A deaf-blind woman has described her life as ‘living in dark and silence’.
Jeanette Moss has congenital deafblindness meaning she was born with a hearing and sight impairment.
The 47-year-old has always been profoundly deaf, but her sight has deteriorated over the years.
She said: “It’s like living in dark and silence. It makes me feel isolated and does kind of depress me because it will always get worse - not better. It’s quite scary.”
As a baby, Jeanette had surgery to correct a squint in her right eye but it failed.
The sight in her left eye has deteriorated over the years.
As a child, she went to the now-defunct Elmete Hall School for the Deaf in Leeds before moving to the city’s Parklands Girls High School, which is now known as Leeds East Academy.
After leaving school, she worked as a laundry operative at Roseville Enterprises, a social enterprise that employed disabled people.
She said: “We weren’t allowed to do sign language in school at first because it was seen as bad to be different - they wanted us to be ‘normal’.
“We had to put our hands behind our backs but we would all do it as soon as the teacher left the room. We would get whipped if we were caught.
“When I moved to Parklands, I was bullied because I was deaf. They didn’t understand.
“I don’t find it easy to make friends even now because I don’t find it easy to trust people.”
Now, Jeanette only uses sign language to communicate with deaf people and instead uses a large magnifying glass to help her see and lip read.
She also reads giant print in 42 point size font.
She uses a hearing aid to help with her balance and a red and white striped cane to help with mobility, but she rarely ventures out alone.
Jeanette met her husband Peter Moss 20 years ago and the 54-year-old is now her carer.
The couple live together in a social housing flat in Kirkburton.
A support worker from St Anne’s Community Services visits their home monthly.
Jeanette has received support from charities, such as the Huddersfield Society For The Blind, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Sense and Deafblind UK.
One of the charities provides her with specialist lighting and the canes, while another donated a microwave, which later broke.
The Hutchinson Deafblind Trust, a charity that provides advice and support for deafblind people and their families across Yorkshire, began helping Jeanette shortly after it was launched in 2009.
The trust gave her a brand new 50” Samsung TV in 2011 and a brand new LOGIK gas cooker, which was later adapted with Braille labels, in 2013.
Vikki Pinder, a family support worker for the trust, has been visiting Jeanette for a few months now and they have been discussing setting up a friendship group for deaf-blind people across Kirklees.
Peter said: “We went to a social event that the trust held last year.
“From my point of view, Jeanette’s spirits and mood were lifted by the day. She was happier and had been lifted by the help and experience of by being around people who have the same problems.
“[The trust’s help] does make a difference.”