Why bother asking?


I have been at the social security office twice in the past two weeks. When there I use a large computer touch screen display (must be fun for the blind!) to enter my information. It always asks me if I have one of a few disabilities. I always select Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

I’m wondering if this is not, as it says, for them to serve me better, but for statistical purposes. Why? Because no one there gets a notice that I am HoH. The person I’m working with has a lovely, soft, lightly accented voice that is at the very far edge of my ability to hear. She’s a wonderful person and she works hard. I appreciate her dedication to getting things done right the first time.  Thank heavens for hard-working government employees – and if you want to bash a government employee just don’t start because I’ll delete the post. I spent years working my butt off for the state of Idaho and Alaska.

Anyway, this lovely and efficient lady talks to her computer monitors, or at least I think she is. I don’t know if she is talking to herself or to me. I’ve finally decided that if she isn’t facing me she isn’t talking to me – and if she is, when I don’t answer she WILL turn around and face me.

I will say this, she starts talking to me and writes instructions at the same time – which is great, because I can barely hear her when she’s facing me.  I repeat that I am HoH. She apologizes and 5 minutes later we do it all over again.

At least I can hear the guy at the front desk as he has a good voice.

Why?  Why bother asking? Does anyone know the answer? You’d think that with Social Security working with so many retirees they’d be clued in on hearing loss.  I guess not.  It is not like I’m asking for a terp, but it would be nice if they’d talk just a bit louder, face me when they want to talk to me and make sure I understand by going over the information again.

I swear to Buddha I am going to get a T-shirt printed on the front:  DEAF  and on the back STILL DEAF!  Or maybe it should be I CAN’T HEAR YOU! and on the back I STILL CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Only one more trip – to drop off a document and (thank the gods) I am done. I hope. Please tell me I’m done!

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6 comments

  1. We should have ASL in schools, and mandate that at least certain key people in certain jobs and offices take classes. I would like to see ASL become a “2nd Language” in America. If half as many people knew ASL, as know basic Spanish, the World would be a better place. Me? I’m doing my part. I’m learning as fast as I can. I just wish I had more – and more affordable – resources. States should offer classes for free, to anyone interested. I’d call that a much better use of my tax dollars, than say, another submarine or the stupid war on drugs.

    1. I think that’s a great idea. Unfortunately, there are insufficient teachers to teach it in a time when we’re all about teaching to the test standards. And there are teachers for the deaf who actually are terrible signers, so I’d want people well trained or it is pointless. Not only that, most people never meet a signer in their lifetime. You’re far more likely to have a need to speak Spanish. If I could speak Spanish (I’m lucky I learned English) it would certainly make me far more marketable than ASL, sad as that may be.

      Russian Jack Elementary in Anchorage has a class parents get their kids signed up for practically at birth so that they can classes with Deaf kids. The classes are signed half the day and spoken half the day. The kids generally speak sign in the playground. ASL is carried through all the way to High School – East, I believe.

  2. Yes! Why bother asking?? and why in college can you not take ASL as a second language? maybe you can in some schools but in mine you couldn’t. I really wanted to take ASL as my second language, but there was no time….or brain power to push in a Foreign language all my other studies and ASL.

    Oh if I knew then what I know now.

    But still, it wouldn’t have helped you. I think if I knew ASL though, when someone keeps talking to me and I kept telling them I couldn’t hear them, I’d start signing. They’d look at me and I’d just shrug. “can you hear me?”

    I actually did this at the ER. When I broke my foot. I took someone with me, and I kept telling the doctor I needed him to talk straight to me. She was just my ride! He kept talking to her. I signed. “I need you to look at me! I need to see your mouth!” He just stared. I’d already asked why he was talking to her…he said..well isn’t she your sister. NO. she’s my ride! After signing, he looked at me, for about one sentence, then left and let the nurse take over.

    I asked if I was rude. The nurse loved it!!

    I might not know a lot of ASL…but I know a little.

    and I’m steeling your photo. I’ve used the one of the cat.

    1. Except with my family (where it has sort of been trained out of me) when I get intent on communicating with others I reflexively start to sign.

      When I accompany my daughter I introduce myself depending on my function. “Hello, I’m the driver, that’s all.” And then I will not interact with the doctor – period.

      Or I will say, “Hi, I’m ____’s patient advocate.” and then I’m all over what’s being said and what the results are. Believe me, they’re happier when I’m the driver. 🙂

      If I am the driver and the doctor insists on talking to me they get a tongue lashing. “What the hell are you talking to me for? I’m the driver! You need to talk with your patient!” I don’t suppose any of your drivers would be willing to use a variation on that?

      Unfortunately, lots of Deaf use family members (children, siblings) to communicate for them. 😦 You do have the right to insist on CART. Maybe its time to do it? Just a thought.

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