Sunday, 9 June 2013

NO, YOU Wear the Badges....

Reading the DARG blog today, appalling stress put upon the poster.   perhaps hearing loss groups for years have been doing everything the wrong way around, can now adopt a different strategy of raising awareness of support we need out of doors, there must be lots of people who have basic sign language awareness, and many others too, more than willing to help us out when faced with confusion at service point areas, and along the way about our daily lives.

Deaf and others with hearing loss ARE their own worst enemy in that they defend their own inability to follow and get aggressive, this will also deter people wanting to help.   I can well understand DARG's frustration at the fact simply identifying yourself as having hearing loss and have difficulty following things,  is pointless in itself as the people you remind that you have these issues, may simply be unaware totally, as to how to help.  There is simply no time nor place, to teach deaf awareness with an supermarket que behind you getting angry at delays... or an GP surgery where  the clerk cannot spare time either...


I know for a fact, many deaf did not want to be identified as such, so refuse to wear badges or carry cards, and refused to ID themselves on driving licences too.  Whilst the thrust of their argument was why do WE have to say we are deaf ?   The main reason is often FEAR, fear that you are taken as some village idiot, fear people have no idea how to help, or worse afraid you set yourself up as a very visible target for the morons who enjoy abusing deaf people.  (this was always  a puzzle to me, as sign language would do that anyway).


Deaf  opposed Hearing Concern (UK), when they first put these badges out, and challenged the 'Cards' telling people the 'best way' to communicate to us, simply were too narrowly defined to be of widespread use.  They still make them but who on earth but a very few would wear them ?   Badges ID YOU, they don't identify those who can help.  People who offer services to the public should wear where applicable badges that show us, they can assist.   Simply sticking up a poster to switch your hearing aid to the loop system they have is not much use, given most are never on anyway., and far too often these loop posters are used as an by-pass to deaf accessibility, to show they are 'complying with deaf access requirements'.

Loop poster in public places have proven to be a very cheap option to providing equal access for us all.   From an 'HI' view, can you raise awareness WITH a badge ? I have reservations, yes people would know you have an communication issue, but still not know how to help you, or fear rejection if they offer, many deaf at one point were rude when people offered to help them, deaf pride making things harder for them.  I have rights, I don't need your help, or something equally obscure.  These rights are non-applicable on the street, you have to work at it.  if you are rude to mainstream on the street,  expect to remain ignored.

It would be better from my view if people who COULD communicate to us, wore badges that identified THAT fact,  at least then we would know who to ask for help.  However even so, we must be PATIENT there is no guarantee they sign to level 6 BSL standard or are perfect lip-speakers either.   I am deaf sign to me, is not going to get you far, unless you know that person signs anyway.  Bear in mind at a busy supermarket check out, there may simply be no time to engage in writing things down and explaining something, personally I always choose, like most deaf people, a check out that is mostly empty so I can engage with the till operator if I need to.  The key is planning, but it would help greatly if you saw someone hearing with a badge that identified them as someone who can assist.

Without unduly advertising I found Sainsbury's pretty good at helping deaf people, they made calls for me free, and staff guided me to items I couldn't find, and helped at checkouts, obviously there are other areas you avoid like the black death  !  I am sure too there are ideas for badges for hearing people aware that are much better than mine, what would  you put on such badges ?

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