Deaf culture - do's and don'ts, etc. Let's make a list!

donotfeedbsugar

New Member
-Don't start talking to me when I'm reading, without saying my name first to get my attention. This happened yesterday at my work placement- I couldn't start work til my email account had been set up so I was reading a booklet one of the girls gave me. All I heard was 'humph umble mumble blah garg do that for me?'.

-This has happened in previous employment- DO NOT ask 'are you wearing your hearing aids??' when I can't hear you.

-When I have to ask you to repeat something (usually short cos then I have no idea of context) 3 times, then you say 'nevermind, it doesn't matter', it makes me feel inadequate as a person. Even when I'm lipreading. It makes me sad.

-PLEASE DON'T overenunciate and start acting really differently when I've told you about my hearing than before. Please don't start rubbing my shoulder every time you want my attention, when just saying my name worked before! Older women tend to do this. I don't like being touched by them!

-Inevitably, the first question I get is 'are you totally deaf without those in', 'how deaf are you'. The answer is no, but it's difficult to explain my hearing loss without going into audiogram stuff! I usually say no, it's mild/moderate but I have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds.

-When you say 'there are some [high pitched] things it must be nice not to hear', and laugh, it's not funny. I can hear fire alarms, burglar alarms, things which are high-pitched and annoying. I can't hear you say plurals, or the oven beep, or the phone ring if there's background noise (eg tv). I don't get to choose what I can and can't hear.

-When a high pitched or loud noise hurts my ears and I'm cringing, don't say 'I thought you couldn't hear!'. My audiologist told me there's an automatic response where you blink/squint if it hurts, and she could see me doing this with some of the really high pitched noises.

-DO relate- when I told someone I wear hearing aids, they didn't ask am I completely deaf without them. They DID say 'my friend has hearing aids'.

Wow..i can relate.....DON'T WORRY...I'M HOH!!!!!!
 

rpipkin95

New Member
I really like this thread too. I am hearing and this is really helpful. It seems that everyone has a different way they liked to be approached. Is there one general way that most deaf people prefer to get there attention and start a conversation.

Also would you find it distracting or rude if a hearing person uses some sign language while speaking to you. I am learning ASL but I am just starting so am far from fluent. In order to get better I practice but was wondering if in a conversation it was ok to use the limited signs I know or if that would confuse or annoy you. :hmm:

hey were in the same boat!!! i've alwyas wondered if it would be ''bad'',''rude'', or if in a way if i would look like i'm trying to fit in too much
 

hardofhearing87

New Member
I don't like exaggerated gestures either. Also one shouldn't talk with things in the mouth like cigar/cigarette/pen/lollipop. Men with overgrown mustache can be very difficult to understand. Once I meet a man with very bushy beard and no teeth (not even false teeth) and I can't understand him at all.

I agree "good for you" can sounds like if we were kids or a dogs

I agree with the overgrown moustache. I had a friend that had the biggest moustache and I could never understand him. Eventually one of my hearing friends explained to him and he keeps it trimmed when I am around now.
 

hardofhearing87

New Member
A BIG don't. Don't test how much I can hear.
I was assisting in a former asl professors class and I guess many of the students thought I was hearing. One of the students tried to get me attention by saying my name. I didnt hear them. My tutor student explained that I was hh and the entire room erupted. They were asking the professor "how do you sign liar?" The rest of the class they would get my attention and then talk with a hand over their mouth, or snap their fingers to see if I looked. They also would clap their hands or slap the table to see if I heard them. What they did not know was that I normally wore HA, but the day before my dog saw them on the table and ate them. I have long hair and always wear it down so most people never see me HA. I was already self conscious because I didn't have them, I ended up crying that night because of how rude they were.
I guess it ended up positive because I quickly made a power point presentation about the different levels of hearing loss, and the different types of HA. I explained that with my HA I was able to use a phone, and because I am late deaf, my speech sounds like a hearing person.
After that I decided that I would not replace my HA, and I have been happily more HH ever since...
 

heather99

New Member
I get kids at school sitting behind me trying to test my hearing. I'm not an idiot, and I know what you are doing. They probably all think my hearing is worse than it is because I simply don't respond.
DO NOT tap my FM microphone. Do not. Ever. Do not blow on it, thump it, or whisper, "can you hear this? Can you hear this?" into it. If I give the FM to you, it means I think you are worth putting in the effort to listen to you. Do not mess with my mike. It hurts my ears.
And it seems I'm certainly not alone in my hatred of, "It doesn't matter, I'll tell you later." If everyone else was important enough to bother saying this to, then so am I.
Do not contest me when I say I need subtitles. I will fight you to the death over this. I have told my friends that if we are to watch something without subtitles at a movie night or something, I will mute the tv and then throw the remote control batteries out the window. I have spent far too long battling over this subject with teachers and other kids. Trust me, you can sacrifice one inch of space down the bottom of the tv screen. You will survive.
 

RachelRene

New Member
What I don't like is people assuming I'm ok because I can lipread well and speak ok. Often I have been accused of being rude because I have not responded.

I get that a lot too. I speak really well, and I've spent my entire life piecing together conversation and guessing the rest, so I'm *really* good at faking understanding. This means that my friends, my family, my classmates, my coworkers, all expect that I can hear and follow along. I've been called aloof many times because I tend to just wander away, thinking someone is done talking to me, or I don't respond correctly, or at all. Now that I've been making my issues more known and trying to ask for better communication, I get a lot of backlash... because didn't I hear well enough before? ... Nope, I'd just like to actually understand what's going on and be included. Thanks.

Along the lines of the FM... don't touch my hearing aids. Ever. Unless I hand them to you. My previous aids had a volume dial, and one day one of my "friends" reached out and flipped the volume up on while we were at a restaurant. It hurt. A lot. And she found my half-crazed grasping at my ears and twitching on the bench to be hi-larious. We weren't friends after that. My new ears are much different, but they have these little bug antennae looking things for putting them in and out, and since my ears are so wee, you can totally see them. People are constantly reaching out to flick them. I finally cut them off, which means that getting them off is kind of a PITA. But seriously, why do people think it's okay? I wouldn't go up to someone and put my fingers on their glasses.

Don't assume that because you know three signs and your alphabet you're fluent in sign. This drives me INSANE. The half gestures, incorrect signs (all three of them), and painfully spelled out words don't actually help. (It's actually the attitude that goes along with this that drives me crazy, I think... I am far from fluent, especially since I haven't had anyone to sign with for the last almost 4 years, but I don't pretend that I have the skills to be an interpreter, either.) I once had a guy come up to me and try to fingerspell his entire conversation. Slowly. Letter by letter. All strung out together. Dude, get a piece of paper.
 

sallylou

Potterhead and Janeite
Premium Member
Don't sneak up on deaf people in the supermarket and invade their personal space. I often turn around and there's some hearie hanging right over me. Maybe they think that I'm rude because I can't hear them.
 

Banjo

Expelled
Premium Member
Don't sneak up on deaf people in the supermarket and invade their personal space. I often turn around and there's some hearie hanging right over me. Maybe they think that I'm rude because I can't hear them.

Oh, I know the feeling. I have been there a gazillion times.
 

MissMegTheBaker

New Member
I like this list. It's definalty enlightening in some aspects. Most of these things, like not yelling or throwing things or banging on tables I would already not be doing but the tapping thing I didn't think about. I naturally do that with people I know or if I'm trying to get by someone so they know I'm there. I didn't think of it being much of an annoyance for someone who can't hear that I'm there. It's good to know though. Most of you seem to have the same annoyances. And for those of you who have people walking up and messing with your HA's...smack those people. How rude is that!
 

Smithtr

G.G.H.T
Premium Member
Don't sneak up on deaf people in the supermarket and invade their personal space. I often turn around and there's some hearie hanging right over me. Maybe they think that I'm rude because I can't hear them.

Really!!! you notice it people oh i see!
 
One thing that pisses me off is I can hear that my RT(rehab therapist) is saying something behind me if we are walking, but I can't fully understand wait till were inside the place to ask me. I can't hear you from behind.

One time it took someone 3 times to get my attention to ask if I wanted a pen from the student department(at my college) because I for some reason didn't hear them, so they had to come up in front of me and scare the heck out of me, the minute I saw them I jumped back. If I have my headphones on do not try to talk to me because I will not hear you.

One last thing it annoys my mom when i'm singing while doing the dishes so to get my attention she will throw something from the living room into the kitchen either a pen or a piece of paper. Then I start laughing.
 

ladysolitary85

New Member
Do: Make an effort to face the person when your talking to them.

Don't:
Assume that the person can read your lips when your looking away from them. Also do not assume that lip reading is always accurate as some accents throws off our way of thinking what word is being said.

Do: Understand that it is OK for a person to let people know their deaf.

Don't: Assume that the word deaf means the person is mentally impaired.

Do: Try different ways to communicate with the person like writing on paper, texting, ASL is a plus.

Don't: Speak to the person very slowly or loudly, its very rude and makes the person feel uncomfortable and most likely make people around you to believe your just being an ass.

Do: Make some effort for the person to feel part of the conversation in social gatherings.

Don't: Talk with someone else as if the person isn't there and ignoring them.

Do: Understand that there are many different levels of deafness and some deaf people label themselves differently for how they see and define themselves.

Don't: Assume that just because the person can speak well enough that their deaf accent isn't noticeable that they must be incredibly smart people. Speech has nothing to do with intelligence.

Do: Find positive ways to get the person's attention (switch lights on and off, gently tap shoulder)

Don't:
Stomp your feet, clap your hands, snap your fingers, throw objects at the person.

Don't: Assume that just because the person may have some hearing that they can hear on the phone or in person. Sometimes we may hear you but not understand you and for us we hear gibberish.

Do: Put subtitles on the tv for us so we can enjoy flims with you! Also most movie theaters have closed captioning devices now so don't be afraid to ask us to go see a show!

Do: Be understanding if we decide not to be vocal at times.

Don't: Be embarrassed if the person uses ASL with others.

Do: Have patience. The person may ask you to repeat yourself.

Don't: Tell the person "never mind" even if you've repeated yourself. We are just as frustrated as you are so find another approach to get your point across (write notes, text, etc)

Don't: Assume its ok to call the person hearing impaired. Some people find it more offensive than just saying we're deaf.

Don't: Assume that just because the person wears a Cochlear Implant or a hearing aid that the person is instantly cured of deafness. If you wear glasses your not cured from being blind. These are simply just tools to help guide you. Some deaf people are happier with out them.
 

sheri363

New Member
About 15 years ago I was working in a store and I was having a huge difficulty in comprehending what a customer was saying. I explained that I couldn't follow what he saying and I politely asked him to repeat it. He belligerently said "WHAT?!?...are you deaf or something??" I so wanted to smack him but I instead explained that I'm HOH and wear a hearing aid. He then replied that I should get a better hearing aid! WTF!! Needless to say his attitude had ruined my day.
 

Norwegian

New Member
My very first post at Alldeaf. Hi, everybody :) I have been deaf since birth, and EVERY time I tell people I'm deaf and I need to see their faces to speech read, they automatically put one hand in front of their mouths for a few seconds. I guess they're trying to test me or be funny, but I'm just really fed up with it. Has anybody else experienced that?
 

MangaReader

Active Member
I've been asked, "can you read lips" or "can you read me". I'd say yes and fully understand that part. Then they start talking and I'm lost...

Funny how you can understand "can you read lips?" but sometimes I don't understand after that. It all depends on the person. Women understand me better than men so I tend to pick women when dealing with the public. Women cashiers, women doctors etc.
 

Grummer

Active Member
Don't: Assume that the word deaf means the person is mentally impaired.

thats the worse one, and what's worse is still that, even if they 'try not to' and compensate with "understanding" it really comes across as patronising urgh...very hard for the hearies to shake it off, it's so widespread
 

RisinDragon

Member
9) don't shake my bed to wake me up because it scares the hell out of me like there is going to be a tornado, a earthquake, a fire, or someone is breaking in the house. I would rather if you try and touch my shoulder and tap on me or turn on the light.
I wish my dog would listen to this damn advice. It's the only way she can get me to wake up. So I got used to it. haha She's a very smart dog.
 
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Grummer

Active Member
it seems to depend on 'how intelligent they are' the more they *are* the more likely they'd think its a ultimate technology available...other things like might be like 'is that still experimential?' ...

and ...the media ...GRRR
 
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