Posted in Hearing Loss, Political and Social Issues

Confuddled By Our Politicians

18 July 2018

I went to sleep after reading news last night, then woke up abruptly and couldn’t go back to sleep again. I felt anxious because I hadn’t understood what they were voting about in the Commons and what the uproar was all about.

Sat up and read several news articles, realizing that some of them were really bad at explaining it; even misleading — not deliberately, I don’t think; just sloppy writing or poor-quality summarizing. Finally I got the idea… unless I misunderstood, the story appears to be that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his band won a couple of damage-limitation amendments, then voted to pass the bill, whereas Stephen Hammond, Anna Soubry et al were furious about these amendments and tried to vote it down. They were very narrowly defeated. One of the amendments the Remainers wanted to pass was an attempt to force the UK to stay in the Customs Union if the negotiators hadn’t arranged a ‘frictionless border for trade’ by early next year.

At least I think that’s the story, as I had to piece it together from different accounts.

It seems the Remainers think the Brexiteers are trying to scupper the Chequers plan by pushing amendment changes that will probably cause the EU to reject the deal, though it looks very much as though the EU will reject it anyway.

I’m not the only confused one!

Boris Johnson reminds everyone why we voted leave — I liked his speech better than his article in the Telegraph. He said he disagreed with those who thought we could ‘limp over the line’ with an unsatisfactory Brexit deal then ‘rebreak’ it later to reset the bone. It won’t happen.

24 July 2018

I started telling M what my book said:

“…ever since Cromwell, Parliament has held absolute power and no court in the land can overturn it. So ‘England’ has been living under the tyranny of ‘lex regia’ ever since — not ‘the law of the land’.”

M said, “Do we not need a parliament?”

“I think previously courts could overturn rules that went against the law of the land. Now they can’t.”

“To be fair, there were an awful lot of stupid laws.”

“There still are!”

I switched off the Kindle and said, “I can only read so much of the book at a time — it’s like waking up and discovering we live in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”

Three videos I liked:

David Wimble — Deaf Photographer Shares His Story

He’s witty, and his photos are stunning.

[ASL] Montigo — When Hearing People Look at You Differently

Even wittier.

Artie McWilliams — Deaf Anxiety

The first part of ‘Deaf Anxiety’ is what I do… the room-scanning thing! It’s the first time I’ve seen anybody else say they do that as well, so I’m quite pleased. The more crowded the place is, the more on edge I am, because I need to stay aware of who might be around me.

NB: I’m having doubts now about transferring bits of my private diary to my blog… I start fighting with myself about what to include, so I maybe I’ll go back to writing directly for the blog. Plundering my diary is a lazy method.

I need coffee…

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Posted in Life and Family

Some Fish to Fry

Meant to write this at the end of the night when I got some rest, but have run out of energy. Oh boy! Trying to write it anyway.

It is hard finding foods my mother will eat. She is more likely to shake her head and say she doesn’t like something than she is to accept it. It’s almost a reflex reaction.

A week ago I was telling her about stripy ‘Pink Tiger’ lemons I saw in Marks & Spencers. I’d never seen them before, so it was just a matter of curiosity. I didn’t buy them, but when I was describing them, all she said, very clearly, was, “I don’t like lemons.”

Well, I know! These were awfy pretty, though. Can you buy lemons just because they’re pretty?

Decided to fry some fish for supper tonight. I absolutely hate asking over the counter for anything, and could have asked my sister to do it instead, but I decided it was time I screwed my courage to the sticking place and did some things for myself. So I ended up at the supermarket fish counter just as someone else was leaving. Previously I’d had a surreptitious look at the fishmonger and decided he would probably be quite kind… and so it proved!

I’m extremely softly spoken, so, even as I spoke, I instinctively reached over to show him my shopping list, which was quite long! But near the top it said ‘2 small fillets haddock’.

He smiled, showed me the small fillets, then wrapped them up with the price sticker on, and handed them over, still smiling.

Sometimes there’s absolutely no reason to be nervous! I still felt slightly on edge, out of habit, and while he was wrapping the fillets, passed the time by studying the other fish and similar squirmy things on display. Right in front of me were a couple of octopuses.

Ooooh…

That makes me sad. Of all the things we fish out of the sea, octopuses seem more like personalities… though perhaps fish, crabs and limpets are personalities too. I sympathized with the lady I saw on TV the other day who said it always upsets her to see rays in the fish barrels. She said in the water they seem to smile, but in the market they all have downturned mouths.

It upset me too when she said that.

At home I told my mother about the two octopuses just in front of me. She frowned.

“Don’t think I would eat those,” she said.

As to the haddock… they tasted very good. My mother normally cooks them herself, whereas I’m weird about fish, so this is the first time in my life I’ve ever fried any. Don’t tell her I said so, but mine tasted better than hers. 🙂 I tried harder to get good coverage with the breadcrumbs, and they tasted absolutely perfect with chips and mushy peas.

I have one of those ‘grinding’ sea-salt cellars, which I bought in Aldi’s ages ago. I thought it would have to be disposed of after the salt was used up, but to my surprise, I was able to unscrew the top and refill it. I’m quite possessive about it, and when it was empty, wouldn’t let anybody dispose of it on my behalf. I’m sure I filled it up with salt again purely to stop people throwing it out anyway. Which they would have done eventually. So.

I put salt on my plate of food in the kitchen so my mother doesn’t have to watch me having something I can have but she can’t. Meanwhile I feel sure she reaches for a little cat-shaped salt cellar that sits smirking nearby… never when I’m looking, of course! We have become a shifty-eyed household who only salts food when nobody’s looking. Don’t tell anybody.

I don’t know why the song ‘Never on a Sunday’ (by Nana Mouskouri) has been in my head all day.

It was a lovely sunny day and quite mild, but my sister said the weather is forecast to become very cold again in a day or two.

“Ice, and that sort of thing, you mean?”

“Yep.”

Oh boy. According to the TV, we have Canada to blame. All of their frosty weather and chilliness is billowing ominously in this direction, if not already here. The sky was a funny colour tonight.

There was a short, quiet period after lunch when my mother was having a nap, and I felt sure somebody had come into the house. A door opened softly, and a shadow crossed the pool of sunlight at the back of the house. I didn’t move… just watched quietly, but the shadows seemed formless and flickering. What where they… the leaves of trees facing the street?

Then I noticed Samson (one of my cats) staring fixedly out towards the front door.

I got up and went softly out into the hall… if someone was lurking outside the house, I didn’t know if I wanted to draw their attention. Somehow I didn’t suspect a burglar, though there are reports of a sneak thief in the locality, and we are all supposed to keep our doors locked.

There was a bouquet of yellow roses which hadn’t been there before… also a carton of fresh Cullen Skink soup.

The roses were obviously for my mother, who frightened all her friends with her illness, but I didn’t know who had brought them. For no particular reason, I searched online to find out what yellow roses mean… they stand for joy, happiness, and true friendship.

When she got up at teatime, I showed her the carton of Cullen Skink soup… and waited.

A cloud crossed her face. “I don’t like Cullen Skink soup.”

“Not my thing, either,” I said.

I’m weird about fish, remember. My sister is vegetarian, so as a family we’re a bit stuck about what to do with it. Don’t get me wrong… it was a nice surprise, and kind. There is no good reason why any of us should be funny about fish soup… it’s sheer bad luck.

Posted in Agoraphobia, Health Issues, Hearing Loss, Life and Family

Fire Angels and Stay-At-Homes

Mum came home a few days ago — they say she’s in the early stages of heart failure, and needs to be on a low salt diet. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of the nutritional values of food we’ve been eating — I’m not sure how to calculate values for home-cooking, but it would be good to find out.

Someone came from the local fire service to fit a Fireangel smoke alarm especially for me! It has a vibrating pad that tucks under the pillow, and it flashes like billy-oh. I said, “yes, that would definitely wake me!”

Mum’s of the opinion that absolutely nothing wakes me, but if this doesn’t, nothing will.

I was reading the instructions that came with the alarm. The first thing I noticed was how utterly *black* the booklets were. Perhaps we’re intended to think “this would be the colour of all my stuff after a fire.”

The booklets warn that the alarm can only advise me of fire if smoke reaches it, so it’s possible a fire will burn in another part of the house for quite some time, and by the time the smoke gets to me, it could already be too late.

However, these alarms can work as a network, so if there are alarms in other rooms which are linked, the first alarm to notice something iffy will pass the message along, and my own alarm would go off as a result.

I have a little fire angel sitting next to me… ain’t that nice. 🙂

Moving on…

We all had appointments with various health professionals over the last two days. My mother went to the community hospital to see her GP, and we had to drag her around in one of those portering chairs. I pointed out to my sister there’s a diagram on the back of the chair showing somebody dragging it with the poor passenger facing backwards. There’s a big red cross next to the diagram, so presumably we aren’t meant to do that. She laughed and said a nurse told her just to pull it because the steering is completely hopeless.

So that was Mum’s appointment. Today sister and I both had appointments at the same hospital; for me, it was to see a nurse about the anxiety, which I’ve decided is here forever on some level.

The nurse asked if I got on well with E… she claims she argues with her own sister. I said yes, we do argue sometimes… but the thing is, we never bear a grudge. We can be screaming at each other one day, and the next day there is no ‘atmosphere’… It’s as though we ‘get’ that the other is only human.

Then it was the turn of my mother’s cat, who squirms, hisses and bites when people try to clip her talons. It took two people to clip her claws at the vet’s!

I’m glad nothing much is going on tomorrow, other than making parsnip soup without salt.

Going slow with frequent breaks to chill out is a pace that suits me — I don’t tire out so much or get frazzled. Earlier this month, I was getting more and more stressed when we were going every day to the hospital. It wasn’t just worry about Mum, as you keep a lid on that and focus on the practical… it’s the actual going out, being on constant alert trying to understand what people are saying, and dodging between crowds who all want to walk where you’re walking or stand where you’re standing… that’s what starts to get to me.

You would think when you learn your way around and find out what’s what, you’d start to relax… but that’s not how it works with me. It sounds unflattering, but perhaps I’m simply a homebody! I’m mostly quite happy running the household, even in these dark times. It’s not that I don’t want to see wonderful new places, or go out and get along with people; the issue is that in practice it’s not easy and sometimes impossible — I tire out eventually.

Makes me think of the poem ‘Sweet Stay-at-Home‘ by W.H. Davies. Swop ‘sweet’ for ‘salt-free’ and we’re well on track. 🙂

Posted in Life and Family

Feeling the Storm

In Scotland yesterday it was unusually hot. The wind here is generally cool or cold on your skin, but for once it was like a tropical bath. Our bus stopped for a small group of people who took their time buying tickets. The sun burning through the windows became intense. Heatstroke started to seem like a real possibility, and when we finally got moving again, fresh air circulated through the bus and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t think we could take many such hold-ups.

When we got to town, there were queues in shops where there are normally few people; tourists and locals ‘enjoying’ a day out. It’s odd when you think about it — shopping is the least fun thing to do when you’d rather sit in the shade with an ice lolly.

According to weather reports we were heading for thunderstorms, so it wasn’t surprising when the sky started lighting up that night. At 2 a.m. when everyone was in bed, the menace was profound… ancient forces were stalking the land. Like mice, we lay quiet in our lonely burrows, hoping to escape the attention of something much bigger than us.

Lamp switched off; curtains closed; all I could see was the repeated repulsing of outer darkness. A picture formed in my mind of houses huddled across the curve of the earth. Nothing dared go abroad while the storm stepped overhead with stately imperiousness. It was all very old and powerful, and I could imagine dinosaurs in the streets and in open fields, hoary heads swinging, on the hunt for prey.

In the midst of all this I started worrying about the sunflower.

It normally sits in the kitchen window but was crawling with aphids. I didn’t want the little horrors to spread to my chillis, so put the sunflower out for the night. Standing on the doorstep, I belatedly remembered the snails, and put the pot on the top shelf of a tall garden what-not which was standing beside the back door. Above my head, the sunflower stabbed the night with its loathsome burden of greenfly.

Now, in my darkened room, I had visions of this slender green rod attracting lightning. The aphids would burn up, which would be great… but, less happily, so would the sunflower. I could get up and move it to ground level, but told myself not to be so stupid. After all, the house is taller than the sunflower… if there’s any stray lightning around, it’s more likely to hit the roof.

Being all too aware of aforementioned ancient forces, you have no wish to stir out of bed. I didn’t want to be found on the doorstep the next morning as a small pile of ash covered in slime trails, so the sunflower would have to take its chances.

Lying in bed, not sleeping, you still worry.

The cats were indoors and in their beds, probably as glad about that as I was. Was everything unplugged? I reassured myself I was unlikely to be zapped and there was nothing I could do to make it less likely, while probably a lot I could do to make it more likely… then was disturbed by a memory. Something happened on a night like this years ago.

That other night, I lay awake with frequent flashes of lightning punctuating the darkness. The rain came down so hard it bounced off the tarmac. Suddenly there was a crash, causing me to leap up and run around to see if anything had blown up. It wasn’t till next day I found the aerial booster had stopped working, though the TV itself was fine! Ha.

I said there was a crash that night, but it’s not that simple. I’m profoundly deaf. I only know I started to my feet all of a sudden, and it wasn’t out of panic… it was because some internal alert had gone off abruptly, as yours would if there was a loud bang in your house.

Fortunately last night was uneventful. It rained, the sunflower fell off its perch and the aphids disappeared. There was thunder I couldn’t hear, which lacks all drama — yet I knew something big had passed.

Posted in Hearing Loss, Lost in Thought

On Communicating

Was wandering the internet and finding so many interesting things that I got confused. Which direction do I go in?

This is the lesson I take from housework: don’t think about the fact that you’ve got all these things to do before the visitors get here. Just focus on hoovering the landing! Put the kettle on, hoover the other rooms, one by one. Then have a cup of tea! You get less tired and irritable if you stay in that relaxed frame of mind, and will be able to accomplish more.

The same thing should work when your attention is going different ways and trying to get its teeth into different things. Any lion could tell you that — you can’t chase down two zebras at once.

First blog post follows. Others might take a few days or weeks, depending on how far they have dispersed into the bush.

— — — — —

So, let us say… I was thinking about how it might be possible for a severely or profoundly deaf person to get more involved in conversation with groups of normally hearing people. I don’t pretend to have found an answer to that, but the hunt goes on.

As I mentioned to a friend, groups are tricky. People can be genuinely keen to include you and they’ll say something like “I’ll write you notes,” but that’s not how conversations work. They need to fill any potentially awkward silences, even if that means talking while someone else is trying to write or read a note. I’ve seen my mother trying to keep me in the loop by writing something while all the time a friend is blethering away… it’s hard for her to keep both of us happy!

People might start with good intentions of including me, but soon slip back to their usual way of communicating.

Things might be better for future generations at a time when everybody is learning sign language at school — surely then people will be more included (and more easily included) than not. That’s all the hope I have.

When searching around for ideas and inspiration, I found a Vimeo video on lip-reading along with its connected essay, Seeing at the Speed of Sound by Rachel Kolb.

In her essay, Rachel mentions how she sometimes feels guilt about going along with hearing conventions. You know it’s not simple, barely even possible, yet we go along with it, or try to. That sense of disquiet puts you at war with yourself. I wonder if I’d be happier if I rocked the boat more? On the other hand, you can’t engage with people or change anything by pitting yourself against them.

I know what she means when she speaks of complete communication breakdown hanging in the air — gosh, that feels bad. I had a dose of that a couple of days ago, which is what sparked off this entire blog post and my discovery of these links.

There’s a bit in the essay where someone starts typing on a cellphone and she feels like hugging him — it made me smile, remembering when the audiologist typed everything down on his computer monitor. The relief was amazing! You understand everything and it puts you at ease — you are more likely to laugh and engage, because the tension and awkwardness has been lifted and you feel more equal.

Anyway, I’d just got to that bit in the essay then caught the most fragile of squeaks at the edge of my hearing. Uncertain there’d been anything, I looked up and saw my mother’s grey cat staring at me.
“Yes?”
She squeaked again — this time there was no doubt.
“Just a minute,” I said. “I’ll get it.”
When I returned with her box, she looked at it, unfurled her tail, and went unhurriedly to take possession. I left to give her privacy, and couldn’t help thinking it was ironic that I was reading about the difficulties of communicating with people, but had no problems with a single rusty squeak. It does help if you know what the topic of conversation is likely to be!

Another post I came across today was A Tear or a Smile.

Both topics in that — white lies and responsibility — have been engaging my thoughts a lot.

When important, white lies don’t solve anything — simply causing confusion and allowing problems to steadily get worse… much like somebody regularly buying a brand of beer you detest because she thinks you like it. When she discovers the truth, months or years down the line, she feels like a stupid klutz. I know this from personal experience!

You can build on honesty and respect, even if slowly, but anything else is a shaky foundation or a total waste ground… yes, perhaps like ‘communication breakdowns’ where I escape to my lair rather than try to find a way. Sometimes, I guess, we have to start from rock bottom.

As for responsibility — I’ve been reading how it all rests with us. When something needs to be fixed or changed, we must ‘man up’ and get on with it. No question. I think, however, that we are responsible not just for ourselves but each other, and it would be dangerous to lose sight of that. People can go through a huge amount of difficulty that you might never be made aware of. What are we learning if we sit silently, each side of a chasm, and smile? I don’t yet know.

Posted in Hearing Loss, Lost in Thought

Profound Deafness: Social Interlude

I was sitting downstairs with our visitors over coffee, thinking “this could be quite nice,” but got bored because I didn’t have the slightest idea what anyone was talking about. It’s not really something you can bear for very long… the next time you look in the mirror your eyelids are heavy with sleep!

I found myself remembering what my audiologist said only a couple of months ago — “you will not be able to take part in normal conversation, but might be able to pick up some environmental sounds.”

People are odd when conversing politely; they look briefly when someone starts talking, then stare at the corners of the ceiling in a laid-back, thoughtful way. There isn’t a whole lot of eye contact going on, and that’s how I communicate, really. I wondered if I was breaking some social rule by looking round at everyone.

In the end I had to potter off… pretended I was just going to the kitchen, then disappeared upstairs! They said I didn’t have to go to lunch with them, so here I am.

I won’t say I’m relieved and cheerful that I’ve been let off the hook… it’s not that at all. You feel depressed for a time because you know you’re missing out. It’s not today’s lunch or conversation you regret so much as all the lunches and conversations in your life — the extra friendships you could have had. You still have friends, but there would have been more.

I will cheer up eventually, but you end up back at this place from time to time.

Posted in Hearing Loss, Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Notepad Conversations

Ask Me No Questions

or

Hail Fellow Ill Met

 
A few weeks ago:

When we were going home on the bus, I was writing a message to Mum on our conversation notepad. An elderly man got on the bus and stood for a while, tucking his ticket away. I felt his eyes on me and looked up, and smiled. Then I went back to the message I was writing. Mum jerked her head towards him suddenly, and gestured apologetically, with a half-turn of her head towards me. I could imagine her saying, “I’m sorry, she can’t hear you.” He sat down across from us, where I couldn’t see him, and for the rest of the journey they talked politely, their voices lost in the roar of the bus. After a while I put my conversation notepad away, my message unread.

When we reached our stop and Mum moved towards the exit, I glanced at the man, intending to say goodbye. But he sat with his head turned away, so I said nothing. I didn’t ask Mum who he was or what they were talking about, and she didn’t mention him… he was just a passing ship.

 
Two days ago:

We were walking in single file along a narrow footpath, when we came across a bearded man on a ladder who was preparing to trim a hedge. He and Mum exchanged jolly-sounding greetings. Powered by her presence, I breezed past in my turn with a cheery smile. But I thought about how, on my own, I would either not look at him, or would raise my hand in a polite salute.

A little way further along, when we came onto the road, another man stood nearby. Again he and Mum made friendly noises. “People are so kind!” said Mum, as we passed on.

 
Yesterday:

We went into Costa’s for coffee, but it was quite busy. All that was left for us was a small round table for two, wedged between a lady in the corner (reading a newspaper) and two gossiping boys. The woman looked up and smiled, and she and Mum talked for a little… I wondered if they knew each other. Then the lady went back to her newspaper, and Mum and I wrote to each other in our conversation notepad.

“It’s hotter than I thought,” said Mum. “Have you noticed that the students get younger every year?”

“I never looked,” I said.

Mum rolled her eyes good-naturedly, while I thought about the old man on the bus, along with years and years of students passing me by, unseen.

After a while I said, “You know why I don’t look at people? I don’t want them to think they can speak to me just because I smiled.”

Mum laughed and shook her head at me. “They don’t always — and don’t smile,” she said. “Just observe.”

 
A small mystery cleared up:

When we left, the woman reading the newspaper didn’t speak to us again — she was a stranger after all. But Mum later volunteered the information that she’d told us (when we came in looking for somewhere to sit) she’d been watching a single student taking up a table meant for four.

Oh, I so know the feeling! Especially when we are meeting my sister, and the three of us have to huddle (with two shopping trolleys) round a tiny table for two, while a skinny kid stretches out blissfully in a tasty piece of café ‘real estate’… and stays there forever.

Lady next to us — I share your frustration.

Posted in Hearing Loss, Music I Like

Musical Distortions

I’m sorry if I seem vague at the moment — I’m not spending much time in the blogging world these days. But I know I’ll be back, as this is a kind of home.

I was listening to a Neil Diamond CD I imported to iTunes, and really enjoyed it for a couple of days, then suddenly couldn’t make it out. Songs I knew and loved for years sounded of nothing.

I realised that both hearing aids were sounding a little distorted, though still working. Actually one sounds just a little distorted; the other was really bad.

I’ve been trying to dry them out (though I did nothing foolish like leaving them in a steamy bathroom) but have had no joy so far. Switched to an older hearing aid (a spare). Played ‘Castles in the Air’ (Don McLean) and ‘Catch the Wind’ (Donovan), as I know them quite well… but I wouldn’t have known what they were if I couldn’t see their titles.

Then I switched to the other computer (just in case it was the first computer that was distorted, and not my aids!) and could just about hear Mamma Mia… but all of the twiddly bits were gone. You get the crashing piano chords and the voices when they are low (just about), but you can’t make out any of the higher bits.

I immediately switched back to the first computer and played Mamma Mia there (it should be better as it has a small set of speakers with amplifier)… and it did in fact sound better; I could make out a brassy quality where the high bits are meant to be.

But it brings home to me how much of my enjoyment of music these days seems to rely on my remembering how the songs go. If I can’t quite remember / equate it to what’s coming out of the speakers, then it’s just a wall of sound. My chances of getting to know a brand new song are low.

Have turned off iTunes (again)… am annoyed at the thought I have to go back to the clinic and sit in a beastly waiting room just to keep these hearing aids working. You think “what’s the point?” It’s like striving to keep something that was never really mine anyway. I should just give up; lead a quiet life (except for those songs that still play in my head!)

Posted in Hearing Loss, Music I Like

Away with the Fairy Moles

My brain is a radio… it is always on a music station, particularly when I switch off my hearing aids. Without them I hear nothing apart from the odd muffled thump, reverberation or bang. It’s as much ‘feel’ as ‘hear’. But that’s when my brain channels music, more than at any other time.

Mum said it should save me a fortune in CDs.

Today it’s something that sounds like a James Bond theme tune… I can almost see the sinuous dancing figures, flames, and suited spies. If I look a bit faraway, don’t be surprised! I can’t hear your voice, or the TV, or the kettle… this tune is stronger than anything else.

If I hadn’t listened to so much music when younger, I wonder what I would be hearing instead? I can’t imagine anything other than music.

Posted in Agoraphobia, Health Issues, Hearing Loss

Deaf Person Waiting

I’ve always had a problem with waiting rooms. For years I felt almost embarrassed to say “I’m not worried about the dentist… it’s the waiting room that gets me!” I can’t hear the receptionist’s questions or my name being called… I don’t even like the fact that the receptionist is in or so near to the waiting room, so that everybody else hears our loud conversation better than I do… and if I have to wait a long time, I worry that my name has already been called and I missed it. Just the sort of thing that sends my agoraphobia into overdrive…

There seems to be a vague assumption that the onus is on the staff to make sure I know when I’m called, and that it will all be sorted out by the end of the day… but this underestimates the embarrassment it can can cause, and how worried I get about it beforehand. That sort of anxiety will make me good for nothing during the actual consultation, and it could stop me seeking treatment.

My feeling is that it’s all so unnecessary, especially where audiology clinics are concerned. I’ve only once been in a waiting room that used some kind of visual prompt that it’s your turn… and that belonged to our old family GP back in Edinburgh, 25 years ago! (Why do things go backwards instead of forwards?)

I think there should be one good overall system in use for everybody, as otherwise you do get slip-ups where the nurse doesn’t realize the person in the waiting room is deaf, and goes out to call for that person anyway. Instructing staff “if you see from the notes that she’s deaf, do this other thing” is not enough.

If I had confidence that I’d be able to speak confidentially to the receptionist, and that I would know when it’s my turn to be seen, and that the staff won’t make a mistake and shout out my name anyway, I would be less anxious about visiting any GP, dentist or audiologist. (Or in fact any unit that uses waiting areas, whether medical or not!)

I knew it couldn’t just be me who felt that way. When I looked on the internet years ago, I found nothing of particular interest, but there seems to be a lot on the subject now. The following are a small selection of the links I found:

Dealing with Hearing Impaired Patients
Waiting rooms – the scourge of the hard of hearing
YOUTUBE VIDEO: Doctors Waiting Rooms
UK hospitals and GP surgeries are failing the deaf and hard of hearing

Sign Health: Why do you keep missing me? … a PDF you might want to Google for… I didn’t link to it as there’s a QuickLink available (long one!) Excerpt: “There are countless anecdotes about deaf people seeing their doctor, invariably receiving a poor service. But until now there have been no figures to support the arguments. This lack of data makes it difficult for deaf people to convince health providers that changes need to be made.” This is worth reading as it goes into a bit more detail… it talks about things that make me think “oh yes… I remember thinking that!”