The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today
Today I realised people aren’t always ignorant of deaf people in a negative or offensive way, but in a way that simply shows their lack of knowledge and understanding.
I was sitting at a bus stop this morning. It was quite a windy day so I tied my hair up, displaying my hearing aid to the world.
An elderly couple spotted this and started to talk to each other about the ‘deaf and dumb’ people they’ve met or known. Picking up on this conservation, I tried my hardest to listen to them as I lip read a lot. I got the impression they weren’t informed about deaf culture and how we ‘fit’ into hearing society.
They continued to talk about my hearing and eventually the lady turned and said to the man “Do you think she can hear us?” Alas it was my turn to respond… Looking up with a grin, I replied “Yes I can.”
This made them jump! They obviously assumed I couldn’t speak.
I then got into a conversation with them about my deafness and started educating them about certain things, such as the use of the ‘deaf and dumb’ term.
It turned out that the couple were interested in what I had to say, full of questions about my education, family, and whether I knew BSL.
They seemed surprised that I had hearing parents and that I was at university. They explained to me the only deaf people they met were from deaf families and went to schools for the deaf. They seemed polite, and complimented me on how good my speech was. Soon our conversation came to an end when my bus arrived.
I arrived home happy. I had educated two people in deaf awareness and hopefully, they will pass this on to other people. 😀
I had always thought that people were just mean and rude where deaf people are concerned. Today I learned that not all hearing people are like this. They just need a little bit of education to improve their knowledge.
Meeting a deaf person can change a hearing person’s perspective of us.
Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email email@example.com
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Rayovac: Never run out of hearing aid batteries again by subscribing!
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out how to add Live Captions to Facebook Live!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people