Moira Dancer: 5 things that make people at work suddenly want to speak to a deaf colleague

Posted on August 11, 2014



1. Run a tap

You could have been sitting in silence all morning, but the minute you go to fill the kettle or do the dishes, people will almost be queuing up to ask you a question they could have asked just two minutes before, when you’d have been able to hear them.

Now you won’t see them coming because your back is turned, and your hearing aids have digitally transformed a harmless trickle of tap water into the thunderous roar of Niagara Falls.

Those who persist in trying to get your attention under these circumstances will be rewarded by the sight of you jumping out of your skin and breaking the boss’s favourite mug.

2. Look like you’re concentrating really hard during a meeting

While your colleagues were having a laid-back coffee and dragging their heels to arrive at the meeting venue, you were already there, frantically rearranging the furniture so that you’d be able to see everyone’s face round the table.

Now that the proceedings are underway, they’re all happily multi-tasking with their mobile devices, reading and writing emails, doodling, staring into space.

You, on the other hand, are locked in a lipreading death stare with the Quiet Speaker, and displaying your strange predilection for writing illegible notes without looking at the page.

You’re looking far too serious, what you need is for someone to whisper a series of inaudible witty asides in your ear…

3. Take your aids out to get some peace

This one never fails, it’s as if people are psychic or have some sort of smartphone hearing aid tracking device that tells them when to pounce.

Moira Dancer

Moira Dancer

With hearing aids out, you’ve finally managed to concentrate long enough to write that two line email which has eluded you all morning, and your reading glasses are no longer fighting for behind the ear space and hurting your lugs.

The unexpected appearance of a question at this juncture means you’ve now got to take your glasses off to hurriedly get the aids back on again.

More often than not, carrying out this operation under the quizzical gaze of a superior can result in some yellowing part of the hearing aid being left protruding embarrassingly from your ear until you next look in a mirror.

4. Open a window for some fresh air

It may well have been quiet outside since you first opened that window half an hour ago, but be assured that the moment the dustbin lorry appears at the kerb and starts its deafening crushing operation, someone will need an urgent answer to something.

Especially if you’ve just taken your aids out to get some peace.

5. Walk along a corridor

The sight of a HOH person in an echoey corridor would appear irresistible to some. The individual who had no questions when you asked “Has anyone got any questions?” in a quiet room a few minutes ago will suddenly find one, and it’s now urgent.

Unfortunately, in the corridor acoustic, you can’t hear it and will have to choose between looking where you are going and lipreading. In my experience, few such questions actually merit the risk of walking into door frames. Just pretend you heard and are ignoring them, it’s easier.

Moira Dancer is a graphic designer who teaches on a design course. A few years ago, everyone round about her started mumbling and, even more strangely, she found she couldn’t make out what people were saying without her glasses on. She went to the doctor expecting to get her ears syringed and came out with hearing aids. Her blog The Cookie Bite Chronicles tells the story of what happened next. Read her blog at: http://thecookiebitechronicles.wordpress.com

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