Posted: 04 / 05 / 2023

Hello! My name is Odran Nelson, I’m a Bookkeeper at Sedulo Manchester and I’m 28 years old. I was born with deafness, which in my case is genetic.

Before my diagnosis, I’d been taken to the doctors plenty of times because it was clear that something was wrong. Eventually, I had a test which confirmed I was hard of hearing when I was 4 years old.

Apparently, when I got my hearing aids for the first time, I threw them out of the car window. The intensity of the new, loud noise was overwhelming.

The Primary School I went to didn’t have much knowledge about deafness, so I fell behind in my education; the teachers even told my parents that I wasn’t allowed to learn the French language as it would be too much for me (merde!)

Eventually, I went to a boarding school for hard of hearing. I didn’t know sign language very well at the time, and it was hard to fit in as everyone knew how to do it. I spent years learning, even though the teachers in the school were against using sign language.

They encouraged us to use our speech instead, so my friends would teach me sign language after school. Over the years, I had to attend speech therapy as my speech was not great, and the boarding school also found out very late that I was dyslexic, so they worked with me to help me find a better way to learn.

The best thing about that school is that I have friends all over the UK and Europe who are just like me. I went on a holiday to Prague, and I met a few other deaf people. They showed me around, and it was brilliant, except for the nightclub… the lights kept on flicking on and off, so I only caught half of the conversation!

When I left boarding school, it was clear that I was living in a bubble and had to adjust to the hearing world again! It was very difficult initially, and few companies wanted to take on a deaf person.

After years of proving that I could do the job, they were happy to give me more and more responsibilities. Years later, here I am at Sedulo!


My main communication method is lip reading with sign-supported English. Verbal communication is always best-done face-to-face with supported lip-reading. I am capable of speaking on the phone, but it takes a lot of concentration.


Quiet environments and one-on-one with a person are best. Offices with a low background hum of noise are fine, but this takes a little more concentration – hearing aids boost all noise and cannot focus on one person.

Background environments with lots of noise, such as pubs, bars, etc., are very difficult, and lip reading is essential to me in those environments. It just so happens that these sorts of venues are quite often lowly lit!


I need to make sure I am paying lots of attention to screens or apps on my phone as I won’t be able to hear any announcements. Making sure I get to train stations/airports with plenty of time is absolutely critical – if the terminal was to change whilst I am moving, I would have no idea. I have come close to missing flights in the past because of this!

There are lots of obvious challenges of being deaf whilst travelling as well – not being able to hear traffic is always difficult. You need to be constantly more vigilant and aware – it’s tiring but better than being hit by a car.


Speak normally! People raising their voices or slowing their speech makes things even more challenging.

Face me when speaking to me – this gives me the best chance to able to lip read in support of hearing.

Don’t be alarmed if I look at your mouth instead of your eyes, particularly in backgrounds with lots of noise.

Using body language to re-enforce your speech; really re-enforces my lip reading and is a great help.