Deaf Awareness – Why it matters

Today, I was almost killed when a snow plow driver came within an inch of running over me at full speed.  As I jumped out of the way, I noted the frown on his face which slowly turned into a grin.  It brought back memories of the amount of times people have shoved me out of the way, assaulted me and generally assumed that I didn’t care enough about their lives to listen to them screaming, honking or venting.  Sadly, it doesn’t even occur to them that the person they are behaving so badly towards might actually be DEAF and not hear you.

Imagine living in a world without sound.  I am not bothered by the silence.  It is peaceful, and doesn’t stop me from communicating.  I use a computer to type, the internet highway to keep in contact with family, and ASL (American Sign Language) in the peace and safety of my own home when communicating with my hearing husband.  It is bliss.  The only time it becomes a nightmare is when other people find humour in roughly grabbing you from behind, silently shouting up close at your face as you smell their rancid breath, or even being assaulted and kicked off a bus because your ticket didn’t beep properly.

Even WITH sound in your life, those things would be rather daunting.  The only difference is that you would actually know what the hearing person’s adult tantrum was all about. For some reason, some people assume that if a person didn’t hear them, then that person is ignorant, arrogant and deserves pain, shame and humiliation.  We do not deserve any of those things.  Nobody does.

deafsnowplow

When the incident happened this morning, the snow plow driver drove off while still grinning, not caring that the Deaf woman he had almost just killed out of sheer delight was still shaking in shock and fear at her front door.  I guess he had beeped his horn and I hadn’t heard.  Common sense would have told him to hit the brake, not the accelerator.  It would have told him to slow down, not speed up like a muppet with a stupid grin on his face.

Please, if you are speaking to somebody and they don’t hear you, don’t get up close and talk with your mouth wide so the person you are talking to can see and smell what you had for lunch.  Don’t push people forcibly out of the way because they didn’t ask you to let them by.  Don’t be one of those people who are selfish, arrogant, self-centred and more.  Use your head.  Use your brain.  Those of us who are Deaf cannot understand your anger or your determination to have fun at our expense.  We feel.  We laugh.  We cry.  The only thing we cannot do is hear.  Please respect us, so that we can respect you in return.

Happy new year, folks.

Rosie xx

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