The Secret Deafie: The deaf awareness lesson I wasn’t expecting

Posted on February 27, 2012

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Our second contributor tells us about a surprising incident at work…

My job requires me to take information from people for various reasons, whether it’s for future work, finding the right documentation, or simply getting personal details for registration purposes.

One day I was dealing with a temporary member of staff on placement and once I’d taken her registration details, the staff member in question needed me to track down some information for her.

So there I am writing down the information in the way that I am sure most deafies do – with one eye on the speaker and the other on the piece of paper while writing unintelligible scribbles!

Anyway, as I was writing I happened to look down and ask a question at the same time……so I was surprised when a hand was waved under my nose.

I looked up to see the woman say: “please look at me when you’re speaking to me because I am deaf”!!

I am sure that you can imagine the hilarity that followed when I revealed that I too was deaf and we had a quick chat about possible people that we knew.

Of course, I managed to get the information I needed and promised to locate the documents she required, but the whole episode really did make me think.

I don’t know how many times I have asked people to make sure that I can lip read them easily (think doctors who look at the computer screen or plumbers under the sink!) yet I did not think that the person in front of me could be deaf and need to lip read me – never mind the fact that it is common courtesy to look at the person that you are speaking to.

Given that I did the very thing that I do not like hearing people to do to me, where I would have previously tended to huff and puff with frustration, I’m now rather more forgiving and laid back about asking people to face me or repeat things!

Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email .

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