Life Stories and Experiences

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Lauren Barrett's Story

I'm 22 years old and I have right sided microtia and I'm also deaf on that side.

Growing up I knew nothing about microtia. There wasn't as much information about it as there is now. I thought I was the only one. Which I guess made it a little bit harder, not having anyone to relate to.

Although I knew I was "different" from an early age, it never bothered me until secondary school. Where I was bullied and laughed at for not having an ear. I started to hide the fact I have microtia, wearing my hair down and not talking about it. I felt angry about it, about being different. I thought why me? What did I do to deserve this.

It wasn't until I started college again a year ago that I had to talk about it. My hearing had decreased on my left side and I had to explain the reason behind my hearing loss. I found people where fascinated by it. The more I spoke about it, the more I became to truly except it was a huge part of who I am. I started researching it more as previously I wanted to shut it out and pretend I didn't have it. The more I looked in to it, the more I realised just how many people have microtia.

Now I feel as though the difference that I used to hate so much, I wouldn't change for the world. It's a part of who I am and I truly believe being different is more interesting anyway!

It's inspired me to go on to help children with microtia and hearing loss/deafness. I start university in September to do deaf studies and special educational needs, disabilities and inclusion studies. I want them to feel empowered by their difference and know that they aren't alone.