Saturday, 22 August 2020

Hearing loss awareness. What they don't tell you.

How To Pronounce Aware - Pronunciation Academy - YouTubeA BAME contributor (As if people have enough to manage without more bloody labels),  wrote about anger and stress having to cope with that, hearing loss, as well as COVID, and people getting angry because we need stuff repeated, which promoted some candid response. Race and colour is NOT the issue.

Deafness is the ultimate democrat it doesn't care what colour you are or what ethnicity you belong to. Ditto COVID. As regards to being left out, there are few answers to it, you cannot force inclusion so the onus is always going to be on you to adapt. The system (such as it is), can be made to adapt 'to a degree' but the public cannot. It requires a fair degree of cooperation from us and a thicker skin basically. 

The only way to making it clear to people what works for you is for YOU to tell them. It takes grit and it involves a lot of stress I have to say, you need to stay with that, and not just step back and let it leave you behind. They don't need us, but we do need them. What you mustn't do is get too angry about it, there are people who won't include you no matter what colour you are, or what disability you have, but you don't need them anyway. I found most will include if you go the right way about it. Awareness of what you need can only come from you. 

Prioritise! It took me 11 YEARS to establish my need and approach and stick with it, and it's easier today to make your point I think regardless of social media claiming differently and charities pouring out endless misery on our behalf, which I don't think helps and doesn't really educate us about coping. They are fond of telling everyone without hearing loss or deafness what they need to do, but not educate us in how we manage it ourselves.  

Most areas are just selling us a lifestyle, a language, or an amplifier.  Our hearing loss became a commodity to be sold.  I suspect wearing the T-Shirt is already big business.

You have to understand yourself pretty well, a lot of deaf people and HoH don't actually know how deaf they are or what works for them, maybe make choices that don't work for them either, then expect the e.g. the state to comply and the public, because the law says they must, in the real world that doesn't happen. 

Not understanding your issue leads to depression, poor mental health and trauma. That can negate your ability to follow as well. Various random communication 'classes' are chaos and really none to be recommended until we understand our own loss first.  

When we challenge discrimination we can forget we are deaf too and sometimes we have to choose which is the most important. For me communication not colour is. There are only so many battles you can fight at any one time and it all adds more stress.

A lot of annoyance in demanding others make themselves clear are issues arising from (A) Our stressed impatient response and (B) Not understanding the way we follow maybe doesn't really work for us. or (C) Our own panic. 'fight or flight' kicks in.  I'm not saying make excuses for not hearing, just accept you AREN'T following.  3m hearing aids are not even worn e.g. I had to plan every single outing and encounter initially, and find a system that worked pretty much regardless where I went or who I met.  There is always one way that will do that.  Technology today makes it so much easier than in my time when it simply wasn't an option, and I was the village idiot.  

AOHL and indeed other loss charities still publish our awareness as 'face me speak clearly..' or suggest we carry cards with us that don't really indicate how communication will work for us.  It actually suggests we can all lip-read really and again we can't all do that. Mask issues apart, joe public are poor speakers. I noticed very early on that when others see a hearing aid they assume you can hear, of course that is not always the case because of other factors that inhibit that, as said before, and assuming ourselves we can with an aid! We are usually the last to be aware it isn't the whole answer or making that assumption is creating more issues.

Ask people to repeat and they do that 2 or 3 times and you still can't follow suggests we are fooling ourselves mostly. Given that HA makers encourage us all to hide aids making them 'invisible' is pandering to our own insecurities and making things worse, it means people won't even see them and then suspect you are some sort of crazy person.  'Turn your bloody hearing on!' can be a typical response, when it already is.

If you have to resort to e.g. text then do it not get angry and more upset. Anger is a first and natural response to hearing loss, why me? etc then developing blame issues on others instead of addressing the source, which quite simply, is the fact our hearing is at the root of it, or rather the lack of it. So why blame others?

Do not blame those who already tried 3 times and you still don't get it. We have hearing loss and it goes with the territory. Our greatest asset (Well mine anyway), is my voice and I try to use it wisely. I don't make excuses for being deaf, just state please communicate this way, or I won't follow. Bluffing it out rarely works and just pisses other people off.

Imagine if you ask someone to do things a particular way, and they try to oblige and you still haven't a clue, then this logically suggests your approach isn't working.

Friday, 21 August 2020

DWP 'Not' new access services.


Here's one they did earlier, 4 YEARS ago (And from the ATR site at the time).  What we read this week, a 'new service'.  It's not a new service just includes a new BENEFIT. DWP just decided to DIY and not pay SignVideo.

From: Department for Work and Pensions and Justin Tomlinson MP.   The service can be used to help make a new claim or for those already claiming Universal Credit. This supports a package of measures put in place to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak. British Sign Language users can now easily access Universal Credit through a video relay service provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. 

The move will support many of the 87,000 Deaf BSL users currently living in the UK. The Video Relay Service (VRS), allows users to make BSL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff. Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson said: With more than 1.4 million people accessing Universal Credit in these unprecedented times, this technology will provide vital and equal accessibility for Deaf people and those with hearing loss. 

It is fantastic to see concern for increasing accessibility going right to the top and I am delighted that we are championing this cause for people accessing the welfare safety net. The service, which is already available for people accessing other disability benefits and the Access to Work scheme, will be available through GOV.UK. DWP staff won’t see the caller or the interpreter but will receive a phone call from the interpreter who will translate into BSL. There is no need to book the service in advance which allows the conversation to take place in real-time.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Please lower your mask for me..


A deaf woman from Dumfries says she feels isolated from the world because she can't lip read while people are wearing face coverings. Eileen Cassells says some retail workers have refused to pull down their masks when she's tried to communicate with them - despite government guidelines saying it is allowed. 

Eileen said: "We feel threatened when wearing a mask because we're not able to lip read them which is very depressing." Every time Eileen wants to speak to somebody - she has to try and navigate a way around this new barrier, which isn't always successful. 

On several occasions, retail staff have refused to lower their maks, despite her explaining that she's deaf and needs to lipread. She continued: "Some of them will not take it down but they're mumbling away to themselves. "My sister asked me to return something and I said to the girl could you pull your mask down because she had a shield and she was mumbling away. "But then she called another member of staff and again she's talking away and I went could you remove your mask and the two of them were mumbling away.

ATR:  Scottish advice is just that, it may be 'allowed' but the individual can still refuse to do that if they believe a risk of infection is possible.  ATR believes mask removal requests are dangerous and silly demands, masks are there for a purpose and that purpose is not to discriminate against the Deaf or the deaf lip-readers.  There are deaf who would not remove theirs.

What is conveniently missing from this demand and sad tale of woe,  is the fact deaf people have a number of alternatives they can also use, which suggests the campaigns are less than forthcoming at explaining what alternatives are also possible and viable.  The curiosity being hardcore sign users are NOT asking for signed support and suddenly all became lip-readers after COVID, which is not a symptom as far as I am aware, and it's basically untrue.  The item suggests deaf are unable to adapt which is not true either.

Obviously, some deaf are refusing to adapt and claiming they can't.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Helpful Apps (USA).

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Hard Of Hearing Charities must supply BSL access?

Support Quotes - lovequotesmessagesPosters are challenging the UK's leading HoH charities recent stance on offering BSL access to its output, not everyone agrees this has a real point.  One poster said why do HoH WANT to learn BSL anyway? and received an angry response from someone presumably who was a BSL user saying why shouldn't people with hearing loss learn BSL?

#1  My response,  was based on the experience of having hearing loss and going deaf myself, learning sign is not taught with the reality of how it works, you need an interpreter or to immerse yourself within that 'community' of born deaf for it to be viable, sadly, this is not possible even IF you learn sign language, because HoH don't adapt well to other people's social norms, languages and culture, which makes sign work, whilst also dealing with the loss itself.

Unless your family and friends also manage to sign your social circle is quite limited. HoH would prefer Signed English if anything as this mirrors the language they already know. The BDA e.g. people would not accept that. We are social people that's our biggest worry. Nobody in the BSL world will tell you what you must accept to make it actually work, of course, translators don't support social activity either. As I am aware that is the primary negative of it.

I would want to maintain the social circle I have already not adopt someone else's. I think most HoH would agree. Why else do we show desperation to lip-read? A system hardly any of us can master? Because we don't want to be 'seen' as deaf? Why do we 'hide' our hearing aids, and pretend its a fashion statement? Why do 3 MILLION of us refuse to even wear one?  AOHL understands these things and cannot find a way to deal with it, at least not without appearing to challenge the BSL set up.

AOHL relies on 'supporting' people so has to play the game whose rules change before they can act on them. There are a lot of 'rules' and 'rights' being thrown in our/their way by way of excuses, and not accepting what is already a reality in that deaf and HoH are already doing their own thing. As such AOHL is wasting time, energy and developing a rift with its core membership. It has to accept the realities that HoH don't want the messages of BSL they keep putting out,and wondering why the AOHL is plugging the BDA. (And even by BDA members having dual membership at the AOHL).

To all intents and purposes HoH have already found their own alternatives to sign, to AOHL and the BDA, in that technology has given them a way of dealing without hearing loss support charities.  I think a recent blurb by AOHL praising its own support to 90yr old Hearing aid pensioners was telling, and of course, the AOHL 'clinical' approach to hearing loss is abhorred by the BDA people, whose members have attacked CI's in the past opposed research into hearing loss 'cures' even opposing the tuition of speech to children.  All that is tied up with learning BSL, if courses made this clear I suspect far less would be deciding BSL is for them.  Behind the promo is the reality and they try to hide that.

#2 Charity should be supporting ALL areas of deaf, not just oral ones!

#3 This is AOHL charity, it is not the UN. As I can see it is already 'supporting' BSL users via this topic asking for their input.  It also ran deaf mental health care homes until recently. Its remit is to meet those most in NEED not run a human rights campaign for every area in the UK, and a recent attempt to include BLM was a mistake, if they supported such areas why wait until now to do it? It just seems they are responding via a knee-jerk and don't want to be left out or vulnerable to a negative response.  I'm sure BLM would see it that way too. They claim oppression of 100s of YEARS not this last 3 months.  

Rights is ultimately the government's job or ours, (As is access). AOHL's remit is actually supporting disabled THE AOHL REMIT.  Disability is not a term born deaf want to see used in regards to their area. Clearly, whilst we have been engaging on BSL the AOHL has altered its remits which didn't actually mention deafness or hearing loss last year.  AOHL has been an HoH charity for as long as I can remember. As stated earlier Deaf left some time ago. 

When the AOHL was asked to support rights campaigns in the past it responded with a NO, because they said their charitable status 'prevents them being involved in 'political' issues' and, rights are political issues.  At the basis of all this hypocrisy is the fact COVID has exposed it all and AOHL has offered little support to the BSL user until now and not much to the HoH either.  Too little too late, the BSL users have already own setups they use.