Client Spotlight

The Family & Community Services team are thrilled to spotlight Nolan – a remarkable Vancouver Island teenager. IDHHC has provided service to Nolan and his family for many years. The family committed to learning and using ASL, to attending workshops, and to supporting Nolan’s access to education and to the broader community. Nolan has matured into a confident, articulate and multi-faceted young man! He is now, in turn, working on contract with IDHHC as a Role Model for another young hard of hearing boy. Please continue reading to learn more about Nolan’s journey and goals.

My name is Nolan Philp and I am currently a Grade 12 student at Frances Kelsey Secondary School. I have lived with a severe to profound bilateral hearing loss my entire life, diagnosed with a hearing loss around 2 years old. I was given hearing aids and took speech lessons while learning bits and pieces of ASL, communicate around the house with it, also it comes in handy at the dinner table – you can eat and talk at the same time. One of the most helpful things I have been taught/learned when communicating with people is speech reading, which is when I watch the speakers’ lips when they talk. This makes verbal language much easier to understand. Often, I know what someone has said without physically hearing what was said. Over the years, I have been provided various assistive listening devices (such as a small microphone which I use for a multitude of situations, like when I’m working with someone one on one, or receiving a seminar in school).

Growing up, I have a wide variety of interests. As of 2022, I have played hockey for 10 years and softball for 7 years. A common question that often comes up is how do I communicate while playing a physically intensive sport such as ice hockey? The answer is that I use my hearing aids as I do with any other activity. Hockey players naturally shout at the top of their lungs while playing so there usually aren’t communication issues for me. Hockey helmets are installed with protection over your ears so I have never worried about my hearing aids getting damaged. Other forms of communication that help me is to follow the play and be aware of my surroundings – several techniques that make other players successful. Another interest of mine is working with the steam train at the Forest Museum. A large part of operating a steam train is that you rely heavily on your senses (Vision, hearing, smell, feel) to know what it needs and what is happening. Not hearing the sounds as well means that I need to find a visual or physical way to accomplish the same task. For example, when I’m the fireman (controlling the fire), since I can’t hear everything the fire is doing, observing the colour of the flames is an alternate strategy. Or for instance, if I’m driving a vehicle with a manual gearshift transmission (like a tractor), normally people use hearing to line up the speed of the engine and the wheels when they shift gears. For me, I rely more on feeling the vibration of the engine through the seat of my pants – it works so well that sometimes I rev-match well enough to shift gears without using my clutch, something most hearing people can’t do!

I have always had an interest for how mechanical equipment functions and plan on attending University to study mechanical engineering and earn a degree. Recently I was accepted to SFU. My hope is to design and/or operate mechanical equipment. Not many DHH students enter the STEM studies, so I feel it is important for me to do well in this area of study to open opportunities for others following my footsteps.

IDHHC has a variety of programs and services specific to support Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals and families in our community and we welcome you to check the links below or connect with us for additional service inquiries.

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