Daily debate… Deaf badge or not?

So today I was helping mum out with our jewellery stall at a manic carnival, and it was that busy that we didn’t have time to eat, drink or put suncream on- my arms are burning!

We make handmade jewellery and sell gifts too, so if you fellow deafies can imagine how can I keep up lipreading our customers when they’re asking how much something is, or if they’re just muttering something?! Sometimes I just wish I could say “move your lips please, it ain’t that hard, can’t even understand a word you’re saying!” Normally I just nod and smile, until I realise they’re asking a question, then I flutter with embarrassment!

But then again, do they know I’m deaf? I often wear my hair down so they won’t be able to see my hearing aids anyway…

There was this lady and man who wanted to buy something but mum was too busy so I offered to take over. Ā I took the product gently from the man to put in a bag for them, but the next minute, the lady was almost being aggressive towards me saying “why are you taking my stuff”, probably thought I was stealing it?! I felt really upset, and gently said “I’m only putting it in a bag for you”… Thankfully my mum came back and explained to the lady that I “couldn’t hear very well” and told me that she only meant it in a humorous way, I felt offended!? I can never understand that type of humour … (Sad face) what would you have done?

I get frustrated when people just walk away if they give up on trying to ask me a question, when I just didn’t hear them in the first place! … So that’s why I thought about wearing a badge that says “I’m deaf” or “Please can I lipread you”, but then again doesn’t that turn some people away? It’s happened to me before, because they feel anxious about not knowing how to communicate with me if they see that I’m deaf, and find someone else to serve them, but on the other hand it would make them more deaf aware if they saw my badge?

What do you think, should I wear the badge or not?

Would love to hear your thoughts, drop a comment or a tweet!

Must dash, Love E x


Ā Ā 

8 thoughts on “Daily debate… Deaf badge or not?

  1. Interesting discussion! I think a deaf badge is a great idea for us deafies, but I think there needs to be something on it saying how we communicate (BSL, SSE, speech or a mixture) so other people don’t get nervous about talking deaf people when they really shouldn’t!

    In fact, I saw somewhere a card which says “Hello, I’m deaf” on one side, with the other side saying the person’s communication needs. Whilst it may not work for when you’re working on your stall, it’s perhaps an idea which you could look into?

    Liam
    http://www.thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I totally agree with what u saying šŸ™‚ I would do it but then I worry about those who like turn away after seeing it, or do we just put up with it? Do u ever experience the snarky type humour that I wrote about? šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you just have to put up with it if it’s someone who uses speech (I mean, it’s not that hard to talk to someone, right?), but I appreciate that it can be hard for a hearing person to communicate to someone who uses BSL, for example (perhaps their ‘card’ would say “use pen and paper when available”?).

        I have, yes. I’ve never really understood things like banter or things like that but I’m usually able to just laugh them off anyway!

        Liam

        P.S. Sorry for the direct plug, but I did a post yesterday which I think you might find interesting. Would you like to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, I think the importance of the good ol’ pen and paper needs to be talked about, though! Back when I didn’t know a single bit of BSL I used pen and paper and it helped me to communicate with friends who used BSL, until I learned the amount of BSL I know today!

        Thank you! I hope you like it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. E, I think you are very brave but with it comes a sensitivity I suspect is from your younger years.

    Firstly, there are some awful people out there. Don’t take it personally, it is their problem with life! You have your own to deal with and that is not one of them. We will never be like ‘normal people’ but we can still compete and outdo them at some things. My version of your stall has been an archaeological dig for a few weeks. Many people I know but also some I don’t. People, people everywhere I look. Made particularly difficult by my new ‘ears’. You have my sympathy.

    Secondly, don’t shy away from it, just keep going even though sometimes you will fall flat on your face (like I did this morning with a very simple question I could not grasp repeatedly!) and at other times it will seem so easy.

    That’s the Dad bit over!

    The response you seek: I have several badges now that relate to the differing stages of my deafness. I and many in my lip reading class have found only positive benefits. I have found many, many more people respond well to my hearing difficulties if they know about it in advance, than walk away. It gives them the choice to persevere or not bother before they get to you. So only the good ones are left and they will try harder. Although I have also produced a list of favourable things to do in deaf comunications that are basically the same as others have done, it still amazes me that so many people instinctively do the right thing when they know they have to. That is the need for the badge. It takes away that awkward starting confusion and loss of words at the beginning of sentences that then need to be restarted again. So the bigger the badge the better. The problem is when dealing with people from all sides. Then only a yellow reflective jacket that says “I AM DEAF” on the back will help. Perhaps like a “DEAF PERSON AT WORK” sign. Don’t hide your deafness, display it. It is nothing to be ashamed of though I empathise because I have been through those feelings you describe. Make a list of the problems and later laugh at it, then you will see that some of it is you and some of it others. We have to do our bit as well, hence the badge.

    My examples are below, you may have your own, feel free to use them they can be made up for about Ā£2 each.

    Keep having fun,

    Ray

    To know where we are going, we have to know where we are; to know that, we have to know where we came from. ~ a Pacific proverb ~

    Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2015 18:52:44 +0000 To: rbaldry@msn.coSo m

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think on the stall a badge is probably an advantage – maybe something on the lines of “I lipread – please get my attention before talking to me”, especially if your hair covers your hearing aids. I’ve found a small white board really helpful in tricky situations before now. I have also been tempted to get a badge made up that says “deaf as a post; not thick as two short planks” sometimes when people seem to equate deafness with stupidity!

    Liked by 1 person

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