Conversation w/Sidra Khan

Conversation w/Sidra Khan

Hi everyone! We are so excited to launch a new series called “Hearin’ Me”! We will be chatting with people and professionals within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities and highlighting different challenges and struggles they face in a hearing world. 

Our very first guest is Sidra Khan! Watch the full video here!

“Hi my name is Sidra Khan, I’m 23 and I live in New York, originally from Pakistan I am a graphic designer by trade. I am the only child born with severe Sensorineural hearing loss and I was not diagnosed until I was 3 years old. None of my family have been diagnosed with hearing loss.”

What has it been like growing up Hard of Hearing in a world where everyone around you has the ability to hear?

“It has always been challenging, especially when you’re the only person that has a hearing disability. All my life I have grown up in a hearing world and haven't really known much about my deaf culture, haven’t been interacting with people with my disability. It’s always been hard trying to make new friends, and  build confidence. I'm happy my audiologist has taught me not only about American Sign Language, but also my deaf culture.”

What was your response to your audiologist when they told you about this?

“Honestly I was like, there's no way I can relate to them because I am so used to the Hearing world. But when I got into it, I learned a lot about facial expressions, lip readings, interacting with people loud and clear, It was pretty cool! From this I built a lot of confidence in which I explained to people to ‘please speak up louder’ or ‘please be patient with me'. It has always been a challenge but I finally developed confidence and started loving myself."

Tell us a little bit about your passion for graphic design...

“Yeah so I do electronic media,  working with computer graphic design, animation. It’s always been my passion, I enjoy designing things. It’s always been hard creating and coming up with ideas and collaborating with classmates.”

Did you encounter any challenges while working with partners on projects?

“Sometimes it depends on background noise, but I always ask them, ‘Can you please speak up louder’ ‘Please be patient with me’ ‘Could you repeat it’ ‘What did the professor say again?’

"Many times it does get very frustrating. I would hear them say ‘ugh forget it, never mind, you’re kind of useless’ which makes me feel absolutely upset, insecure, and to be honest, I get even more frustrated because I took all this time to listen to you, amid all the distractions and background noise, and I end up getting a headache. I try to listen to them and I’m sorry they feel frustrated, but I really am trying to help.”

Especially during Covid-19, what are some main struggles you have personally dealt with?

“The face masks for sure, I can’t read their lips and facial expressions. It’s just difficult when people are 6 feet away from me. It’s like nothings helping me, [it is] Beyond frustrating. I try to tell them like ‘I still can’t hear you’ and they don’t even understand, [They think] why is it so hard for [her] to hear. No matter how loud they say it, it sounds like they're mumbling.“

“Sometimes I would use my phone to write notes like ‘I am deaf, can you help me find this place?’ and they look at it and continue to respond in a way that still makes it difficult for me to hear. So, I’d say face masks are my biggest problem.”
If you or someone you may know faces similar challenges and would like their stories heard, send us a message to and we’d be happy to chat with you!
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