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‘UK Council on Deafness’ Category

02 JunLambeth Council Now in the SignLive Community Directory

British Sign Language Users in Lambeth can now call the council with SignLive. Calls to Lambeth council are completely free of charge to the Deaf Community thanks our recent partnership.

To make a call:

1) Login to the SignLive app or visit

2) Click on the Lambeth Council logo and press call.

3) Be connected to a qualified BSL interpreter who will relay your call to the council.

Lambeth joins a growing number of councils and other organisations that Deaf people can access with SignLive. To see the full list, login to SignLive and click on the Community Directory.

10 MayMary Ann Payonk – her story on acquired deafness

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As Deaf Awareness Week 2020 comes to an end and as proud sponsors of the campaign being led by United Kingdom Council on deafness UKCOD, we are delighted to have our friend and long-time BIVR advocate Mary Ann Payonk share with us her experience of acquired deafness.

Mary Ann is a realtime stenographer from the United States, and with many years’ experience under her belt, she is not only at the top of her stenography game but she consistently champions all things relating to stenography. Here at BIVR, we have had the pleasure of her presence over on this side of the pond at our last two BIVR Awareness Weeks in 2017 and 2019 where she closed the events in her inimitable style.

We thank you for sharing your experiences with acquired deafness, Mary Ann. This proves to us all that stenographers are able to continue to be guardians of the record and also captioners if they, too, experience a similar situation. And, more importantly, that we should all have regular hearing tests.


From Mary Ann:

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Is there a court reporter out there who hasn’t offered their non-medical opinion gleaned from the tiny bit of knowledge we gain covering all manner of subjects in our work? I did, and thank goodness I didn’t follow my own advice!

A decade ago, I checked myself into the hospital for an Executive Health Screening, a full day of examinations from head to toe done all in one day for the busy executive who doesn’t have time to schedule many tests over several weeks.

A routine hearing test was included, and at the end of the day, everything was pretty much normal; however, one result came back that was somewhat concerning to the clinician: I’d reported a slight ringing in my ear, and the test revealed a 10% hearing loss on the left side. Because there was no apparent cause, they sent me for a brain scan.

Having done plenty of medical malpractice work in my 30-year career, I felt certain that surely it was caused by listening to music with headphones, but I reluctantly went into the tube. The results were reported immediately, and immediately I had a few new terms to add to my stenographic dictionary: vestibular schwannoma, acoustic neuroma, and CyberKnife.

A schwannoma is a benign tumor that grows on the nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain — and of all places for a court reporter to develop a problem, one that involves our hearing is most concerning!

For me, the very best thing to do at the time was simply to monitor the growth until other issues arose. As years went by, yearly MRIs revealed slow growth, but there came a point in time when treatment was indicated.

My treatment came in the form of a course of CyberKnife. I was fitted with a mask that would hold my head perfectly still for pinpoint radiation treatment that lasted two weeks. The goal was not to eradicate the tumor but simply stop the growth. The good news is that yearly tests prove I’ve met that goal. The bad news is that the side effect of CyberKnife treatment is complete loss of hearing on the treated side.

Today, I am still very happily working as a realtime court reporter. I have no problem taking the record, as I listen to the testimony through the videographer’s feed. In recent days of quarantine due to COVID-19, I’ve been working remotely and still wear headphones to ensure the best record.

My one-sided deafness, discovered almost by accident, was reluctantly acquired deafness, but I’ve adapted well. Several years ago I worked on a huge case with 30 lawyers in the room. When one mentioned his own hearing loss, I offered up a short version of my story and we discovered that three of us in the room had been treated for acoustic neuroma that caused our hearing loss!

Deaf Awareness is not limited to promoting and raising awareness of organizations that support those who are deaf. Deaf Awareness also means that everyone should have their hearing checked yearly and follow up on any unusual results. And do something that I wish I’d done through the years, even before my diagnosis, and that’s to learn sign language!

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09 MayInspiration during Deaf Awareness Week

“I don’t know where to start with the difference tennis has made to my life!” – GB Deaf Tennis Player Phoebe Suthers

This weekend GB deaf tennis star Phoebe Suthers from Yorkshire should have been flying to Slovenia in a bid to try and retain the women’s singles and doubles titles she won at the Slovenia Deaf Tennis Open in 2018. The event is held every two years and would have coincided with this week’s annual Deaf Awareness Week. Here, Phoebe looks back on her tennis journey and we hear how she is handling life during lockdown.

Born deaf, Phoebe’s love for tennis began at the age of eight in school PE lessons, with her school subsequently suggesting she attend ‘Come & Try’ sessions at Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club to further nurture her talent.

The Elland youngster was already part of junior squads at her home tennis centre when, in 2013, her mum saw an advert about deaf tennis. Together they attended an LTA (former Tennis Foundation) Deaf Tennis Camp and later that year Phoebe competed in her first National Deaf Tennis Championships, where she met Catherine Fletcher, the LTA’s National Deaf Tennis Coach.

Read More>>

07 May180 new GPs in the SignLive Community Directory

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We are thrilled to announce that we have 3 new partnerships that cover 180 GP surgeries in the Sussex area.

Brighton and Hove CCGEast Sussex CCG and West Sussex CCG are now live in the Community Directory. This means that deaf patients can now call their GP free of charge in these areas.

For SignLive users logging in through a web browser, the individual surgeries are grouped under each area.

To see the full list of practices available download or login to SignLive and click on the Community Directory.

Organisations – Take the first step to making yourself more accessible by contacting us here.


05 MayThanks to our sponsors of #DAW2020

Our second day of Deaf Awareness Week 2020, do continue to share your stories using #DAW2020!


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