Why is it so hard to believe?


Why is it so hard to believe that someone without a “deaf accent” is hard of hearing?

Met a new primary care and her staff today and I was thrilled that the nurse/tech and doctor were oriented on making sure I could hear them. I did have to explain to the doctor that yelling distorts the voice – just talk “to me” so I can see her and enunciate.

But the other staff…not so much.

  • I need to know you are talking to me when you talk or you’re not talking to me.
  • Don’t just start talking and assume I know you’re trying to talk to me.
  • I need you to look at me when you talk otherwise I can’t watch your mouth.
  • I need you to stop putting your hand over your mouth when you talk.
  • Why? Because it muffles your voice and I can’t read your lips.
  • Don’t question that I can’t hear you – I’m not insisting on communication like this because of an unmet need for attention.
  • Yes, I know I don’t “sound deaf” but that doesn’t mean I can hear you.

I know every time I go to a new professional office there’s a certain amount of reeducation that has to go on. I just wonder why medical professionals – even their front office staff – don’t “get it” that many people, especially in my age group, have hearing problems and sound perfectly normal, since most of us grew up hearing.

In Mexico I didn’t speak the language so I was pretty much functionally deaf all the time. Here I find that I expect more – as in I want to be able to understand my fellow English-speaker.

Expectations.  (sigh)

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One comment

  1. At the hospital and doctor’s in Charlotte NC they have been so much better than they were at Duke, even in the Hearing clinic.
    I just tell them “I need to see you lips when you talk, I’m reading your lips so please talk slow for me.” So far that has gotten the best response.
    Sometimes I explained I have cochlear implants but still can’t hear well.
    However, I have been so impressed by this medical system. They are so patient oriented.

    What I don’t understand is why people think, my friends and family included, think I am suddenly fluent in a different language. They often say…”get a translator ”
    Ummm, how did I magically become fluent in ASL?
    I have requested CART but I’m lucky if they show up.

    Glad you wrote about this… I miss your posts about Deaf and HOH issues.

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