Life with sight and hearing loss has its challenges, but for some people, it motivates them to challenge themselves even further. We spoke to three people who have rather interesting hobbies!
Charly loves horse riding and regularly does show jumping. She has a genetic condition called Albinism which affects her vision and she is registered blind. Charly can’t see shapes or distinguish how far away an object is. When she is riding, she is helped by someone on the ground who tells her location of the upcoming jumps, whether she is riding straight, and when to ride up to the hurdle.
Many horse societies, riding schools and centres can work with blind, deaf, or deafblind students. Charly is a strong believer that anyone can do show jumping, regardless of sensory loss. She says that it is about finding an experienced trainer and a horse with the right temperament!
Kevin is a World Champion deafblind speed skater. In 2002, he was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type 2. He currently has 15% hearing and 8% tunnelled vision (similar to looking through a hole, the diameter of two pencils). He says that it can take three to five years to master the techniques and disciplines of any new sport. When you’re deafblind, this is obviously more difficult and overcoming issues such as balance was difficult. Despite many falls and disqualifications, Kevin’s determination has paid off. “We all have to fall, but Always remember to get back up and keep dreaming on your goals!” he said.
John is a deafblind paraclimber who has Usher Syndrome which leaves him with just 3% vision which is fragmented with parts missing. He regularly climbs at his local climbing centre and is also the first deafblind person to summit The Eiger! “I climb with a sighted guide who gives me all the information I need about the route. They will describe the positions of the holds in relation to a clock face, for example “pinch hold at 2 o’clock”. As I wear hearing aids, I can use a radio microphone to hear what the guide is saying to me.” said John.