D.J. Demers

He wears hearing aids, but it's totally not a big deal.

D.J. Demers is a stand-up comedian. 

Episode 26 - Jessica Flores

I chatted with hard of hearing vlogger and YouTuber, Jessica Flores. We have similar hearing losses and it was fun to commiserate and laugh about our shared experiences.

Follow Jessica on Instagram @limemoney


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Transcript

 D.J. Demers: Hello, hello, hello. Welcome, dear and valued listener to “Definitely D.J”. I am your host, Jonathan. Wrong. I am your host D.J., D.J. Demers, D.J. Demers, D.J. Deemers, DJ Dimerse. However you want to say it. D.J. Demers today. I am D.J Demers. I am gonna keep this nice and quick because I had a great conversation and not only that, I’m exhausted. I’m recording this at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday evening after flying all day from San Francisco into Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s been a full week of the “Here to Hear Tour” and we’ve been on trips and all over the west coast. Just flew over to the east coast for the first time and it has been so fun. I’m exhausted but in the best possible way, just filming all day, and just doing so many cool things, meeting so many great people. I’ll be sad when it’s over. It’s only one quarter of the way through and I’m already thinking “damn, when this ends, I’m gonna feel something, I’m gonna feel some things”. It’s been great. Everybody involved in the tour, Jill from “Phonak”, she’s been on the R.V. She’s just been, I don’t know what’s going on half the time. She make sure I get to where I need to go and much more than that, but that’s a very vital function that she performed among many other important things. 

Mike, the driver, he’s steady. Steady as she goes, man. You can depend on Mike, great driver, funny guy too. I like talking to him. And my camera man Justin, great guy. Twenty year old, I was gonna call him a kid. He’s not a kid. Now that’s a disservice to him, good of a head he has on his shoulder. Twenty year old young man who is great videographer, great editor, working his ass off and a pleasure to work with too. 

As a performer on camera, it really matters who your camera man is. You perform better if you try to make your camera man laugh. I like making Justin laugh so, I feel like it’s elevating my performance. I hope so, at least. You guys should let me know. Check out the videos we are making. We are putting up a new video every single day for 30 days on the “Here to Hear Tour”, sponsored by “Phonak” and “Hearing Like Me”. And they’re high-quality videos and we are all over the country. So we are in a new place every day. Very interesting. I like to believe I say a couple funny things. If I may pat myself on the back, I think you might 

enjoy it. Check it out. It’s on the “Hearing Like Me” YouTube channel, “Hearing Like Me”. And there is a whole playlist of the “Here to Hear Tour”. Go check it out. People are digging it, I’m getting messages from all sorts of people. Hard-of-hearing people, non-hard-of-hearing people and everything in between. I don’t know what’s really in between those two groups. People with a little bit of tinnitus or something. Cool, I’m gonna get into it. 

As always, this episode is transcribed, so if you go to my websites, djdemers.com, go to the podcast page, you’ll see a full transcription, full script essentially of everything that my guest and I spoke about in this episode and as always, the transcript is provided by my good friend, hearinglikeme.com. You can also find the “Here to Hear Tour” on that website. Hearinglikeme.com is the great resource for educational, also entertaining articles and videos about hearing loss. So if you have hearing loss or if anybody in your life does, or if you’re just curious about it, it’s your one-stop shop for all things related to hearing loss. And of course like I said, you can find the whole “Here to Hear Tour” on hearinglikeme.com. So thank you very much to hearing like me for providing the transcript for this episode and all the episodes and making sure that my deaf and hard-of-hearing fans don’t miss anything, which is awesome. Cool. I’m gonna get right into it. I said that, how long ago did I say that? About four minutes ago? I mean it now, cause my guest who is absolutely fantastic, we spoke a couple days ago in San Francisco; was that a couple days ago? No, that was yesterday. It’s all bleeding together. San Francisco by the way, what a wonderful town. I always have a great time there and this trip was no exception. 

My guest this week, she’s a popular YouTuber and she also has a very similar hearing loss to me. We don’t hear the high frequencies very well at all but we hear deep frequencies and both pretty profound hearing losses. So it was interesting to compare and it’s cool. You feel that sense of community when you talk to somebody who has a similar kind of life to yours, similar obstacles and similar ways to play around with it as well. She’s a fun loving spirit and because of that, we had a great conversation. 

Without further ado, please put your hands together wherever you are, clap as loud as you can. I don’t care if you look like a maniac, I don’t care if you got to take your hands off the wheel. I care about that, drive safe. Put your hands together in a safe manner, for the lovely Jessica Flores. 

[interview] 

D.J. Demers: Okay, perfect, Jessica Flores. Am I pronouncing your last name right, Flores? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. 

D.J. Demers: Flores. 

Jessica Flores: F-l-o-r-e-s (spelling). Flores. Flowers. 

D.J. Demers: What’s the background on that? 

Jessica Flores: Mexican, Half Mexican 

D.J. Demers: Half Mexican? 

Jessica Flores: I never took speech therapy for Spanish, so all I know is how to pronounce my last name. Flores. 

D.J. Demers: Flores. I don’t really pronounce my last name right. Everybody in America says Damers. 

Jessica Flores: Uh-huh. 

D.J. Demers: But I always say Demers growing up. 

Jessica Flores: I usually pronounce things the way it looks. I thought it was Deemers. 

D.J. Demers: People say that too. People usually go Demers or Deemers, but in Canada nobody would say either. They would say Demerse or Demares because it’s like a French last name. 

Jessica Flores: Deemers. What do you prefer? 

D.J. Demers: I don’t know, I’m in a weird flux state right now. Everybody says Demers, so I’m like, I guess that’s my name. 

Jessica Flores: I guess that’s cool. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, but I always say Demers growing up but even that’s kind of wrong cause it’s actually Demeers. So no matter what it’s weird. No matter what. Just call me D.J. I’m gonna drop the last name. I’m just going to be that Madonna or Beyoncé. 

Jessica Flores: Ohhh, I like that. 

D.J. Demers: One name. 

Jessica Flores: D.J. That’s good. Okay, I like that. 

D.J. Demers: You wear hearing aids? 

Jessica Flores: Yes. 

D.J. Demers: You and I both have similar hearing losses. 

Jessica Flores: Yes, we do. 

D.J. Demers: We hear base pretty well, we don’t hear treble. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. We hear deep voices. 

D.J. Demers: That’s right. You took speech therapy, I never took speech therapy. 

Jessica Flores: I did take speech therapy for a long time. I would go to class but I also had side classes where I had two- one was one and one and I had a teacher who would talk with me and then she would tell me what I was pronouncing wrong, what I could work on and stuff like that. You know, like a bunch of pronouncing words, but then I had another one that was how to pronounce words and we had a teacher who was like “okay, this is the letter C and H, it makes the sound cha”. Say it with me, “cha”. And then she would have us write it in cursive with two fingers which looks a little weird. It sure looked kind of weird. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: I’m holding up my hand, it kind of looks like- 

D.J. Demers: What does it look like? 

Jessica Flores: It’s looks kind of like, you know. 

D.J. Demers: Salud-ish. Is that what you mean? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. Anyways, she would make us hold up two fingers and write in cursive the letters that we are pronouncing. So C, H, cha, and then she would test everybody and see if we were saying it right. So that I mean, it took forever but I had that going on from first grade into eighth grade and I stayed back at second-grade, so that’s an extra year of speech therapy. It was a lot of work. 

D.J. Demers: Did you notice improvement from it, though? 

Jessica Flores: Honestly, I don’t know. I think they did. I mean, I talk. My parents said they did but I feel that I could never really hear my younger kid self when I was growing up. So I didn’t really know what I sound like. I don’t even really know what I sound like now. 

D.J. Demers: Do you feel like when you take your hearing aids out, you talk deafer? 

Jessica Flores: No, I talk the same, but I talk louder. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, same. 

Jessica Flores: Up a decibel or something. Sometimes people will be like, I’d take them out and I’ll be talking and they are like, “Wow Jessica, quiet. We are in a restaurant”. And I’m like, “I can’t hear myself”. 

D.J. Demers: Why are you taking your hearing aids out in a restaurant? 

Jessica Flores: Batteries die, you know. This happened a couple of times when I would be working at my old job at the coffee shop, I would take them out cause the hearing aids are dying and there’s no way I’m going to be able to step off and just go buy a new hearing aid battery. So I would just have to talk to customers. 

D.J. Demers: Would you tell them that you were deafer than usual? 

Jessica Flores: No, I’d play it off. 

D.J. Demers: Really? 

Jessica Flores: This is superpower we have, right? We can get away with pretending that we can totally hear. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: Totally hear. 

D.J. Demers: And only the people who know us the best can tell when we are faking it. 

Jessica Flores: Oh yeah. Damn it. Yeah, that’s the worst. When you’re busted. 

D.J. Demers: The only thing I don’t like about doing that is, I feel like I’m a horrible conversationalist. Like I can fake it, but I feel like the person thinks I don’t care about them. You know what I mean? If they are like “oh yeah, my grandma died when I was five years old” and I’m like “uh, uh, uh, uh” and they are like “you don’t have any follow-up questions?”. 

Jessica Flores: Yes, there was this one time when I was out somewhere with a group of friends and this one guy was like, “oh yeah, you know Jessica, we should hang out sometime. We should exchange numbers and stuff. Go on a date or something”, and I was like “oh yeah, totally dude, okay, I’ll see you around” and I just left. And my friend was like “bro, he just asked you out on a date and you straight said yes and you are never gonna go on that date. That would burn”. And I was like, oh I felt so bad, but at the same time, I avoided, that date I never really want to go on it. 

D.J. Demers: It worked out. Yeah, it’s funny because my go to is saying yes. If I don’t hear, I’m like yeah, yeah. And one time back when I lived in Toronto, this woman came up to me and she seemed like a little out of breath and she was like “hey do you know”.... and she said something and I didn’t hear and I was like “pardon?”, and she said it again and I didn’t hear it again. So my rule is if I don’t hear you twice, I’m just like okay, I’m just not going to say “pardon me”. So she said it a third time, I still didn’t hear so I said, “yeah, yeah, yeah”, and she just panicked. Her eyes, she just run away from me, so I have no idea what I said yes to, but it scared the hell out of her. I am worried she was in a life or death situation. 

Jessica Flores: That makes me wonder, where did “yes” habits start. You know. 

D.J. Demers: I think it’s because you would rather give, if you’re not going to hear, you rather give some sort of positive vibes than negative vibes. More often than not, people are gonna want to hear it. Like you were talking about improv earlier, “yes and...” I tried to apply that rule to my general life. I am always trying to “yes and…” with people. I’d rather- if I don’t hear you, I’d rather take the chance that I’m “yes and...”-ing you than “no but…”-ting you. 

Jessica Flores: I feel like, yeah, cause every once in a while, people would throw the negative stuff at you. So your chances are higher if it’s “yes and…”, just stay positive because most of the time people are just talking about positive things but every once in a while they scream at you and then run off like, “what happened to you D.J.?” 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: Do you want to say a few words to that woman, whoever she is? 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. Whoever you are, I hope you found what you were looking for. I feel like your kid went missing or something and you were like, “hey, did you see a small boy come walking by?” and I said, “yeah, yeah for sure”, like all casual about it. So I hope you found your son or whatever the urgent situation was. Another sound that’s my go-to is um, um. I do a lot of um. 

Jessica Flores: It’s not a yes and it’s not a no, right? 

D.J. Demers: It’s kind of like- it’s like a Rorschach test, where you can like read into that however you want. Yeah, um, um. [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: Um, um, super neutral. [laughing] I’m just going to talk for the rest of the podcast and then go um, um, um. What is that? 

D.J. Demers: Um, um 

Jessica Flores: I’m trying to think of some other things that. Oh, I feel like sometimes when people are talking, I just cannot understand what they are saying, I will do this thing where I’m like- I’ll try to follow along and then if they like, if they look at me and then they ask a question, you know their face changes, like their eyebrows go up 

and they pause and you’re like, okay now I need to be listening. “Oh, what did you say again?”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. And I’m like, “oh, I miss that” and they’re like, “I’ve been talking for three minutes, so when did you start missing it?” I'm like, just kind of recap everything if you wouldn’t mind. 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Just give me the summary, but not the whole thing, you know? 

D.J. Demers: My girlfriend is so hard to- because she doesn’t like, when people ask a question, like raise their eyebrow, she sometimes don’t do that, so she has kind of neutral face. So she’d like say something and I’m like, “um, um” and she’s like “didn’t I ask you a question? You can’t just say, um, um, that’s not an answer.’ And I’m like, maybe you should start using your eyebrows more. 

Jessica Flores: You know that is a big problem for me personally, I don’t know about you, but when I talk to somebody that has no facial gestures at all, I pretty much can’t understand what they are saying because I didn’t realize that I rely so much on people’s facial expressions, that if you don’t show me any facial expressions and you say something like “oh, my cat died the other week”, yeah, I just do that “yeah, cool, awesome”. 

D.J. Demers: And intonation - You can tell by the way somebody intoned something, like facial expression, plus like you know they are asking a question, ur,ur, ur, and I’m like, oh I heard that. [laughing] So in your YouTube videos, you try to normalize or educate people about hearing loss. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. 

D.J. Demers: When did you feel that was something you needed to do? 

Jessica Flores: So I feel like pretty much like all of us that have a hearing loss, we grow up constantly educating everybody else who doesn’t have a hearing loss. Like for example, we tell somebody like, “oh you have to face us if you are gonna talk to us”, like make sure I’m facing you. We have to say that every single person that we meet that doesn’t know how to interact with people who have hearing loss. So when I was working at the coffee shop, I noticed that a lot 

of people were really interested in learning about like, what it’s like to be a deaf person and I was teaching all these people and at one point I was like, “you know what, people need to learn and I want like to teach more people than just every single person I meet”. I want to reach [distinctive noise] I heard that, I heard that. Should we wait till it’s over? 

D.J. Demers: Sure, is it street car? 

Jessica Flores: Oh, it’s a truck. 

D.J. Demers: Oh, it’s a big old truck. I think we’ll be fine. 

Jessica Flores: Ok, as long as you can hear me. Anyways, I was working at the coffee shop and I realized that and I was like, you know what, I want to reach as many people as I can. Kind of as a way to like help us all out. All of us hard-of-hearing and deaf people out and teach as many hearing people as I can on what it’s like to be deaf. 

So, I was basically working and then I had a moment where I was making somebody’s coffee and I was like, “you know what, I need to start making a YouTube Channel” and I just went home and I made one and I was like, “okay, that was pretty easy”, I made a couple more and I was like, “wow this is getting hard”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, creating content and not just saying the same thing over and over. But what you said, it’s important because it’s about educating people who don’t know about hearing loss but the flipside and I don’t know if this was written or a goal of yours or you just realized it as time went, but the flip side is, also talking to other people with hearing loss and making them realize they are not alone and forging a sense of community. 

Jessica Flores: Yes, that’s definitely something that I wanted to do with my YouTube channel, because like you and like me, we grew up being the only kids with hearing aids that we knew, and we always wanted this sort of community that we never had because we didn’t know anybody else. We didn’t know anybody else who was deaf or hard of hearing. 

So, when I started the YouTube channel, I remember I made one video where I was like, you know, I want to educate hearing 

people, I want to educate like, I want to educate and teach people what it’s like to be deaf but I also want all of you people that are watching that have hearing aids that are deaf to know that I’m here. Even if it’s one person, I am out here. Hi, like, you’re not alone, you know. When I started doing that, I actually got a lot of people responding and they are like, “oh, I’m not the only one, that there is somebody else”. Yes, I finally feel like I find a sense of connection. When you are able to find people to relate to and to share your experiences with, you know, and you know that there’s people out there that experienced the same things as you, it kind of give you a sense of like, “oh, finally, it’s about time”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. I never had that goal as a comedian. It’s only kind of happened by accident that people have reached out to me and said, “hey I wear hearing aids too” and now I embrace it but that was never, not that I was against the idea, but it was never even like on my mind. I just wanted to be a comedian. So yes, it’s cool, I get messages every day from people either about themselves or about their kids. It’s eally a lot of parents who think it’s the end of the world or are worried that it’s the end of the world and then they are looking at adult figures with hearing aids too, leading a relatively normal or successful life and he gives them hope for their kids. So it’s got to be a scary thing, if you’ve never had a hearing loss or any anybody in your family, and then the doctor says, oh your kid’s gonna need hearing aid, that’s got to be pretty frightening prospect. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. That’s something that I can totally understand because I feel like I lot of people, they just don’t know, like how to handle that situation and it doesn’t really help when there’s only people around them that are like, “oh you know, sorry man, yours kids deaf”. I don’t know what to tell you, you can maybe go get them hearing aids or something, you know. 

D.J. Demers: Good luck. 

Jessica Flores: That don’t help the parents at all. It freaks them out. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: Like what you’re doing is amazing, it’s like we are showing them like, “hey, yo, we’re actually normal”, you know. Like, your kid is gonna have a great life. Stop freaking out. I know that personally my dad, a while ago we were having a talk, and he was like talking about how growing up, he was so worried about what was going to happen to me, because he knew I had a hearing loss and he knew that I was getting, at the time I was getting stuck in all these like crappy jobs behind the scenes, kind of stock rooms, just not really doing anything, like minimum-wage kind of thing. But he said at one point he was so worried because there was nothing he could do, that could fix that and all of his friends whenever he would be like, “oh yeah, she has a hearing loss” and they would be like, “oh; how does that work?” like, “I’m so sorry”. But as soon as I started working at the coffee shop, the coffee shop was great experience because it actually gave me a chance to be up and front and start communicating with people, stuff like that. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, and facing your fears head on. 

Jessica Flores: Right. Yeah. And as soon as he saw me do that, he was the like, “oh crap, wow, she’s gonna be okay”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: To be honest, it took me a long time to get a job that was up in front because for so long I would apply to all of these jobs and I couldn’t land any, because they would be like, “oh, wow, what do you think your biggest challenge would be?” - “Answering the phones, that’s gonna be my biggest challenge”. And they would be like “Oohh… yeah”. Because most jobs are like, you need to answer the phone and stuff like that. And a lot of people if you mention that you are deaf in resumes or cover letters, I’ve never gotten any responses. 

D.J. Demers: I never mentioned it in my resume. I never even thought about that. 

Jessica Flores: I feel like I always had to mention it because I was like I need somebody to know to email me instead of call me. At that time I feel that people email more now, but during that time, it was like, “what’s your phone number?”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: I would check my phone number and be like, “oh please don’t be a job calling”. But yes, sometimes I’d hide my hearing loss and then when I get hired, I’m like, “boom, got you”. [laughing] 

D.J. Demers: “Aah, you got a deaf employee”. Yeah, I realize am so open talking about my hearing loss now but I wasn’t always. You just reminded me I went to school for business, that’s what- I got my degree in and we would do co-op term, so we would go to school for a term and then we would do like a job. We had to get the job, they didn’t just give it to you but so I went to these interviews and I remember one interview I did for a tech company, where my university was and the interview was four guys and me in this really wooden room, like the acoustics were like- the sound was bouncing around everywhere and I did that “um, um, yeah” for almost every question. And I didn’t have the courage to be like, “I can’t hear you very well. Can you repeat that?” so instead, I just looked like an idiot. I was more willing to look like an idiot than to look deaf, which is crazy. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. I did that I had those moments too, like sometimes I notice that it’s a habit that I’m still trying to break. I don’t do it as much often, but it’s definitely something that’s stuck with me growing up. I’m sure you felt the same way like we’re reaching our 20s we would start um-ing and yes-ing and stuff like that. It’s a hard habit to break but I noticed that sometimes I feel like it came from people responding negative towards all those times when I ask them to repeat themselves and people were giving me a hard time about being deaf. I think that probably made me so committed to the “oh, yes, yes, yeah, right on”, you know. 

D.J. Demers: “Me, deaf? No, no, no, I’m just really stupid”. [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Are you kidding? No. 

D.J. Demers: I just don’t know how to hold a conversation but I hear very well. 

Jessica Flores: I feel like once I get to know somebody and once I sit down with them, I am like one of the best listeners. 

D.J. Demers: I agree. 

Jessica Flores: I give my full attention, I’m looking at them. I am like, “hey, how you doing? How is your day going?”. Like most people, I noticed that a lot of my friends they would tell me that before they met me, they would have conversations with people and just look everywhere else and talk to them, with not even looking at the person, they just talk somewhere else which I don’t understand why people don’t talk and look at each other. 

D.J. Demers: I think eye contact might make some people uncomfortable. 

Jessica Flores: Maybe that’s what it is. But they said over time, after they’ve gotten to know me and stuff and know how to face me, they would start facing their friends and they would be like, “dude I’m talking to you, why aren’t you looking at me, man? It’s not cool, okay”. You don’t look at people when you talk them. 

D.J. Demers: You definitely make way more of a connection when you look somebody right in the eye. 

Jessica Flores: I think so too. 

D.J. Demers: I like to look in somebody’s eyes like 10 minutes straight, don’t blink, just stare right at them. Even if we are not talking, just um, um, um. [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] That’s so crazy. 

D.J. Demers: That’s actually the tagline on this podcast, It’s “Bad at hearing, Great at listening”. I’d like to believe I’m a pretty good listener. 

It’s very interesting that you worked at the coffee shop because I’ve always worked retail jobs. My first job ever was at a sports store, for four years. I would not hear people sometimes. Actually, some people would come up behind me and would be like, “hey, can you help me find my size in these skates?”, and I wouldn’t hear them, so a couple of times my manager got complains “your employee is ignoring me”. But it’s because they were behind me, but for the most part I would know where people were in the store, so I would always be looking and that made me a good employee, “that person needs help, that person needs help”. Not a great employee, but good. But- hi, how are you doing? 

[distinctive talking] 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, we are talking to each other, we are recording an interview right now. 

Jessica Flores: Mhm. 

[distinctive talking: “Oh, excuse me”] 

D.J. Demers: Oh, that’s okay. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, no problem. 

D.J. Demers: Have a great day. We are here on the street- what street are we on right now? 

Jessica Flores: We are on Judah Street. 

D.J. Demers: Judah Street? 

Jessica Flores: Judah. 

D.J. Demers: Judah, that’s way better than Judas. Judah Street here in San Francisco, so beautiful. 

But yeah, I worked retail jobs and stuff and there were some problems but I was fine. But then when I was probably at my lowest point in terms of financially for sure, I’d be living in Toronto a couple of years, which is a very expensive city. It’s not as expensive as San Fran but it up there. I was just trying to make it as a comedian and I was unemployed for a bit, so I needed a new job and I started working at a coffee shop/bakery and the toughest part was somebody would order and they’d be like, “I’ll have a bagel, please” and I’d be cool and then I’d be leaning down in the glass to get that and then while I was down there they’d be like, “oh, and a blueberry muffin too” and I wouldn’t hear and that happened- or I’d be turning around to make their coffee and then they’d go, “oh, can I also get?” and I wouldn’t hear them. I quit that job after two shifts, maybe three. So how long did you work at your coffee shop? 

Jessica Flores: Almost 3+ years. 

D.J. Demers: Wow. I can only imagine the difficulties. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, you know it’s funny because when I went in for that interview at that coffee shop, they were actually pretty cool. We sat down, I did three different interviews for one coffee shop and a lot of people were doing like multiple interviews for one coffee shop. 

D.J. Demers: Pretty intense screening process to make a cappuccino. 

Jessica Flores: They were really into hiring good people so they want to make sure that they hire people who are gonna work hard, who are really friendly and stuff like that. 

D.J. Demers: Fit the culture. And that’s how you get people to stick around for 3 +years. 

Jessica Flores: Uh-huh, exactly. And so one of the interviews that I went to, two of my managers, awesome people, love them, they were talking to me and were like, “what do you think your biggest challenge is gonna be?” and I’m like, “you know what, hearing people, taking their orders”. That’s pretty much the job. 

D.J. Demers: The exact thing you want me to do, that’s going to be a challenge. 

Jessica Flores: And they are like, “we don’t even hear the people in here. It’s so loud we can’t even hear them and they need to repeat themselves”. When they said that I was like “Oooh, I found my home”, I was like, “yes I could actually do it”. Because the place was so loud already that even- I had customers asking me to repeat stuff. 

D.J. Demers: You are like, “what are you, deaf?”. 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Yeah. Sometimes I would joke and be like, “oh, you need these? Do you want these?”. Or the cops or the firemen would come in and some of the cops have radios, you know, and I would be like, “oh you are trying to be me now?” cause it was so cool. I mean it was hard but there was a lot of people who- I had good days and I had bad days. I had some sucky customers, but you know what, most of the customers would just really engage with learning more about me, they wanted to know. They never met a deaf person, just like I wasn’t able to meet any deaf people. 

So I thought that was pretty cool. It was a cool coffee shop. It was a cool coffee shop, so I think that maybe you should worked at my coffee shop. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, I don’t know. I also didn’t like- the place where I was wasn’t the coolest. It could have maybe worked out. I just wasn’t exclusively because I couldn’t hear and of course it was also pretty handy excuse, I was like, “I’m not liking this and also it is very hard to hear. I should probably get out of here”. [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Oh, yeah. It’s not working right now. 

D.J. Demers: You helped me decorate my hearing aids today. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah! They look fantastic. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. I got some like, what’s it called - holographic? 

Jessica Flores: Holographic. It’s like futuristic and I feel like the base of it is sober, but when you turn it, there is like this rainbow streak. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, some colors look like that. The paint job they have. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: And also on top of that, it looks like a sticker that you’ve helped me put on and then we put little puppy dogs on top of it too. My hearing aids are looking pretty bowling right now. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, they are. They are beautiful. 

D.J. Demers: Thank you. You have the one that looks kind of Hawaiian, you are not wearing them today but I love Hawaiian shirts so, next time that’s what I’ll do. 

Jessica Flores: Maybe I’ll send you some neon stickers. Now you know how to do it. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. But it’s very interesting, because when I was young they had neon molds like the part that goes into your hearing- in your ear rather, and I remember being like seven or eight and telling my mom that I wanted to get the neon molds. And my mom I think, out of protectiveness was like “no”, she wanted me to have the discrete one so she discouraged that. And I remember that vividly 

and that’s kind of in my MO with my hearing aids for the rest of my life, I make them look discrete, as discrete as they can be. My hearing aids are pretty big. So it’s a very interesting, I’ve never had the desire to decorate them. Now, that kind of sounds like I’m ashamed of them and I’m not anymore and I talk about them all the time, but it’s interesting that it’s like all big step for me to even decorate them. I’m like, “do I really want to do this?”. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, no- so I when I first got ear molds, I had bright pink ones. And for a short period of time I had one neon green one and one neon orange one for Nickelodeon cause I was obsessed with Nickelodeon, but I had bright pink ones. And I think I stopped wearing them when I got to maybe freshman year of high school because my audiologist actually suggested me to, she’s like, “well you know, you can get ones that are clear so that nobody can see them”. And I was like, I thought that was like the thing to do and I was like, “okay, I’ll do that” And I did that, for me it was a horrible decision because I ended up, like nobody around to me knew that I had hearing loss because they couldn’t see them. 

Like yours are like a little frost but they are nice. Mine were like clear, extremely clear. It just didn’t look like anything. But people have a really hard time, if they think you can hear, like we were talking about. If they think you can hear and they have to repeat themselves like more than three times, they get really upset. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: But then as soon as you show them the hearing aids, they are like, “Oh my God, I’m a horrible person. How am I gonna live with my life now?” 

D.J. Demers: And then you’re like, “you should probably give me $10”. [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Yeah, “you should donate to those with disabilities now”. Support my YouTubing habit. I actually about like three years ago, when I got these new ones, when I got the ones before, I was like “you know what, why am I not picking pink anymore?”. I’m like, “this is ridiculous, the pink ones are cool. You know what, I’m getting pink” and my Audiologist was like, she was new one but 

she was like, “oh, are you sure?” and I was like, “yeah, and hand me the sparkles. I want sparkles”. You know what, if I have these options, I’m gonna take them. So I got pink ones and then all of a sudden people were more like aware and they were more like, “oh that’s okay, if I have to repeat myself, that’s fine. It’s like no biggie”. Then it made me notice that it must mean that people are kind of mean to each other. What if somebody just can’t make out what you are saying right now, you know, like it’s okay to repeat. Come on people, teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. It’s a funny thing though cause you also can’t, unless you are supermean, but you also can’t fault them because they just don’t know. It’s not something that they are used to dealing with. So yes, some people might be mean-spirited maybe, but for the most part, I think it just comes from a place of they just don’t have no idea how to deal with this totally novel situation and a lot of people, their first kind of reaction instinctively is frustration. 

There was a comedian in Toronto, she was fully deaf. Chrissy Cunningham. Very funny. She lost her hearing, she could hear perfectly, got some sort of rare disease at like 20 years old and totally lost her hearing. And so she was doing stand-up and she was deaf so not even hearing aids and you’d be talking to her cause she would read your lips. And she would like look away from you sometimes and you are like, “I know you can’t hear so if you are not looking at my lips right now, what are you doing?”. And I remember feeling so frustrated, because she was a friend. She’s a friend, I just haven’t seen her in a while but um- yeah, if I don’t see you for a while, you’re not my friend anymore [laughing]. She’s awesome and I like her a lot, I just remember being frustrated and then just realizing like, you’re doing it man, you’re doing what upsets you in other people do. She has a reason for looking away right now, whatever they are I’m not sure, but like calm down, not that I was freaking out or anything, “Hey look at me, look at me”, no. So it made me realize like this is a new situation for me and that’s what it is for everybody else. 

Jessica Flores: Yes, totally. I think that’s one thing that I always try to remember when I approach somebody and they are giving me frustration I have to be like [breathing] “okay, breathe Jessica, okay”. Yeah, you 

have to kind of like... I feel like one thing I always try to remember is that not everybody knows like how to deal with things and two, it might be something new, like somebody’s just learning how to like deal with it and adapt with it and not everybody has learned how to have patience. So I feel like we are the ones who have to have the patience. But I mean- yeah, yeah. [laughing] I lost my train of thought. 

D.J. Demers: I’d love to be like a motivational speaker or something and just like the end of that, that’s how all my speeches end – “So but…yeah. Any questions?”. 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] At the end of you speeches, “um, um, um”. 

D.J. Demers: “But yeah, um, um”. [laughing] I actually like doing crowd work a lot. Were you at the show last night in San Francisco? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah, it was fun. 

D.J. Demers: It was a fun show. I liked it. I really like doing crowd work, talking to the audience a lot, because it scares me a lot. Because I’m like “I’m definitely gonna have to say pardon a lot”, but that’s kind of part of it, it’s like making them realize, it’s kind of like- not that I do it for an educational reason, but it’s like you’re going to have to repeat yourself and I’ve talked about my hearing aids for the last however long so you know I wear them. So it kind of makes it like, cause I was nervous, like what if I don’t hear people when I talk. And I’m like, but they know I wear hearing aids so that’s kind of part of the fun. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. Obvious, they know what they have coming. I think that’s one of my favorite things that you were doing last night because I know what it’s like to be like, walk into a party and go, “oh crap, I don’t want to talk to anybody because what if I don’t hear them”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: “Oh my God, I’m just gonna be that awkward person against the wall”, you know. But I think that was really cool when you’re interacting with the crowd because then that show like teaches them how to interact with us and be okay with repeating themselves, like it’s in you, like, “well, that’s no biggie, you’re 

gonna have to repeat yourself, okay”. But I think that was really cool, so props. 

D.J. Demers: Thank you. And then they start talking louder too. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: Whether they do it intentionally or not, they start to like cater to your needs which is always nice. Don’t you love when you’re - see you later. That was, I think I’m pronouncing it right – Mariel? She’s a nice woman. She’s working with the tour. I like when I’m on the street here, lots of kinds of distractions to keep you fresh. 

Don’t you love when you go into a party and you know like you said, you are worried that you’re not going to hear people then you start talking to somebody and you realize their voice is like the perfect tone for you? 

Jessica Flores: Oh my God, exactly. 

D.J. Demers: And then if they are a nice person, too. They worst is if they have a perfect tone and they are like, “Uh, don’t you just hate” when they say something like really awful and you are like, “ah, man, I can understand you so want to keep talking to you but I’m not on board with the content”. 

Jessica Flores: I’m like, “oh, now I gonna have to talk all these politics and vegal and something like that” and you are like, “no”. 

D.J. Demers: But then if they got the voice, the good voice for you and you like them and you’re like, “you and I are gonna be best friends now”. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, yeah. It’s like a match made in heaven. It really is. Thank you, yeah. Sometimes when I go to parties, I’d just be like yeah, yeah and I’m like looking across the room I want to see if I could like find somebody that I can actually like read their lips and stuff and then the moment I see that person that I’ve met like at a previous party, I’m like, “oh, I’m gonna go say hi”. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: We’re gonna actually talk, I’m gonna actually understand what she’s saying. I’m trying to think of who, I think my friend that was 

at the show Mike and my other friend Malcolm, both of them had really good like mouth shapes so I was able to understand them very easy, like when I first met them. So I think those were probably the people which I just said that they are my friends just because…. [laughing] 

D.J. Demers: They have a good mouth shape? What do you look for in a friendship? Mouth shape. 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] I do, I do. If you mumble and I cannot understand you, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: Are you in a relationship at all? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, uh-huh, I have a boyfriend. 

D.J. Demers: How long have you been together? 

Jessica Flores: We have been together like maybe a year and a half so far. 

D.J. Demers: And he’s got a good mouth shape? [laughing] 

Jessica Flores: Yes, he does. He’s got a good mouth shape. Good mouth shape. 

D.J. Demers: A year and a half; what’s the biggest challenge for you in the relationship? 

Jessica Flores: Oooohh, that is a good question. You know, so I’ve been in more difficult relationships where people were kind of like- you know you go to party or you go to like a family event and then people just start talking but they forget that like you can’t keep up with the conversation. In this relationship that I have right now, he is always, in some ways he’s always treated me like I was just equal to him, you know. So if we are in a family relationship, he’s like my interpreter, which I love and he is learning sign language too, which is pretty bad at, you know. So he’s freaking amazing for that. But he’s able to like, we’re at family party and stuff and he’d like take information and turn to me and like, translate it. That helps a lot because I feel like some people are like, when they invite you to family events or any party really, they just kind of jump in and start talking to everybody but totally forget that you are not like picking up like half or more or maybe more than half of what is being said. 

So when I find people that actually like turn around to interpret it for me, I’m like, “Thank you so much”. 

D.J. Demers: Yes, cause it shows that, like we were talking about this before, like- cause my left ear is my good ear. Your right ear is your good ear. When you tell somebody “Oh, my left ear is my good ear” and then they right away start making an effort to be on your good side, it shows like empathy, like you’re thinking about me. 

Jessica Flores: I think empathy- yeah. Empathy plays a big part in just relationships in general. I think for, I don’t know about for you but for a person who has had hearing loss, I think the ones that show empathy are the ones that “we’re going to be best friends man, I like you a lot”. 

D.J. Demers: What’s the best part about being hard-of-hearing in a relationship? 

Jessica Flores: Ooohh. They are so many. The first one that pops to my mind is I don’t have to hear the snoring if I don’t want to. 

D.J. Demers: Isn’t that amazing? 

D.J. Demers: I don’t think my girlfriend snores but I have no idea. She might have a little cute snore, but even farting, I’m like go nuts. 

Jessica Flores: Nothing wakes you up so that’s good. 

D.J. Demers: Great for her too or him; because she wakes up earlier than me, I usually sleep in a little bit more till like 2 p.m., 3 p.m. I’m just kidding, I don’t sleep that much. You are accepted it, you’re like, “uh-huh, uh-huh”. [laughing] 

Let’s just say, she wakes up at 8 and I wake up at 9:30, that hour and a half she’s got music on, she’s banging pots and pans around the kitchen, no problem at all. That’s pretty awesome. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, it is pretty awesome. I think that’s probably one of the highlights, what about for you? What do you think? 

D.J. Demers: I’d say, just being just being able to sleep through anything for her to be able to live her life. 

Jessica Flores: I have a question. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: Well, for me personally, I can’t make phone calls. 

D.J. Demers: Why not? 

Jessica Flores: I can’t hear on the phone, like at all. 

D.J. Demers: Do you not have a telecoil on it? 

Jessica Flores: No. So even if I had that, I wouldn’t be able to make out what the person is saying cause I can’t read their lips. 

D.J. Demers: Okay. 

Jessica Flores: So, I can’t make phone calls at all, but the best part about that is I don’t have to make phone calls, which means that I can have my significant other make phone calls for me. So he makes phone calls, it’s cool. It’s like my personal assistant. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, “I’m calling on behalf of Jessica Flores. She is here right now, Jessica”. I hear on the phone, but it’s a little bit- I use ComPilot, the Phonak thing and it’s good but my girlfriend and I are doing long distance right now. Sometimes I have a hard time hearing her on the phone because she’s got like a high, soft voice. It’s not good for me. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: But we make it work on but on the phone, I can do it but she does have to say pardon a lot. I feel bad, I have to say pardon a lot, I feel bad for her. 

Jessica Flores: Do you guys use video chat to talk? 

D.J. Demers: Yes, Skype makes it way better. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah. I remember- [bus sound] There goes Judah, rolling away into the distance. Well, my boyfriend was recently, he was in the Philippines for like six months. 

D.J. Demers: Is he Filipino? 

Jessica Flores: Mhm. Yeah. 

D.J. Demers: So is my girlfriend. 

Jessica Flores: What? Oh my God! 

D.J. Demers: And we’ve been together a year and a half, same as you. Wow, that is weird. 

Jessica Flores: I’m so like shocked right now. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, wow. 

Jessica Flores: I love that. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, that’s cool. I’m sure they’d get along well. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, six months. 

D.J. Demers: And you and I, both our good ears are opposite so we could hang out and be on the right side of each other. We could have our significant others on the outside of us. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah. Holy moly, that’s awesome. I’ve never met like a hearing aid twin, you know. That’s cool. 

D.J. Demers: What were you going to say? He was in the Philippines for six months? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, he was in the Philippines for six months and for a while, we were like using text message and stuff but I’m like, “dude, this is not working”. We not even like talk because I can’t use the phone so we started using like, Google hangouts and it was just so much better. Even though sometimes it gets all [malfunction sound] he was able to type in what he said like when it was frozen and stuff. I feel like just having video chat has been a big thing for me to experience. 

D.J. Demers: Big time. 

Jessica Flores: Because it’s actually like we can actually make out what they are saying now, we don’t have to do, “yes, yes, um um” on the phone, we can actually understand what’s going on. 

D.J. Demers: Can I ask you a personal question? 

Jessica Flores: Yes of course, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: I’ll lead it with personal information, so it’s even playfield – I can’t have sex with my hearing aids out. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, okay, okay. 

D.J. Demers: Like, if I’m not hearing her I can’t do it. 

Jessica Flores: Is it because of the feedback? 

D.J. Demers: No, no, I like my hearing aids in. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, you leave it in? 

D.J. Demers: Let’s say we wake up first thing in the morning, I have to roll over and put them in if we’re getting into hanky-panky. 

Jessica Flores: Because you don’t want any miscommunication, you know. 

D.J. Demers: It’s not like I don’t want it, it’s like I can’t fully get into it like I want to, I need to hear. 

Jessica Flores: For me it’s like, it depends on how lazy I am, so if they are too far, I’m like “eh, it’s not in arm reach, I’m okay”. I don’t want to be like, “hey, can we pause for a moment. Oh man, the battery died, can we hold on, I’m gonna go change it”, you know, I just go with the flow. But I feel like sometimes the hearing aids bother me because if you are next to a pillow, you get the feedback screeching, you know when you rub against the microphone you hear that [squeaky sound]. 

D.J. Demers: It sounds like a low budget movie like when there is wind and it’s [windy sound]. 

Jessica Flores: So sometimes it bother me. If they don’t bother you, they don’t bother you. 

D.J. Demers: I feel like I need to sound, as part of the whole sensual experience. 

Jessica Flores: The experience? Then go ahead and use the hearing aids. Make sure to keep batteries by your night stand. 

D.J. Demers: I don’t to go anywhere without batteries. Like you know how you said your batteries would go dead on you at work, I always, like, before I leave the house, batteries – I got it. 

Jessica Flores: iPhone, wallet, keys, batteries. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, you do that too? 

Jessica Flores: Look, I actually recently made, so I took a pill container, I don’t know if you can see it, I took a little pill container and I put hearing aid batteries in it and attach it to my key chains. So then I have two every time. And if I use them, I fill it back up. 

D.J. Demers: Smart. I just keep the package in my pocket. That’s way smarter. 

Jessica Flores: Uh-huh yeah. 

D.J. Demers: I do phone, book, I have a book I write jokes in, phone, book, keys, batteries, wallet, five items. I always do that check. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, can I ask you something? 

D.J. Demers: Of course. 

Jessica Flores: Cause sometimes I just think it’s me, but do you ever forget to take your hearing aids out when you go in the shower? 

D.J. Demers: No. I’m always worried about that cause I’m a moron, but I never have them. My grandpa wore hearing aids and he did it and ruined his hearing aids. Why, you’ve done it? 

Jessica Flores: I have and it gotten to a point where I don’t do it, but every time I get in the shower, I have like a mini panic attack. I’m like, “oh no, oh thank God. Thank God, they are off”. It’s like bringing your car in the shower, you know, expensive. [laughing] 

D.J. Demers: I’ve never done it, I did get pushed into a pool once with my hearing aids on. 

Jessica Flores: Oh, crap. 

D.J. Demers: I was at a friend’s pool party and one of his friends didn’t know. He knew I wear hearing aid, but he didn’t know the whole deal with them, pushed me in and then I was the MC at my friend’s wedding, the one who had the pool and his friend, who is also my friend Dave, he was there too and when I was emceeing the wedding I just go, “oh and shout out to Dave, he pushed me into a pool once and ruined my hearing aids”. And then everyone like laughed and Dave looked all embarrassed and I’m like, “I don’t really have a joke about that, I just want to make you feel bad about that just one more time”. 

Jessica Flores: “You owe me six thousand dollars”. 

D.J. Demers: They came back. I put them in like the dry aid kit, the humidifier thing and they came back. They’re pretty resilient. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, I remember one time jumping into the pool with my hearing aids on and the first thing I did, I was just like came up out of the water and I was like “nooooooo” and I took them off, held them above my head and I tried to splush and splash, like in a towel or something. It’s traumatizing. 

D.J. Demers: Were they okay? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, they were okay. 

D.J. Demers: People always ask me if you can get electrocuted. Has anybody asked you that? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, yeah. I am like “yes”. 

D.J. Demers: I am sure like completely waterproof hearing aids can’t be too far away. 

Jessica Flores: I heard that the CIs, that they have some, that have like cases that are waterproof. 

D.J. Demers: You mean cochlear implants? 

Jessica Flores: Yes. 

D.J. Demers: Just to clarify for anybody who might not know. Are you eligible for cochlear implants? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, actually if I wanted to, yes, but my audiologist was like “it’s not that I’m against it or anything, if you want implants, go for it, if you don’t, you don’t have to. It’s not like anything that you are forced to do”. But she told me that there is either 50-50 chance that you’re going to like it or not. And the only thing that I don’t like, is that if you get it, you actually lose your hearing that you already have. 

D.J. Demers: And that’s the scary part. 

Jessica Flores: I’m like, “I’m okay, no, I’m gonna rock these babies” till- I don’t know. 

D.J. Demers: I didn’t get the 50-50 number, but I did get the idea that, for me it’s kind of like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so I’m doing okay with the hearing aids and it would really worry me if I got an implant and I hated it and now I’m just screwed. 

Jessica Flores: Like what can you do? You will have to adapt to it or not have it done and adapt to that. 

D.J. Demers: But I’ve heard they are incredible and heard stories about people just being like, life-changing. 

Jessica Flores: I heard they hear sound from a different part of your brain. So some people say, like from here. 

D.J. Demers: Sounds like the top of your head. What do you mean like literally outside of your body you hear the sound or like within your brain it process them like in a different way? Is that what you mean? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, pretty much, like instead of processing it in the normal way, it’s a different way. And I guess that sound on top of your head, I think that’s pretty cool. But would I do it, I don’t think so. I’m rocking my hearing aids but I think that’s pretty interesting. 

D.J. Demers: I’d do it if you could like, nothing’s guaranteed but you could almost guarantee me that it won’t be worse than my current situation. But I’ve heard music sounds worse with the cochlear implants. 

Jessica Flores: I’ve heard both sides because, I feel like same thing with hearing aids is that, a lot of people don’t understand that hearing aids take a long time to get used to. For some people it takes longer, because it’s like, they are trying to adapt to all these new sounds at a random like, “where the hell is this sound coming from? Where is this sound coming from?”, like you’ll hear like a bird chirping and you are like “oh my God there’s a bear close by”. You need to like learn how to identify those certain sounds. 

D.J. Demers: Your brain literally, like need to remap, to rewire. 

Jessica Flores: When was the last time you got new hearing aids? 

D.J. Demers: Like three years ago and it was difficult. It was about two months of me just being like depressed, like I don’t know if I’m going to get used to this. 

Jessica Flores: It’s too much. 

D.J. Demers: I remember when I switched over from analog to digital when I was like 13 or 14 and that was crazy cause digital hearing aids are doing so much processing and like trying to help you out, right? Analog just used to take that raw sound and give it to you raw. So I remember when I first put digital hearing aids on and all this modification was happening, I was like “no, I can’t do this” but of course I had to. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, you adapt to it. 

D.J. Demers: But as you get older, it’s tougher to adapt. That’s what worries me. I’m like, if I’m going to get a CI implant, I’d like to do it now while I’m young-ish because if I’m like 50, I fear my brain would be like “nope”. 

Jessica Flores: [laughing] Yeah, “put those down”. I feel like I’m pretty good with adapting to new sounds but it is super overwhelming because there is just so many sounds that your brain takes in, that we don’t even notice that even people who are listening the stuff don’t even notice how many sounds their brain is actually filtering out for them. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah. 

Jessica Flores: But we are kind of hearing all of those sounds at once and we are like, “what’s going on?”. But its hard but I feel like patience helps, and time. Patience and time, when it comes to hearing aids. It’s best advice I got. 

D.J. Demers: What’s been- so you’ve put yourself out there as a public figure and an advocate of hard-of-hearing issues and obviously there’s a lot of good that comes with that. What are some of maybe negative things that you didn’t foresee, is there anything that surprised you in that regard? 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, so I know that, so me personally I grew up and obviously I never learned sign language. I didn’t have anybody around me that knew sign language or really liked pushed me. 

D.J. Demers: Same here. 

Jessica Flores: It’s like we were lone wolves, like we were the only ones with hearing aids. So right now, I really new to learning sign language and at the same time I’m making these videos and stuff about deaf awareness and just kind of teaching people what it’s like to be in our shoes. At the same time I was very surprised to get negative comments about people, where people would tell me that I wasn’t signing enough in my videos. It was just like a surprise to me, because I was like “how can you jump to conclusions so fast without knowing anything about that person?”. Obviously they don’t know that I’ve been learning just recently and I’m trying to learn a whole new language, recently. 

D.J. Demers: And you are making an effort. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, I’m making an effort but at the same time, I understand where they’re coming from because if you think about it - we don’t have any content that is like “ASL”. We have a little bit of some shows about sign language and stuff, but if you think about it, you don’t get to turn on TV and be like, “this is MTV in sign language or this is like Saturday Night Live all in sign language”. We don’t have that. So to see, I understand why people can get upset like, but at the same time, I was just so surprised to have negative comments 

from people when I’m just trying to share my experiences as a deaf person, you know. But even though I have negative ones, I have a ton of positive comments, you know. I am starting to realize that there are so many people out there that are in the same situation, like they never learn sign language at all and a lot of people around them, their parents never told them or thought about picking it up, you know, and those are my people I can relate to. 

So whenever I get positive messages about how the videos are helping them or like how the videos are teaching other people like what it’s like, as their kid who is deaf or hard-of-hearing or has their family member who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, it kind of just say whatever to the negative comments. I’m just like, “no, just stop, stop”. 

D.J. Demers: Haters gonna hate. 

Jessica Flores: They do, they do. Hate away. 

D.J. Demers: Yeah, you’ve got to focus on the positive because on the Internet it is so easy to be negative. You know what I’ve been doing lately, when somebody says something negative to me, I respond positively. So I just released a comedy album and on Facebook there’s like a minute long clip promoting the album. But it’s an audio album and the clip is a video of me doing a pretty physical joke, that doesn’t really work audio wise. So somebody was like, “this is so stupid, why would you use a physical bit when you are trying to sell an audio CD?” and I’ve responded. And they kind of put it out there on the ad so I don’t think they expected me to see it or respond. I was like “You are absolutely right” and then they were like, “hey, just listened to the album, it’s really great”, I think like “what the hell?”. 

Jessica Flores: You know what’s funny - One time I got a Facebook comment. For the record, a lot of people think that when they reply to your Facebook pages that it’s not actually going to you. But it is going to you. So every time somebody says a negative comment, it’s actually most likely going to the person. 

D.J. Demers: To you directly into your heart. 

Jessica Flores: Through my heart, just crushes it. I just sit there, shed a tear and just move on to the next comment. But, they had a Facebook comment that was like “oh you know what, this girl is really annoying” and blah, blah, blah and, “I don’t like her videos” and I was like, “oh, okay, well guys, I knew that not everybody was going to like the video. That’s cool. If you don’t like it, you don’t really have to watch it”. But then, the next comment I got was, like “oh, but you know you could be the next big thing, so keep going”. I am like “what?” I am so confused right now. I don’t know. Think before you speak, people. You might be actually saying it to the person who is actually on that Facebook page. 

D.J. Demers: The Internet is real life. It is real life. 

Jessica Flores: Oh my Gosh. 

D.J. Demers: We got to get out of here. 

Jessica Flores: Okay. Let’s take off. 

D.J. Demers: It’s so nice to meet my hearing aid twin in San Francisco. 

Jessica Flores: I know, it was so excited. 

D.J. Demers: Where can everybody find you online? 

Jessica Flores: Oh, I can actually be found on my YouTube channel or Facebook page. Both of them are under Jessica Marie Flores. My Instagram is @limemoney. 

D.J. Demers: Why limemoney? 

Jessica Flores: I’ll tell you about that after we record. [laughing] 

D.J. Demers: Okay, alright. 

Jessica Flores: Yeah, think that’s it, yeah. 

D.J. Demers: Cool. Well, thank you once again. Do you wanna end the show with a nice “um, mmmm”. 

Jessica Flores: “Mmmm”. Yeah. 

D.J. Demers: Jessica Flores, everybody. Thank you. 

Jessica Flores: Bye, bye. 

D.J. Demers: Bye. 

[outro]