Not Hearing, Not Deaf
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
New Living Translation
One night I was watching a rerun of a TV show “Cold Case” and at the same time I’m trying to find something on the internet and was failing. I was disappointed and getting frustrated.
Here’s a little background. I decided to supplement my income a little by teaching ‘Cheap Computers’ in an adult continuing education class. It would only be for an hour or so, so I called a couple of school districts. One school district sent me an application, another said they stopped doing that five years ago, and another told me that they use a local community college. I called the community college, and the person transferred me over to someone’s voice mail. All these phone calls were made at home on the ‘land-line’ in the back room where it was quiet. No problem.
Later in the day I was in the grocery store when my cell phone rang. A woman was calling me back from the community college. My cell was up full volume, but the store was loud. I strained to hear. She said I could find the information online and something about the left side.
So I asked, “I will find what I need on the left side of the web page? I’m having a hard time hearing.”
“So I’ll find continuing education on the left side of the page?”
She paused then said “Yes. You’ll see (unknown words) requirements (unknown words) warrant (unknown words) background (unknown words).”
So to see if I understood what she meant I asked, “So if I click on the continuing education, I’ll see the legal requirements like background checks and stuff then, right?”
She paused again (maybe someone there is talking to her. I don’t know.) then very clearly said “Yes.”
I answered back, “Good, I can handle that. I’ll look it up tonight. Thank you.”
And we hung up.
So now at 11:00 at night I’m watching a rerun of Cold Case” on TV with the closed caption on. What’s interesting was this one episode was about students in a deaf school. Some of the hearing people thought of the deaf as freaks, weird, or worse. As I was watching this; I was wondering after I told the person on the phone from the school, that I have problems hearing; why did she say I was correct when in fact I was wrong about what I thought she was saying? She could have said “No” but she didn’t.
Many words sound the same to me. Affect, effect, pen, pin, and many others including many letters: B, C, D, E, just to name a few. But there no way one can mix up ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
The problem is many people over the years have call both deaf and hard of hearing people stupid, lazy, dense, and other names. Well we’re not. Some of us are doctors, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, and the list goes on.
Another thing many people seem to believe that if they yell, they could be heard easier. On the surface this would seem very reasonable. But it doesn’t work that way.
One day I saw a nurse yelling into the ear of an old hard of hearing man. He couldn’t understand her so she yelled louder. And he still couldn’t understand. I finally told her to let him see her face and to speak in a normal voice. She then looked him in his face and calmly asked “Have you had your meds yet?” and he answered “Oh yes sometime ago.” No one likes being yelled at.
Regardless of what you have seen on television, even “Cold Case” reruns involving deaf people, most people with hearing loss are not expert lip readers. However we still need to see your face.
One more thing I must say, we bluff a lot sometimes. We shouldn’t, but we do. For an example there’s a party and someone tells a joke and everyone laughs. Including those who didn’t hear it.
If there is something important that we need to know especially if we ask for the information, please do not mislead us. That is wrong. Be honest. Give us the respect we need.