The following comes from an interview Katie Leclerc from “Switched At Birth” gave to Ology.
So when did you learn sign language? In high school?
Yeah, I did. I just took it as an elective. My sister was an ASL teacher and I was like, “Well, you know, I can communicate with her. That will be fun.” So I took the sign language class, got pretty good at it, made some deaf friends, and continued up with the language. What was funny was I had my hearing tested for a film project. They needed footage of someone getting their hearing tested, and they were like, “You’re aware that you have a very significant hearing loss?” Later that year I was diagnosed for Meniere’s disease. It’s a very strange disease that is genetic. My sister and my father have it and I have it. It gets worse over time, so eventually my hearing will be significantly worse than it is now. It’s very strange it has pressure in the ear to deny us ringing in the ear and fluxuating hearing lose. Sometimes I hear fine and sometimes I hear almost nothing — I can’t use the phone and don’t respond to people when they say my name. Things like that. The last symptom is vertigo and the vertigo is probably the hardest for me. It just makes the world spin upside down.
The strange thing about the disease is that it these attacks of vertigo or hearing lose can happen at any moment without warning .I could be on set in the middle of the scene and I kind get this “whoosh” sound before anything happens. I think to myself, “Oh my gosh. Just stand up straight till they call ‘cut!’ Just stand up straight.” I work with a very good group of people who are aware of my disease and are very accommodating. They do whatever they can to help. Thankfully, my attacks happen at night more than any other time and it’s just been an obstacle that we’ve all had to be aware of. And so far, it hasn’t been an issue on set or anything, which is great.