Lianne Herbert: Being Deaf at the hairdressers

Posted on March 22, 2016

Being at the hairdressers is a prime time for people to gossip. But as a deaf person, when I take my hearing aids out I can’t join in the conversations!

I caught snippets of the conversation about council housing, benefits and London but I couldn’t say what the finer details of the conversation were.

The other ladies, having their hair washed at the sink, seemed VERY animated and I wished I could have added my two cents as I have lived in London before. I wanted to educate them about my own personal experiences  but alas I couldn’t.
Luckily there’s a Deaf hairdresser at the salon who signs so when we could we spoke about how we couldn’t join the conversations the hearing people had and also observations about the people in the salon.

Hearing people take conversations for granted but as a D/deaf person conversations are a challenge. With or without hearing aids. (Capital ‘D’ for those whose first language is British Sign Language and small ‘d’ for those who primarily use speech).

It makes the D/deaf person feel quite isolated, especially if they can’t communicate all day. Imagine being in the same room as people and they were talking a foreign language? After a while you would be bored wouldn’t you. That’s how many D/deaf people feel when their access needs are not met.

If only there was a way to make D/deaf people’s access needs always met in conversations. Oh wait there are ways. It just means the hearing person needs to either face the D/deaf person so  that they can lip read, write things down or learn BSL if the D/deaf person uses it. Lip reading is tiring work as many words look the same on the lips. For example, ‘I love you’ and ‘I like you’. You’d be very embarrassed if you caught the wrong end of the stick!

Please have patience when conversing with a D/deaf person. We all want to be heard.

Lianne Herbert is a deaf professional writer. Lianne is also on a Copywriting course to enhance her freelance prospects. She is currently involved with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a Playwright course.

You can follow Lianne on WordPress, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Her user names are ‘Lianne Herbert’ or ‘Lianne.Herbert’. She also has a personal website –

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