Another day, another deaf awareness fail.

(With apologies to Ramesh Meyyappan for mis-spelling his name in my feedback email…)

I realise, in the grand scheme of things, what happened this morning was not a huge fail on the scale of HSBC’s masterful performance in “we won’t take a typetalk call”, which led to a massive tantrum on my part and months of bitter letters back and forth as I rejected all their pathetic attempts at resolution, but for me, it’s a classic example of total lack of awareness, on a minor scale that happens every day – even Sundays.

I appreciate that they took the time to call me on a Sunday to give me the information I wanted, but it would have been even easier to reply to my email, and far more appropriate once they found out I was deaf. Read on…

To:            feedback at Wales Millenium Centre
Subject:   phone call / deaf awareness


My name is Donna Williams and I am deaf. I booked tickets to see Unity Festivals’ Skewered Snails by Ramesh Meyappan at WMC on 28th June, but couldn’t find any information about the workshop that I understood Ramesh Meyappan was running. On receiving confirmation of my tickets, I emailed the ticket office back to ask for this info. This is where things took a strange turn; earlier today my father, who is hearing, took a phone call from somebody I presume at the WMC with some information about the workshop. He had no idea what they were talking about, but managed to gather that it was about ‘skewered snails’, a random phrase to him that he knew nothing about, a workshop and wrote down an email address but that was as much as he understood.

What I do not understand is why the person calling did not simply click ‘reply’ on my email instead of finding my number and phoning me, and why, when my father informed them that I was deaf and could not come to the phone and that he didn’t know what they were talking about, they did not then apologise for taking up his time, hang up and then email me anyway. Instead, they gave a clearly befuddled man the information that I needed, leaving him to give me a basic version of events. The irony here is that the workshop and show are part of Unity festival, supposedly about inclusion and awareness. I am hoping that in giving feedback about this, WMC can improve their deaf awareness, as giving information that a deaf person is looking for to a random hearing person that happens to pick up the phone is almost guaranteed to get up that deaf person’s nose, especially if the original request for information was in an easily replied-to email. It’s just a small mercy that no private information was shared, or this would be a complaint and not feedback.

Also, on your ‘facilities for Deaf / hearing impaired people’ access information page, ‘subtitles’ has been spelt as ‘surtitiles’. This does not help enhance WMC’s image for deaf awareness.

Thanks for your time in reading this, and I look forward to a reply – I would still like to know why information was given over the phone to a random hearing person instead of simply replying to my original email.


Donna Williams

You see what I mean? On the upside though, ‘Skewered Snails’ is supposed to be a great show, performed by an international, critically acclaimed visual performer and award-winning star, and I’m really looking forward to it! There’s still a few tickets going if anyone wants to join me 🙂

6 thoughts on “Another day, another deaf awareness fail.

  1. Caro

    I empathise. Its happened to me too and is so maddening. Sheer laziness on the part of the caller, by the time they found your number and explained who they were and why they were calling they could have sent a perfectly straightforward email reply

  2. Helen

    Must be a weekend for it – this is exactly what has just happened to me with the RSC, despite my filling in an email form for a captioned accessibility booking (pretty obvious I might be deaf, huh?) and requesting email as the option to respond to me from their list of “how would you like us to get in touch with you about this booking?”. They phoned and left a voicemail instead. Helpful…especially given that I did the booking via email so I could avoid the slow rage that tends to boil up every time I use Typetalk!

    1. deaffirefly Post author

      Heh, thanks! Tempting to go off on one but hoping that by being uber-reasonable, I can get them to see the error of their ways 🙂


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