The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers.
I wrote this after reading one Secret Deafie about playing the ‘deaf card’. I had a similar experience!
Several years ago, when I owned a house in Leeds, I was unfortunate enough to have young neighbours who loved nothing better than playing music loud – without any thought for the surrounding neighbours, like myself.
It didn’t help that my house was semi-detached, and adjoined to theirs – which meant I suffered the most out of all neighbours.
They knew about my deafness (I am profoundly deaf with a hearing aid) and they liked to tease me by turning up the volume, often ignoring me if I asked them to turn down the volume.
They always claimed because I was deaf, I shouldn’t be able to hear anything, even though they knew my hearing aid allows me to hear some sounds.
One day, I had enough and so I reported them to the council, who visited my property several times to hear the music for themselves.
Just as I suspected, they confirmed the music was far too loud and over the limit (sometimes it was so bad the whole house would vibrate!), so an official letter was sent to warn them to turn down the volume or risk either being fined £5000 or taken to the court.
It wasn’t long before I had a knock on my door and it was the neighbours.
They were angry and waving the council’s letter in my face. Even though I understood them, because I faced a risk of being abused by them, or even punched in the face (they were that angry!), I had to calm them down so I pretended I didn’t understand them, constantly saying that famous phrase, “Sorry I’m deaf….”, and I asked if I could read the letter, in a bid to buy time allowing them to calm down more.
That’s when I learned about the risk of being fined £5000 or taken to the court, because of their loud music. Naturally, I had to act as if I was surprised about it, and I even did an expression of looking disgusted about it! (I have my drama teacher at school to thank for making me a great actor!)
They asked whether I had reported them to the council, saying it would be a big mistake if I did, and continued to rant at me.
I stopped them in their tracks when I reminded them I wouldn’t be able to hear their music what with being deaf, let alone recognising whether their music was too loud for everyone’s liking.
They paused, as if to think, then apologised for having a go at me, agreeing it couldn’t be me who reported them. They even asked if the music bothered me, and I said again, “I’m deaf….!”.
I apologised for not being a help (to throw them off the scent!), wishing them luck with finding out who reported them, and I closed the door on them thinking they had to be the biggest idiots in the world because they had forgot I had asked them to turn down the volume many times!
Thankfully, after that, they became ‘friendly’ around me, as if they knew it was me but they didn’t have evidence.
Ultimately, being deaf became a power I could use to my advantage!
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