Deaf Awareness Week
Welcome to Deaf Awareness Week UK (6-12th May) and allow me to take you on a journey through my experiences of living with deafness. I am totally deaf on one side and have some hearing in the other ear, boosted by modern hearing technology. I have been a hearing aid wearer for nearly 20 years but even now my deafness still catches me out.
Day 1: Shopping
Let’s start this journey with a simple shopping expedition. Simply crossing the road to access my local high street shops, I have to be extra careful to check for traffic. I don’t hear anything coming up on my left side and have on occasion stepped off the kerb too soon, finding myself close to being wiped out by a speeding car or even cyclist.
Note to self: look both ways and then again before crossing road.
In the local supermarket then, I go about selecting my groceries, totally absorbed by the job in hand. I have sometimes found myself in a confrontation with another shopper who has asked me to move out of the way, or a shop assistant who is trying to restock the shelves.
Note to self: remember deafness is invisible and they don’t know you cannot hear!
Finally, at the checkout, the goods are sorted and scanned and the amount to pay is announced by the cashier. The queue is noisy, the supermarket busy and it is very hard to hear what has been said. If luck is on my side I can see the total on the payment screen but if not I usually just nod agreeably as if I have understood perfectly.
Note to self: use self-serve checkout or make sure screen is always visible.