Meetings for the deaf and hard of hearing…


Generally speaking, there really aren’t any, unless I pay $45 an hour (portal to portal) for an interpreter – and can get the one I understand the best.

This week my local bar association is (once again) meeting in a bar for a social. Not only don’t I drink, the hubbub creates white noise blotting out any chance of hearing anyone.  I won’t be attending.

The last time I went to a local bar association “training” it was in a room off to the side of bar/pub and the noise was incredible.  I sat on a stool just to the side of the speaker (a judge), tried my best to speech read, and heard about a third of what she had to say.  Fortunately, there were printouts I could take back and read.  My local bar association doesn’t charge much for association dues so the concept of asking for a terp at all events has never crossed my mind.  It would bankrupt the association, unlike the state or Federal bar associations.  Still, I find myself quite frustrated.  I have not paid my dues this year and am pondering whether it is worth it to do so.

At hearings I can put in for Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) and I do fairly well in very small venues (administrative hearings, etc.) however as a long-time member of a 12-step program I find coping nightmarish except at the one Open AA meeting I found with interpreters. I figure a meeting is a meeting and the steps are the steps and as a non-drinker anyway I’m in a good place. :^)

Being Hard of Hearing can be very isolating.  It is like being dropped into a foreign land where you don’t understand the language – although hearing dishes being banged together always seems to come through loud and clear.  I find going to meetings online (chat rooms/typing) is the best method, but again, it is isolating because a part of fellowship is actually being in the presence of living, breathing people.

What to do, what to do… hmmmmmm

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2 comments

  1. As a hearing person I can say it’s not that I want to exclude persons who are hard of hearing… it’s just that I don’t think. So I’m glad you posted this so I can be more thoughtful in the future and be more aware of the needs of all persons who may be attending a venue I’m planning.

    1. I do not believe anyone sets out to exclude the hard of hearing. It just happens. Most folks hear okay, at least. I do have a hearing aid for the one ear that has some hearing left. I do attempt to keep everyone to my right which is quite a trick in a circle of people. (smile) As we age there are more and more of us who are impaired, like people who listen to very loud music, people who work in loud environments without ear protection, etc. I meet folks who don’t wear hearing aids and expect me to hear for them (ha!) like I have friends who don’t want to wear glasses and want me to read menus for them. Once people realize my impairment they are then flummoxed because they don’t know how to respond. Because I voice (talk) people assume I can hear. However, if I sign, many people assume I cannot voice and am shocked when I speak. It is probably the old “deaf and dumb” thing. Thanks for stopping by Rumpy… 🙂

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