Saffron Barker reflects on the ‘pain’ of her childhood hearing difficulties

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

Saffron Barker has reflected on the “pain” of her childhood memories of having hearing difficulties.

The blogger and YouTube star has made a new documentary about the difficulties faced by deaf people.

Barker, who starred in last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, was hard of hearing as a child and her eardrums frequently burst.

BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards 2019 – London
(Scott Garfitt/PA)

She had to have multiple operations to correct her hearing and she recovered around the age of nine.

Barker, 20, told the PA news agency she remembers the “pain” it used to cause her and the “struggle that it was for my family”.

“We’d go to certain places and my ears would burst and we’d have to go home,” she said.

Barker said there were “definitely times that I remember there was a big chunk of my childhood where I did miss out because of the problems with my ears”.

She said she had not spoken to her family about her hearing issues much until she made the documentary, which is titled How My Life Could Have Been So Different and is a YouTube Originals production.

TV Choice Awards 2019 – London
(Matt Crossick/PA)

“It was never really anything that was brought up and I think that’s probably because it was so tough for my parents that maybe they never wanted to,” she said.

Barker said the pandemic creates further barriers for people with hearing issues to communicate with others.

“Obviously, with everything that’s going on with Covid and everyone having to wear masks, a lot of deaf people rely on lip reading and now they can’t do that, so it is such a big struggle for them,” she said.

In the documentary, Barker discusses the benefits of wearing masks with a transparent panel over the mouth.

“They are actually incredible but you can’t actually get hold of them,” she said.

“They don’t sell them in your local drug stores and supermarkets, so for me I think that is a huge problem at the moment.”

The YouTube Originals documentary is available to watch on the streaming platform.