The project was inspired by the book Can Bears Ski? written by Deaf poet, Raymond Antrobus and illustrated by Polly Dunbar.
Initially created for Norfolk Deaf Festival, the Bear Ear Clinic enabled visitors to bring a teddy bear for a hearing test and a free toy hearing device to take home.
“Our child felt included, seen and part of a community.” – Parent
“The ear clinic made me feel special because they are just like me.” – Deaf child
“My kids loved it…they were still doing audiology tests on their bears at bedtime!” – Parent of hearing children
“My three-year-old only had her own hearing aids fitted the day before, so it was perfect timing for helping her to ‘normalise’ the experience. She had only been wearing one hearing aid until we arrived but when I told her that her bear was going to get two, she also agreed to wear both of hers!” – Parent of deaf child
“As a new parent of a four-month-old baby, who has just been fitted with hearing aids, we have been feeling so overwhelmed and lost. We gave our daughter back the teddy bear with hearing aids on and her eyes lit up. We are overjoyed to have representation when we feel overwhelmed at the moment.” – Parent of a deaf child
“I think this provision is beautiful. I feel emotional being here. All children need to see themselves. Please keep doing things like this.” – Parent of hearing children
“I felt emotional because it made my deaf daughter happy and confident. You make all kids believe in themselves and that they can be anything they want.” – Parent
“I want to see the Bear Ear Clinic all over the UK!” – Parent
“I felt excited and happy because I saw my toy fox be more like me.” – Deaf child.
“I felt special because I am not alone.” – Deaf child
“It is great to see disability normalised in play. My five-year-old has a moderate hearing loss.” – Parent
“Lovely accessible age-appropriate session for children which piques their interest and broadens their horizons.” – Hearing visitor
“Toy Like Me activities make me feel proud of my hearing aids.” – Deaf child
All images ©#ToyLikeMe/BethMoseleyPhotography
The Bear Ear Clinic was created and produced by Rebecca Atkinson in collaboration with Polly Dunbar and with permission from Raymond Antrobus and Walker Books. The project was generously funded by the Septagon Charity.