Susan Eagling: Why do companies ask Deaf people to speak on the phone to confirm their identity?

Posted on February 25, 2015

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My husband and I recently decided to buy travel insurance with the bank.

When it came to medical questions, the person from the travel insurance company linked to the bank asked if I could speak on the phone.

So l told the banker who was dealing with our money that it was not possible as l was profoundly deaf and unable to hear.

unnamedThe person from the insurance company insisted l spoke on the phone with my details, such as my full name, address and asked that l gave my permission for the bank to ask me sensitive questions about my health.

I thought me! Talk through the phone – how?  How absurd!

I could have ‘blown raspberry,’ but of course l did not.  Instead, I made some noises telling them my full name, address and giving my consent to the banker to ask me questions.

I knew very well what l said to her/him made no sense.

Then we went though some questions about any medical conditions.  This was fine as l understood they needed to know in full.

One of the questions took me by surprise and to my disgust, it was  “Do you take medication for your hearing loss and for your speech”?

Come on, this is 21st century.  Most, if not all professionals should have awareness of deafness.

When I told Caroline, our daughter about this, she said she remembered helping her father with phoning someone who asked if her father could talk over the phone.

She said no, as he was profoundly deaf and unable to use the phone.  Caroline was then asked if her father could GRUNT over the phone.

Caroline was so livid and fuming that she wrote the company a letter.  She received a letter of apology.

When will these people learn?

Susan has recently retired from being a Registered Mental Health nurse (RMN) for over 12 years. She was one of the first three BSL users to become a nurse after studying for 3 years at Salford  University.  She has two children and five lovely grandchildren. 

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