Harrison was one of the first young children to attend Auditory Verbal UK and has just graduated from university! Here, Harrison reflects on the past three years. 

I have just graduated from Aberystwyth University with a 2:1 after studying Film and Television Studies. It’s a great university, located in beautiful countryside on the west coast of Wales. Being a small town, everyone knows everyone, and a large number of the population is made up of students. 

When I first came to Aberystwyth I only knew one person who was a family friend. It was a particularly challenging experience meeting and living with new people, however after the first week of awkwardness I settled in comfortably. The main struggle I had in relation to my hearing was accents, and also loud environments such as pubs and nightclubs. Fortunately lectures were fine as I could sit near the front, and also look at my friends’ notes if I missed anything.

Looking back on my time at university I would say each year was a slightly different experience. This was because I found myself spending time with different people when taking up various course options and moving from university accommodation to a house share. In addition, I joined the university surf club despite having never surfed before. I had enjoyed watching it in films and always wanted to try it. Not having my cochlear implant on in the water did present an initial limitation, however I got through it by explaining the issue to people and working hard on lip reading. Since then I have travelled to Cornwall and Portugal on surf trips, and plan to do some more in the future! 

This past year I also worked as a shop assistant in the Student Union Shop. I actually really enjoyed talking to customers, and getting to know the regulars. My co-workers were always a good laugh, plus the free food occasionally left over at the end of the day was a perk.

On the academic side I chose to study films because I particularly enjoyed filming and editing short films with my friends. It also built on the work I had done in my A Level in Drama. During my second year I grew more interested in documentary work after making a short film about the local swing dance club. 

For my final year I wanted to do something a bit more ambitious, and personal for me so I decided to look into cochlear implants and deaf culture. I came to realise that I had a lack of exposure to that world, and hadn’t properly spoken to other CI users about their experiences. Growing up I feel it would have been nice to see something like this documentary, just to give me that knowledge that there are other people out there in similar situations. I reached out to the few contacts I did have from when I was younger, and got some amazing people to talk to. 

I think since doing the interviews I’ve become a lot more confident, and sure of myself, accepting my limitations but not letting them hold me back. It was also really fun listening to people talk about their lives, and discovering that we have had the same experience.

As for the future, I am currently searching for a job. Mostly within media production but also something near my family to keep going in the meantime. It is a little bit daunting, and I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do. However, that’s what makes it exciting as well. 

In 2016, Harrison wrote a series of blog posts for our website. Click here to read Harrison's reflections on the impact of AVT.

The documentary that Harrison created as part of his final year project is available below.

Impaired by Harrison Steeple