My name is James Curtis. I was born profoundly deaf and I currently wear bilateral Cochlear Implants. I attended Auditory Verbal UK from the ages of three to five and it is thanks to team’s determination to equip me with the tools to listen and speak that I can communicate as well as any one of my hearing peers. 

I am now one of AVUK’s young ambassadors and continue to support their mission to raise expectations and outcomes for deaf children. I hope those joining the programme enjoy it, embrace the tools provided to enable their child to fulfill their language potential and benefit form the amazing opportunities AVUK presents. I look forward to hearing news of any children enjoying a sound future.

I currently study History at Durham University achieving a First in my second year. I have enjoyed the whole university experience and do not let my deafness hold me back in anything I do. I have been involved in a wide range of sports from rowing to hockey and darts (my favourite) as well as lots of extra-curriculars. I have been on the committee running Durham University Charity Fashion show, the largest student-led charitable fundraiser in the UK, for the past 2 years as well as running a variety of other events including from festivals to the Durham TEDx event in 2019.

I know that when my parents learnt I was deaf they could never have imagined my life as it is today. They would have been distraught for my future, shocked and worried that my hearing impairment meant I would have to live in a silent world. They did not know how I would communicate nor whether I would be able to have the opportunities they hoped for me.

It was after discovering AVUK and meeting Jacqueline Stokes that they realised they should not let my deafness change their expectations. Today I speak as well as any of my friends, enjoy the same opportunities and live the same life. It is thanks to my hearing technology, focused auditory verbal therapy (which AVUK succeeded in making fun) and my mum’s tenacity and determination for me to succeed that I am incredibly happy, fulfilled and able to communicate with anyone (in multiple languages!). Most people do not realise that I am deaf until I tell them.

Before university I completed 11 GCSEs and 3 A-levels (Maths, Economics and History), participated in a variety of sports and even led a group of my hearing peers as the head of public speaking society! I have also been a leader on a variety of sports and leadership camps for younger children and travelled abroad independently with my friends. I know I can do anything and I am so excited for my future. I strongly believe that those going through the AVUK programme understand that their child’s hearing impairment will not preclude them from taking advantage of any opportunities throughout their life. With today’s technology and AVUK’s support they will be fully equipped to succeed. I wish you the best on your journey to maximising your child’s hearing potential.

Please get in touch with myself or any of our ambassadors to find out more or just to get a little bit of support, help or advice. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your time with AVUK.  

James Curtis, aged 20