1. If you’re lost, don’t bother phoning your family members
The amount of times I have become disorientated and lost my family members, whether it be in a supermarket, shopping center, or in a whole other country, I cannot even count! And what do you do when you realize you’ve lost someone (especially if you have a psychotic paranoia like myself)? You immediately begin to desperately phone the people who are now missing from your life. Totally pointless when said person cannot hear their phone, and hence will not pick up (or sometimes not even notice you are missing…sometimes I wonder how important I am to my family…). You just have to pray that your panic stricken state of running around scanning random people’s faces will be enough to find your deaf loved ones. Or that they will soon notice you are missing and use their phone to call you (and see the 100 missed calls).
2. In a crowded place? Don’t bother trying to make conversation.
Need I say more?
3. Family outings in restaurants are spent encouraging your family members to lip read other people’s conversations for entertainment.
Trying to have a private break up? Complaining about your best friend, thinking no one else can hear you? Well, you’re correct about other’s not having the ability to hear you, however you clearly haven’t factored in the nosey sibling in the corner with her family that is encouraging her sister to read your lips as you talk. Yes, this may sound absolutely deplorable, and such a pathetic thing to do, however, as much as it pains me to admit, I sometimes enjoy it. Especially when your ex-boyfriend is sitting opposite your table, and your sister is able to read his lips as he begins to gossip about you upon seeing your face. This skill has proven quite an amazing talent, one that I may have regularly been privileged to.
4. A simple sentence can possibly be misconstrued into something that has the potential to land you in trouble, BIG trouble.
There has been many a time when something I say, with complete innocence and sometimes even affection, is contorted into a sentence that is so left of field it is just hilarious.
“How was your day mother dearest?”
“How DARE you say that to your mother, you should be ASHAMED of yourself”.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take long before what I actually said is understood and apologies and laughter will soon unfold to save you from landing yourself in the biggest trouble of your life. (TIP: if you do happen to be caught saying something deplorable, ALWAYS play the “that is so not what I said Mum?! How can you think your daughter would say that?!” card. Works a treat…mum if you’re reading this, I swear I would never say something disgraceful to you, or anyone I know…well, maybe not in your presence!).
5. Song lyrics are consistently confused and muddled.
To be completely fair, this is not something only hearing impaired people confuse, I have a regular hearing level (well, selective hearing according to my brother), and I consistently get song lyrics wrong. However, it is now a long-standing point of hilarity in my family when my sister and mother mistake song lyrics, and some of them have never grown old for us.
“Ooooo since the day we farted” (Mamma Mia), this is, in actual fact incorrect (sorry to break it to you Pip), I think it is more correctly sung as “Blue since the day we parted”.
6. You become the overpowering voice when shopping and socializing together.
You begin to recognize the signs that your fellow loved one cannot hear what other people are saying. Nodding and smiling is the one I have a fast reaction to, and will immediately step in and take charge to assure that they understood what was said. Especially when in a supermarket, I find my mum often allows me to speak at the checkout.
“Is that cash or card today?”
This is now my cue to step in with “card, savings, and yes we would like the receipt”.
Even though this may sound overshadowing and bossy, it has become a habit for us when I realize that she cannot hear what the people are saying, this may be my protective side coming out. My mother used to fondly call me her ‘ears’.
7. When friends stay over, they often say, “wow your family are so loud”.
Well of course we are loud, how else do you expect your voice to be heard? I never noticed how loud I was until I began school and my friends would ask me to ‘whisper’ to them. I’m sorry to say, but the word ‘whisper’ is not in my vocabulary, and the action of whispering is not something I can adhere to. We embrace noise in our family, and it wouldn’t be my home if someone wasn’t shouting across the table, or the TV wasn’t pushed to a volume of 100.
8. Movie nights are consistently a disaster.
Movie nights were abandoned long ago in my household, especially before we advanced to DVDs and had the option to select ‘SUBTITLES’. However, even now some movies and TV shows on DVD do not have an option for subtitles, and no one can keep track of movie when you have to retell everything that is being said throughout the 90 minutes. Our TV has been broken for the past year in our household and not one of us has even noticed. However as soon as someone comes over and asks to watch something other than the ABC News (the only channel we currently have access to), we are questioned constantly with the “how can you stand it?” Why watch it when no one can hear it anyway? Thankfully I survive off the Internet to get my dose of movies and TV shows, and live off of my laptop.
9. Despite occasionally using them to your advantage (lip reading), and sometimes using them for your amusement (song lyrics), you love them completely and unconditionally, and you have a strong understanding of what it means to be hearing impaired. And you know that a hearing impairment makes them no different to any other person, and their biggest advocate is yourself. This is something that many people do not recognize, and do not understand. If you want to make a difference to their lives, to enable them to hear through the amazing technologies of hearing aids and cochlea implants, and want to see the technology advance so other people with severe or no hearing at all have the ability to listen, something we take for granted everyday of our lives, then please donate to the Deafness Foundation. Make a difference today. Give someone the gift of sound.