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.
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