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Silencing the Critics: Filmmaking with a Hearing Impairment

By Ellie Hague, Videographer and Editor at Faltrego

Disability in some form is everywhere. It’s said that around 1 in 6 people are significantly disabled across the world.

I'm a filmmaker, and I was born with a progressive sensorineural hearing loss - it's unexplained and indefinite. I've felt it degrade from 'mild' to 'severe' in a short few years.

Some people consider it a disability, I consider it an ability; to empathise, to relate, to focus on more than just one sense.

In my final year of University, I had a disability advisor who recommended I go against my creative instincts and take a dissertation instead of a specialist sound module for a huge portion of our final grade.

My highest mark came from that module, and my sound piece was screened at film festivals across the UK.

Working in the charity sector of filmmaking is a perfect balance for someone like me, who can feel so deeply for the causes we create these films for. We film with people who have experienced loss, suffered through medical conditions, and still endure difficulties in their everyday life.

My job as a filmmaker, is to translate this emotion in its truest form and share it as broadly and accessibly as possible.

Having a disability myself no matter how mildly or severely it lands on a scale, means I can understand, feel, and hopefully convey these messages and feelings through the art of film.

Accessibility is something we take pride in at Faltrego for our audiences, and for our creators too. If you come across someone who is HoH (hard of hearing), here are some ways you can help:

  • Make sure you're facing them, and they can clearly see your mouth when you're speaking. You'd be surprised how much a hand in front of your mouth obstructs sound waves!

  • Try to face them into the quietest part of the room, i.e. so their back is to the noisiest part.

  • Be compassionate, make them aware that you are okay to repeat yourself, a lot of deaf people might be embarrassed or shy about needing to ask.

  • Gesture and use body language

  • No need to over-emphasise your mouth movements, this isn't how you naturally look when you speak so it's not helpful for lip-readers!

If you’d like to learn more, email about a career as a hard-of-hearing filmmaker, how we work or how you can help email

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