the time to promote such a worthy cause.

  • Carolyn Ann Curran  on 9 July 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say how great these dogs are, but I would have to say that I tried to get one for my son when he was younger and it was too much … now 26, he is still lonely and alone. Sure, family and friends is there…I always wondered what he would be like had my son been provided a dog. I love what you do, and I thank you. For doing the amazing.

  • Mrs Margo Harrison  on 9 July 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I became a volunteer for this charity because, I love dogs and wanted to help in some way. I raise funds in any way I can and speak to groups. Little did I realise that my own hearing would become so poor and having to accepting it never going to get better that I finally applied for my own H.Dog. I am on the waiting list.
    Everything John highlights is true, frustration that you are “normal” you just didn’t hear the person. Tiredness from lip reading I could sleep like a bear in winter. Isolated and feeling lonely, even if you are with friends or family.
    Only a day but, any celebrity willing to raise awareness is a paw in the right direction. Thank you Pam, Tim and the wonderful John!

  • Danielle Kelly  on 9 July 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Wow! Just love this story! I have a deaf cousin & work for a deaf school teaching deaf children. I can honestly say I love my job. I’m glad someone has proven how hard deaf people have to work. But also have our society doesn’t understand the deaf world. I feel we need to teach this in schools and BSL should be alongside French & German!

  • Marco Molinaro  on 10 July 2014 at 7:48 am

    that is amazing dog training teach , how it help deaf person (support)… wonderful :-)

  • Marco Molinaro  on 10 July 2014 at 7:53 am

    I am deaf n wear hearing aids.. can hear 50-50 (70 pc)… I has cochlear implanted before past 11 years ago.. for now not wear cochlear implanted none , cos hear go down nothing n chips is computer problem that why.. also pain too.. only hearing aids.. long story… I can lip read (oral) talk well plus sign languages (auslan).. that it.. thanku!

  • Susan  on 10 July 2014 at 11:52 am

    I loved reading this. Having a deaf son, all the
    Things we take for granted, I sometimes try
    To put myself in his place but it’s not the
    Same. Good job John Barrowman!

  • Maggie Curzon  on 10 July 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I have some hearing loss, due to hearing live bands play when I was a teenager. Thank you, John for explaning so clearly how hearing loss makes one feel so isolated.

  • Carole  on 10 July 2014 at 7:33 pm

    John thank you so much for being deaf for the day and sharing the experience. Going deaf suddenly is difficult but being born deaf can restrict language development and people don’t understand if you can’t hear language you can’t learn it. Always been a huge fan but you have my heartfelt thanks for doing thus and using your experience to educate others about deafness. Best wishes Carole

  • Roxanne Parro  on 10 July 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I am so glad that a hearing person got to experience being deaf for a day. I am deaf and married to a hearing man n all of the children in my house are hearing also. They don’t sign and I get frustrated often in my home! I d love for them to experience deafness for a few days too in order to understand where I’m coming from and to want to learn sign language or do more to accommodate me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ava Adams  on 10 July 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Loved this story, John! I am severely HOH myself. I did want to add that perhaps the title of the article should be “hard of hearing for the day” because it’s not really “deaf” to only have a 60% hearing loss, as you described it. My hearing loss is about 25% more than that. I have great vocal quality because I didn’t start losing my hearing until I was 17, and I’ve done a lot of theater which helps me maintain the fluctuations in tone. I can’t hear how loud I am a lot of the time however and I’m glad you touched on that in the article, because people give so many judgmental stares as if I am being loud to be rude! It never crosses someone’s mind that someone might have a hearing problem, especially if they are talking and their voice does not have the classic “deaf affect”. Lots of people don’t start losing their hearing until their teens and can retain the speech quality, aside from the volume. I related to so much in this post and I adore that you linked to a wonderful organization at the bottom of it too. Just when I thought you couldn’t be more fabulous! 😉 Thank you, thank you.

  • Carin  on 11 July 2014 at 2:42 am

    I don’t normally post on blogs, but this time I had to make an exception. Thank you so much to Mr. Barrowman for doing this. I shared with family and friends, to hopefully give them an idea of what I grew up with. I’m completely deaf in one ear and I would guess 25-30% deaf in the other (I also have a vision impairment). I grew up in a time when we didn’t have advocates or 504 plans or Individualized Educational Plans (IEP), so school was a huge struggle for me. I was never sent to learn sign language (I tried learning it when I went to college, but go figure, it’s really hard when you are in a class with 40-60 people), so I was more or less forced to try to learn my lessons without any kind of help, as if I was a person with normal hearing, and normal vision. It’s harder than you think.

    I got a hearing aid 2-3 years ago, and it has been the best thing ever. The first time I walked into my house after getting it, I could hear my little boy jabbering away to my husband. I heard him from the front door and he was in the other room. Before that, I would have had to be right next to him, looking at his lips (which wasn’t easy on his part, considering he had a speech delay) to try to figure out what he was saying. Even though it can be overwhelming at times (imagine going 40+ years being unable to hear, to being able to hear so much more–it can be overstimulating at times).

    Thanks again to Mr. Barrowman for doing this experiment and showing others what it’s like.

  • Peggy mullally  on 11 July 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I am elderly and deaf. It was heartening to see John Barrowman’s video, which described so very well, how utterly exhausting and lonely each day feels like for the deaf. For these reasons, I long to have a hearing dog to help me and also keep me company as well. Sadly though, although I have attempted to apply for one, I have so far been unlucky, due to the long waiting list for hearing dogs. For these reasons, I’m hoping that John Barrowman’s kind efforts will encourage more people to contribute to Hearing Dogs For The Deaf in order for them to be able to afford to train more dogs for so many deaf people in waiting.

  • Lisa Olson  on 13 July 2014 at 4:58 am

    He only have been deaf for the day. It is overwhelming for a hearing person. Just remember most deaf people grew up with the deafness. It’s not as lonely as you think. I am deaf and use American sign language to communicate but I rarely feel left out. The only time I feel frustrated is when the hearing people will not cooperate with me because it’s too hard for them to try and yet they have no idea that I put up with this daily.

    I still will pick deafness over blindness every time. We are a lot more independent. We still can communicate through sign language, read lips, go through speech therapy and writing on papers. We can see beautiful things in the world, we can read and write, we can drive. We have more job options. We can do anything but hear. I don’t understand why people choose blindness over deafness.

    It’s really cool for him to try it. Wonder what made him want to try?

  • Annmarie  on 16 July 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Wow very impressive of you to curious what it be like to be deaf for the day! I’m deaf since I was born deaf… Umm I do understand peoples who is hearing loss from older it more difficult for them to feeling lost. I have deaf hubby and kids are hearing but they using sign language since they were born. It good to have hearing dogs but it a long waiting lists for them to get it. Just a thought you should try society with deaf community for the day while you deaf? Lol. Learn about sign language and learn about deaf technology for them to attend the most need. Never lonely round deaf community! Without the community it more lonely.. Anyway by the way so proud of you for bring so brave to be deaf for the day and all the best to fundraising for hearing dogs!! Cheers :-)

  • maimuna  on 16 July 2014 at 8:36 pm

    This describe me 100% My other problem is t.v.Only can watch the pictures, but can never hear what is being said.Also Sign language can’t understand. In my young days we were not allowed to talk with our hands.I am too addicted to my behind the ear hearing aid.I have only below 10% hearing in one ear, other ear completely deaf.Why is it so expensive these hearing aids.Where can I get cheaper ones.

  • Christina  on 17 July 2014 at 12:23 am

    I am an American with a Hearing Dog from another organization. This story and video shows EXACTLY the problems I run into every day. Thank you John Barrowman for going through this for us. My dog responds a little differently to emergencies, but she definitely alerts me those and to all kinds of things I don’t hear any more. Everybody here – get a Hearing Dog! The dog here looks terrific and very well trained.

  • jackie charlton  on 29 July 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I read Jon Barrowman’s blog when it first went on the website and have subsequently been for my two day assessment at the Hearing Dog for Deaf People. The two day assessment was great and the Centre approved me as a recipient at the end of the session which is such good news, not just for me but my whole family.
    Just wanted to say that the dog I practiced some of the techniques with was Robyn, the dog that Jon Barrowman had for the day. I will agree absolutely with Jon she is beautiful and a wonderful ambassador for hearing dogs.
    Needless to say that the wait now is tantalising but I know it will be worthwhile. Being deaf has drawbacks and it is frustrating, tiring, isolating all those things highlighted in the blog. A hearing dog minimises all those debilitating emotions and conditions. Can’t wait to be a successful recipient.
    Jackie Charlton

  • Ralph Colbeck  on 30 July 2014 at 12:54 am

    Its exhausting for you because you struggle to hear. I was born deaf in a deaf family. We all thrive because we focus on what we CAN do. Oftentimes people focus on what they can’t do.

    In the cashier when somebody speaks to me. I wave in their face until they look up to me. Then I say hello and proceed to show my phone with my orders on it. Nothing embarrassing about it. The person should be embarrassed for talking to his/her selves. LOL.

  • private  on 24 August 2014 at 3:01 am

    I cannot tell you how much this man is my hero! I recently got hearing aides, and after experiencing for the first time in eons hearing the sounds of my own footsteps, and hearing birds sing, I was so excited. I literally cried the first day I experienced all this while wearing my new hearing aides. Sadly, 3 months later, I am right back to where I started from. Even with my hearing aides, I am struggling as my hearing loss increases. I have been told by co-workers to go on disability, and watched in astonishment as I have been told over and over to “never mind” or “forget it” when I ask them to repeat themselves. I have become withdrawn, depressed, and often cry myself to sleep after a long 12-hour shift. I wonder what will become of me. I don’t want to go on disability, or welfare. I want to work! I want to work! I want to hear! I want to interact with people normally. I want to be excepted. I am a hard worker, and I have alot to contribute. I want people to more understanding. I have been very open about my hearing loss at work. I’m loud because I can’t hear myself. I’m clumsy. I walk into walls at home. I walk crooked because my balance is always off. I have been asked if I have been drinking or doing drugs because of this. ugggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • Joanne  on 27 August 2014 at 5:33 am

    At last! A well known celebrity has come to help our disability! We are always so over looked, you get sick of the jibs on tv program’s “are you deaf or something” or “he’s as deaf as a door post” -are we suppose to laugh at this?, I am 100 % certain this would not be used in scripts if they had experienced this absolutely horrendous disability themselves! I had meningitis at 16 years of age, left deaf over night and could write a book on the whole experience since! I am now 49years of age, my dog is my best friend….trained her myself i may add, ive worked full time all my life and brought up 3 sons. if people dont accept you for the way you are they arnt worth knowing!! Thank you John Barrowmore for what you did for us, would love to meet you to tell you what it is really like to live a full time life like this ……..there is so much more I could do to help others through my experience especially as a role model for children given the chance. To all you deaf people out there… Don’t feel ashamed of your disability – it was total misfortune this happend to us, if people can’t be bothered to speak properly to you ignore them, walk away, hold your head high you are worth more than their snide comments or amusement. You are a person too whom has much right to all life’s experiences and adventures as the next man. Be strong, have patience, make friends with people whom you enjoy being around, don’t isolate yourself, laugh lots when there is no other option…..live life to the fullest of your ability and take no crap off others!! X

  • Bonavita  on 27 August 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you John for helping to raise Deaf Awareness!
    I am hearing, but every day, I work with some really inspiring, young people with hearing loss. I wish more people will take on this challenge!

  • Marna  on 4 September 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you for this.

    I had no idea how challenging it was to lose mobility until I lost use of my legs to an incurable, degenerative disease. For four long years, I was in a wheelchair, with medication that brought on (likely permanent) seizure disorder. Learning how to maneuver a manual wheelchair was a task and a half! You would be amazed how much of a difference it makes in small things like being able to open a door or move through a library.

    I’m walking now, but my doctors assure me I’ll be in the chair again at some point (actually, they’re generally amazed that I’m out of the thing!). I use a service dog, a toy poodle who tells me when a seizure is coming. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to work, to support my children, to have a life. My seizure disorder is invisible, so people often challenge whether I even need to have a service dog.

    Awareness is critical to allowing those of us with issues to have somewhat normal, full lives. Thank you for raising awareness for us.

  • marie byrne  on 8 September 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I lost 50 per cd t of hearing in my right ear over uk 20 years ago when my eadrum burst due to an infection, then eight years ago a virus destroyed my left side hearing completely. I haven’t been very successful with BSL. When you can’t understand the information which is presented to you, the. You can’t respond appropriately and people just assume you’re stupid, this might be understandable in people you’ve receny met but even those who knew me before, have forgotten who I am, Isolating, sometimes thats better tha. The alternative.

  • Tammy Coulter  on 21 September 2014 at 6:24 am

    Hi, I found you from searching for “apps for the deaf” I’m 12+ yrs disabled from Chronic PAIN, if that didn’t scare all my friends away, the loss of my hearing 3+ yrs ago certainly sped things up. I was very moved at someone actually going deaf for a day! After I’ll lost my BFF & then a few months later my twin sister died, well, a heavy dose of depression set in. I’m a glass 1/2 full type, prefer animals to people:) I saw a working DOG helping a disabled woman. Blew my mind with excitement. And after reading everything here? I’ve come to think that maybe there is a social life out in the world for me.I’ve been nursing emotionally, 2- 25 ur.old rescued Cockatoo’s. (Perpetual 2 yr olds:) I look at how well there doing, I think, I’m 53. It’s my turn, can you help me obtain a hearing DOG? I live in Ontario Canada. Any help you can be? Will be do appreciative. What I don’t get is how this man was eager to find out what being deaf was like. Why won’t anyone in my family do this, for even 2/2 a day??? So sad… Hope too get a response of any kind. Am so lonely, do tired of doing ALL the work for the hearing to notice me. It’s truly exhausting. I’m afraid of the dark now, d am almost homebound now 24/7… enough about me, huge KUDOS to you, for all that you do:)))) sincerely, T.Coulter All I want for Christmas is a furry friend :-)

  • Sarah O'Brien  on 23 September 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Tammy, thanks so much for your query.

    We are terribly sorry to hear of your situation.

    Unfortunately, we only cover the UK – but there are a number of Assistance Dogs programs available in Canada. If you have a look at http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org and http://www.dogsforthedeaf.org they can give you a bit more advice.

    If you have a look online there are also some support groups for deaf people in Canada which might help you, too.

    Hope this is of use, and terribly sorry we can’t be of more help. Wishing you the very best for the future.


  • Deanna Schultz  on 23 September 2014 at 11:16 pm

    John, I am so glad you did this. As a person raised in a hearing world, a musician, and to go through hearing loss is devastating and isolating. I had stopped performing and even writing. To be honest, I had no idea who John Barrowman was until just a few months ago. I wish we heard more stories like yours in this world. Through this I realized that I can still do what I am good at and I am not willing to give up music. I have started writing and performing again. I am still capable, even if there are adjustments that need made. Thank you so much for doing this! It truly inspired me.

  • Jara  on 13 November 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I am glad that you tried. I was born deaf and have no hearing dog. But it can be hard living with no idea of what’s going on. I do have special devices to let me know of door, clock alarm and few other things. Yes it’s true that you use your eyes often! What you did made me smile because you are one of my favorite actors.

  • Jenna  on 18 November 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Hi, how did you do this? Is there a way to do this experiment? my boyfriend is deaf and I want to understand how he feels on a daily bases.

  • Sarah O'Brien  on 27 November 2014 at 11:20 am

    Hi Jenna,

    We used special ear moulds to simulate deafness for John Barrowman – thanks to our lovely supporters at Specsavers. We are afraid this measure is not open to members of the public but if you use ear plugs or heavy duty ear covers this will give you a very rough idea. The experience will be lessened quite significantly in comparison to the ear moulds used by John but these are options we have used in our deaf awareness courses in the past. Hope this helps! Sarah

  • Susan Griffin  on 7 December 2014 at 5:56 am

    Thankyou John Barrowman. It shows it takes a celebrity to raise awareness. I am deaf since birth. I don’t use sign language but use my eyes constantly to lip read. It’s brilliant what you’ve done and I am sure other deaf people are grateful to you too. I’m of a woman of mature age. Employment has always been a problem for me and isolation is a way of life
    for deaf people. My speech puts people off, they feel eembarrassed. I hate communication a lot of the time. John Barrowman thankyou once again for your support. Well done.


  • Samantha  on 2 January 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you John for verbalising exactly how difficult it is everyday for a HoH\Deaf person. I often find it difficult to explain to hearing people how hard it is. I will point them now to this blog. You have done hearing dogs very proud indeed. Thank you.

  • lee bassom  on 16 March 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for doing this John.
    Anyone in Austin, TX and wants to help out with these amazing dogs, check out http://www.servicedogs.org

    Thank you

  • Alyssa  on 20 June 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Hi John!
    It was really cool to watch this! I don’t know if you remember this or not, but a couple years ago, we met at the Edmonton Expo… I was there with my service dog, Luna (a gorgeous black lab)… We took some funny pictures that day…. I would love to get them to you still! Anyways- it’s neat watching you live using a service dog. I know how much you love dogs from that day we met and watching you in the clips was really neat!!!! Thanks for shining a light on what that is like! Maybe someday we can get you to show what it’s like using a dog like Luna (for mobilitu)…. 😉 THAT would be awesome too! I’m going to try to find the right place to send you those pics you requested from me (and I’ll explain things better there…) thanks again for doing this blog!


  • Sheila Thomson  on 9 July 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you so much John for showing this video and undertaking to be deaf for a day. My dad had been left profoundly deaf after Menier’s disease and old age. He is 89. He is locked into his own world and he gets so frustrated. I feel so sorry that he cannot hear speech music or his great grandchildren’s voices. A dog is probably too late for him now , but it will be a life changer for a lot of people

  • Melissa  on 21 January 2016 at 2:50 am

    Thanks to JB for taking the time to go through the experiment and make the video. I’m HoH, but use a Service Dog for mobility issues. Being HoH IS very frustrating and draining. Now add to that chronic pain with multiple other DXs (one keeping me unable to eat enough to maintain my weight and another causing blood loss) and recent issues with medications. That’s exhausting! I’ve not been able to get help with getting a service dog. My first I trained myself (with help from my kids) when I was much better off (financially and health wise). He died a year ago. My daughter recently got me a 1 yo dog a friend was giving away. She’s not trained for me yet. My problem is I don’t have the energy, so progress is slow. She’s such a smart dog and has picked up commands (I use both ASL and vocal) after only a few tries on some commands (some things have taken a LOT more). After having her for 7-8 months (2 of those I was too sick to even take care of her, so she stayed with my daughter) she’s got a small repertoire of things she helps me with. Good progress. It’s just not enough. I’ve tried applying to dog schools and programs. No luck for the past 3-4 years. Some charge more than I get in an entire year! We need more help in these areas! Even a volunteer to help with outings and other training requiring more than 1 person would be a huge help!

Get involved with Hearing Dogs!