TikTok has been a great place for people to get a glimpse into other worlds you might not have a way to enter in real life.
It”s also been a place for people to advocate for themselves and share their perspectives, and the deaf community is very active.
Most TikTokers use captions now because of spreading awareness about accessibility and there are a lot of TikTokers teaching their followers ASL with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Two sisters named Ashley Gosset and Jessica Holton have been sharing their own experiences in a very unique way.
Ashley has full hearing capability, but Jessica was born deaf. She can hear a little in her right ear, but she told Buzzfeed only really loud screaming or very loud music. So, that’s a limited range.
The two first went viral with a video that joked about what it was like growing up together when Ashley didn’t realize she was making noise:
In that original TikTok, Ashley wrote as a warning “She wanted to make these, I’m not making fun.”
The two have been really surprised by the response to their jokes about Jessica’s deafness. Not only that they’re so popular, but the way people aren’t sure HOW to respond.
“A lot of people tell us they don’t feel like they can or should laugh with us, but we want people to know that the whole reason of our videos is to bring joy and laughter to everyone,” Ashley told BuzzFeed. “We want you to laugh with us. Jessica has an amazing sense of humor and we have always been like this. Enjoy it with us!”
One thing they’ve been inviting people to enjoy is a game they play where Jessica tries to imitate what she thinks certain things sound like, like appliances or stuff falling down or rubbing together or flushing. Sometimes her guesses are astonishingly accurate.
And sometimes she tries to imitate Ashley by looking at her lips and trying to repeat what she has said:
The sisters think people find their content funny, but what really keeps them coming back is just learning about living as a deaf person and seeing it so normalized.
“People who are deaf or HOH can joke! They are amazing people who are SO capable of great things. They don’t let the fact that they can’t hear stop them, and they can and live normal lives. They can do everything hearing people can, but hear,” said Ashley.
Jessica told BuzzFeed that she hopes her videos also bring awareness to what individuals can do to improve access for the deaf or HOH in abled society.
“It’s tiring to have to type things out in front of people in a restaurant or store, especially when a lot of people act like it’s putting them out to read what we’ve typed out. Learning just a few basic signs can make all the difference!”
“Also, if you’re new to signing, even just using sign to spell words out if you don’t know the sign for a certain word helps us feel included. We would rather you put forth any kind of effort to talk to us in our language than to be too afraid because you’re worried that you’ll mess up and sign something wrong,” she said.
She added, “Be patient with us and don’t assume that if you yell louder we can hear you — or that we read braille. Keep in mind that deaf people are not all the same.”
“We all have different skills, hobbies, etc. Also, using the term ‘Hearing Impaired’ is not acceptable in the Deaf community now, we prefer the term ‘deaf.’ If you want our attention, please don’t ever assume that we are ignoring you—if you are trying to get our attention, just tap on our shoulders, hand, arm, etc.”
And keep enjoying their TikToks here.