Friday, 4 September 2020

How awareness doesn't help deaf and the HoH.



“If you do not face me, I cannot hear you. If you call for me from behind, I may not respond. No, I am not rude. I am not ignoring you. I simply cannot hear you." 


Another dated awareness blurb that fails to address hearing loss, or the issues those with it, have to deal with.

I'm not sure who the AOHL is campaigning FOR or on what basis? It suggests people are perfect lip-readers or maybe sign users and hardly any area is, even so, joe public are not versed in either speaking properly or sign at all, and that is without identifying the skill and ability of the person WITH hearing loss and skills to follow.  

Listening is an art.  You need to fully understand what you can or cannot follow and plan for it, not struggle to follow, or as advertised ask people to communicate in way that still may not enable you.  There were posters to ATR who complained they have to ask hearing 3 or 4 times to repeat themselves as they couldn't follow, despite the hearing person doing what was asked of them.  Such areas with hearing loss had not assessed their own hearing loss issue, or over-rated it.  Of course, loss tends to get worse, not better, and many aspects of daily life can block the ear's effectiveness and the hearing aid effectiveness.

It's very simplistic bit of advice that doesn't really raise awareness. E.G. 

(1) Hearing aid users still unable to follow even with 'useful' hearing.  Mainly because 'useful' is relative a term.  Everyone is different in loss degree and ability to follow.

(2)  Equally pointless are 'cards' telling people the same things.  Deaf wouldn't use them, Hard Of Hearing were reluctant as well.  There are numerous issues surrounding hearing loss, like denial, lack of confidence, fear of ridicule, and shame etc.

(3) Deaf people sign reliant who won't meet a hearing person that signs. Face me and speak clearly is not what they are demanding currently and interact with systems via translator assistance, or friends and family, and socialise amidst other signers minimising stressful communication points.

Proper advice is to write things down etc which by-passes lip-reading and sign language access, that suggests the current awareness rehashed from the 1960s (!) to face me and speak clearly etc is unhelpful and in most part not widening awareness at all.  Street-wise is mostly impracticable.  It was a hard of hearing 'mantra' many years ago,  pre-internet and the mobile phone.  In short not relevant to 2020.

Most with hearing loss are still doing the best to avoid showing anyone they cannot hear much. A lot simply avoiding declaring what they can hear or not, or just don't know. 3m (AOHL own stats), won't even wear an aid when they need one, and most of the others are trying to hide the fact. Ergo read 'hidden hearing' 'miniature aids' and 'discreet' adverts for hearing aid usage, manufactures tend to contribute to the uncertainty because they know denial is a norm for many.  However, this doesn't address a lack of hearing to follow.

More relevant would be using your voice if you have it to ask for a text explanation as everyone has at least one phone or maybe 2 or more and text is a mainstream norm whereas lip-reading and sign isn't it's a minority and many of those already use alternatives.  

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