My name is Jesse Kazemir. I am currently 21 years old and a fourth year engineering student at Simon Fraser University. I was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia, giving me a severe rising to moderate conductive hearing loss. I wear two BAHAs (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids) made by Cochlear. As my hearing loss is conductive, I get quite good access to sound through my hearing aids, and as a result I use speech as my primary form of communication. I do know some ASL (American Sign Language) and I can carry on a conversation, but I don’t use it often in my day-to-day life.
I have many hobbies, but I would say the most significant in my life is music. I’ve been playing violin/fiddle for about 12 years, and I also play the guitar, saxophone, bodhran (Irish drum), and several other instruments I’ve picked up over the years. I’ve played in many different groups and performed all over the lower mainland, as well as in Quebec and Scotland. Being a full time university student, it’s hard to find time to perform as much as I used to, but I take every opportunity I can.
Some of my other hobbies include ultimate, hiking/backpacking/camping, snowboarding, video game programming, and building guitar pedals. As with music it’s hard to fit these in with school, but I try to fit them all in.
In terms of living with a hearing loss, one piece of advice I’d give would be to just be comfortable with who you are. If you’re comfortable with your hearing loss then other people will be too.