- Please tell us your name.
Hello, my name is Brianna McCance.
- Are you Deaf? Hard of Hearing? Other?
I am Hard of Hearing.
- What mode or modes of communication do you use?
I grew up oral, or without sign language, but currently am getting an education in Deaf Ministry.
- Please tell us about your experience in school. What schools did you attend for elementary school, high school and college? What did you like and dislike about those schools?
I grew up mainstream, without an interpreter. I started with an FM system, which is a microphone the teacher would wear, and I would have a “boot” connected to my hearing aid to send the signals straight to the boot. I used the FM system all throughout Elementary and Middle School. I grew shy of having the FM system and having to carry it around with myself throughout the whole day so I stopped using it in High School under certain conditions- I had to have A-B grades, anything below I would have to use my FM system again.
As far as college goes, I am currently a Senior at a small private college, (Nebraska Christian College of Hope International University). My classes are small and the Professors are always facing the students when they present or have open discussions. I am studying to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Deaf Ministries.
Being an individual who has a hearing loss in a mainstream setting had many pros and cons. One of the great pros towards the mainstream schooling would be the access I had to a microphone that helped allow me to hear better. Many of my elementary teachers did a wonderful job in allowing my classmates understand what it is for, how it works, and set up the zero-bullying tolerance.
As far as cons, I truly wish I had gone to a Deaf School so that I would be able to have better access to a language I would be able to understand clearly. I also wish my family would have taken the courage when they found out that I was hard of hearing and learned sign language to benefit me as well as everyone else.
I found myself getting easily frustrated when talking with people or sitting in the cafeteria and trying to have conversations with others. The atmosphere is loud and would echo into my hearing aid not being able to focus on one person voice. I also felt overwhelmed when people would want to talk and walk and I would have to try and read their lips as well as not trip on people as we would pass by. Truly, a lot of my frustration would come from communication and the access I would not have that average hearing individuals don’t have difficulties with.
- Please tell us about your work experiences. What is your current job? What other jobs have you held? What was your favorite job?
Currently I am a Senior in college, working in the cafeteria. I also volunteer to lead a middle school Journey Group for my church. I would have to say this is one of my personal favorite jobs, as I have great stories and memories with these teenagers who are developing into the person they want to be.
Before college, most of my jobs were lawn service/ winter services, working in the school cafeteria over lunch, and delivering newspapers when I was younger. These weren’t awful jobs, but because I was very introverted and shy, I preferred having less interactions with people and these jobs seemed to satisfy that desire. I was never discriminated with my hearing loss when applying for a job though. Each employer of mine treated me like the other co-workers.
- Please tell us about your hobbies and interests.
Well, hobbies are a pretty big category, but if I had to narrow it down to a few, I would say I have a huge spot in my heart for sports. I love football (GO BIG RED) to the point of playing it with my friends and family whenever I get the chance. One thing that has recently sparked my interest since I began college is crafting. I love to go crazy and make anything I see on Pinterest or Facebook. I actually have a strange addiction to crafting. Another weird hobby is doing nails. I love to paint fingernails, so now my family will ask me to paint anyone’s nails for any special occasion as long as I use my Gellish kit. One big interest/hobby that everyone would think I have a passion for (especially since I am getting a Degree in this field) is Deaf Ministry. I love reaching out to other Deaf individuals, adults or kids, and hopefully become an inspiration to any, to see that you can do anything you set your mind to. I love to reach out to foreign countries and simply love on these Deaf children who are not being told that they are loved, and they have a purpose here.
- Please tell us anything else you would like to share about yourself or your family. For example: Are other members of your family Deaf or Hard of Hearing? Are you married, do you have children?
I am the only Deaf/ hard of hearing individual in my family, except my grandfather who has been losing his hearing due to heavy machinery and the noisy work environment. My family adapted pretty well to my lifestyle in the house. They came to an understanding of terminology that would rub off or have a negative effect on me (never mind, oh it’s nothing important, stupid, dumb, etc.). I am very proud of my family and how they helped carry me and lift me up treating me like I was one of them and no different.
In June 2017 I will be starting a new chapter in my life as I marry the man who swept me off my feet. As someone who has a hearing loss I never really thought anyone would look at me and see the inside, but rather look and see me as someone with a hearing loss. This man proved me wrong and shows me what love is, and how beauty is not defined by outward appearances, but rather the depth of love and passion that lies within one’s heart. I do not have kids, but hope one day down the road that I will have the opportunity to adopt a Deaf child and give them the love and support they deserve.
- What advice do you have for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and their families?
Your child simply needs to know that they are loved and supported by their parents as well as their siblings. My best friend growing up was my twin sister. She stood by my side, protected me when someone was being rude, and would simply play and enjoy life together. Yes, your child is different, but the only thing they can’t do is hear. If I can encourage you on one thing, that would be to learn sign language. For me, that would have simplified my life so much. Also, try to understand your child’s perspective. If they don’t like wearing their hearing aid, ask them why. Maybe it itches or just gets to waxy during the day. I still have that problem. But having parents who are trying to understand their child and why they like or dislike certain things will help you in the long run. My family will watch movies together, but we will get captions put on the screen so that I can understand what is going on. I miss so much without them, that I actually don’t understand what’s going on without them on.