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.