It seems that lately there’s a theme going around – 10 things not to say to deaf people – with several bloggers coming up with their own versions. I’d just like to wave my hand and mention, humbly, that I did it too, way back in January, inspired by various ‘shit … people say to …’ memes at the time and a deaf person who made their own version. In fact I fear I may have gone off one slightly… or perhaps that should be twice, so I’ve picked ten of my faves from my own lists, based on how often they’ve been said to me and / or level of irritation caused.
I should emphasise that a) most hearing people are lovely, it’s just that there’s always one, and b) the sarcastic responses that follow are not what was said at the time, but mental comments or smart-ass replies that I only managed to come up with after the fact. Usually I go with patience. But that’s not to say I’m not tempted…
With that disclaimer out of the way, here comes my top ten!
1) “Oh, are deaf people allowed to drive?”
Yes. When you ban music, radio, mobiles, people from talking and any and all auditory distractions in cars, you can take my driving licence. In fact, not even then. It’s mine, I passed my test first time, I have a clean record and ten years’ worth of no-claims bonuses, so naff off.
2) “Perhaps you could add your father to your bank account and that way we could call him and discuss things without bothering you with a phone call every time.”
Thank you for that suggestion, HSBC. Or you could just do as you’re damn well asked and just text me if there’s a problem. I’m perfectly capable of managing my own financial affairs.
3) “Aha! How did you know what I was saying?”
Because I know the topic of the conversation, and you’re predictable. Just because I correctly guessed what you said when I wasn’t looking at you doesn’t mean I’ve been faking my deafness for the last 25 years. But saying this as if you’ve just caught me with my hand in the cookie jar just makes me want to hurt you.
4) “You’re so brave!”
Let me tell you a story. My great-uncle was in the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. A few days after the D-Day Landings, he was dropped behind enemy lines into occupied France. If I’ve inherited any of that gutsiness I’ll be delighted. But calling me brave merely for getting on with my life somehow feels like an insult compared what people have done and do every day. When I parachute into an enemy-occupied country, you can call me brave.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
(Ode of Remembrance by Laurence Binyon, in honour of Remembrance Sunday just passed)
5) “I’ll tell you later”… “oh, I forgot.”
6) “How do your hearing-aids work?”
No idea. All I know is; Microphone – delicate electronics – amplifier – earmould. There’s no magic. That really is all a hearing-aid is. And no, you cannot take it apart to find out.
7) “Can you read their lips and tell me what they’re saying?” *pointing to someone fifty feet away*
Oddly enough, no. Nor can I see through clothes, or be repelled by Kryptonite. I have enough trouble with people ten feet away.
8) “Oh, hello.” *turn to computer and mumble unintelligibly. Look up* “well?” (Receptionists in audiology departments should be trained out of doing this with electroshock therapy)
9) “It doesn’t matter.”
Oh, my lord. You did NOT just say that to me. Do you have any idea how many times and how many people have said that to me, to deaf people, the world over? Effectively, what you’re saying is “it doesn’t matter if YOU haven’t understood.”
10) “Why are you ignoring me?”
This isn’t even worthy of a response. I’ll email you my audiogram in an attachment. Or it might be a virus. Say hello to the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!
Once again, most people are lovely. But heaven knows, no-one’s perfect.
And if you got a kick out of this, check out ‘Shit people say… to Sign Language Interpreters‘ and the comments. Some of them are priceless!
I’ve lipread people trying to explain to their child about Deaf people… I’ve caught a mom doing a gesture and telling her daughter “they’re SPECIAL people who talk with their hands.” To me, it sound almost like considering we’re retards. :-p
Also I’ve noticed the ironic.. Tell someone you’re Deaf and sometimes they turn around and repeat to others “they’re Death!” But tell them you “cannot hear”, they repeat it perfectly!
So who has the more hearing problem I wonder? 😉
Well, being D/deaf is pretty special 😉
As for that, sometimes I wonder!
Reblogged this on Another Boomer Blog and commented:
Add your thoughts here… (optional)
Found your blog through “Another Boomer Blog” and I love this post. I’m not deaf, but started wearing a hearing aid 5 years ago, and as I age my hearing deteriorates in addition to my severe hearing loss in my right ear. All that is to say that I used to probably be guilty in saying or thinking one of the above. It’s always hard to walk in someone else’s moccasines (is that the saying? not sure). Anyway, I enjoy your writing!
Thanks very much! I’m sure many people have been guilty of these, just trying to show how to avoid the pitfalls and traps 🙂 by writing this I’m hoping to show a bit of what it’s like to walk in my moccasins – glad you like!
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