Hearing loss changemaker Paula Pfeifer

Paula Pfeifer Writer, speaker, activist Brazil

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“Hi! My name is Paula Pfeifer. I am deaf but I can hear thanks to two amazing cochlear implants. I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am 40 years old, and I am writer, a speaker, and an activist in the field of people with disabilities.

I was six years old when I started losing my hearing. I remember saying ‘what?’ all day long, and I became a lip-reader to compensate for my untreated hearing loss.

My diagnosis came when I was 16. I had severe bilateral hearing loss, and it was progressive. And that day, I made a very, very bad decision, to live inside the deafness closet. So I was trying to hide my disability from everyone, but especially from myself. And my hearing aids should have been my best friends, but I was denying my disability, so I was not able to give them a chance.

Ten years later, I finally decided to come out of the deafness closet with a website called Crônicas da Surdez, in English, The Chronicles of Deafness. And it has been such a journey since this website started. Today, I am a very proud member of the World Hearing Forum. I fight for accessibility and access to hearing technologies in Brazil, with the help of thousands of people. And I am very happy and also proud to have so many people helping us to raise awareness about hearing rehabilitation.

We need to talk so much more about that. This is still a taboo in so many countries in the world. In Brazil, I think we are evolving this conversation, but there are a lot of issues we need to cover to help other people with hearing loss.

So when I started my personal journey with deafness, I was alone. But I can tell you, you are not alone. We are here to help. We have this amazing and beautiful community. And when you talk openly about your challenges, your disability, and when you show your vulnerability, you inspire other people to seek help. And in 2022, we live in the best era of all times for people with hearing loss, because we have the choice to hear better or hear again, and this is accessible to most people.

And so I hope you can join us in this fight. We are fighting for accessibility, for hearing rehabilitation, for personal choices, and fighting against ableism. So thank you very much for the opportunity of introducing me and my work today. You can visit my website at www.cronicasdasurdez.com and find me on Instagram: cronicasdasurdez. Please drop me a note if you need anything. Bye bye!”