Whether you’re a signer, a lipreader, a hearing aid wearer or a cochlear implant user (or maybe a bit of each of those), there are some things that truly only happen to a deaf person. Things that simply don’t happen to everyone else. How many have happened to you?
When you tell people you are deaf, they ask if you understand Braille.
You curse your cell’s auto correct function when you tell people that you’re “profoundly dead.”
Once in a while, you lose your hearing aids and spend the morning searching for them, before discovering them in the pocket of the pants you are currently wearing.
At an audiology appointment, you try to *beat* the audiologist by watching them moving their hands on the dial. This makes them irate.
You go to a deaf party just for the warm embrace of a hundred ‘deaf hugs.’
When you tell people you are deaf, they SHOUT at you. You don’t mind, even though it makes it harder to understand them, but the other people in the shop look concerned.
You are told by Deaf people – in a group situation – that you’ve put on a lot of weight recently. Everyone nods. This is completely ok.
You have scars on your forehead from bumping into lampposts in the street as you walk and sign.
You wake up on a long train journey to find all the passengers have changed and the train has arrived at the wrong destination.
You worry that the audiologist knows how much you love them piping goo into your ears when you have new earmoulds made. And that they’re enjoying it too.
You are regularly followed around by young children in shopping malls because they’re intrigued by your hearing aids.
You play the ‘deaf card’ in order to get onto the plane before everyone else. You feel slightly embarrassed as you overtake frail old people and families with children to take your seat on the plane. Then you get over it.
Despite changing your voice answerphone message so it tells people that you are deaf and they should text or email you, they STILL leave a voice message. That you can’t hear.
When you tell people you are deaf, they speak to the person next to you instead. Even when they’re not necessarily your interpreter.
You only realize the doctor has called your name out in the waiting room because everyone else is looking at you, bemused by your lack of response.
Halfway through having a great conversation with a Deaf friend at a bar, you’re bemused when the bartender doesn’t understand your order. You then realize you’ve given it to him in Sign Language.
When the lights go out at home, you spend a split second wondering whether there’s a power cut or whether someone’s just rung the doorbell.
You go to your car in the morning, only to find the alarm blaring. You turn it off, then notice angry looks in your direction from your neighbors. When you find numerous abusive messages tucked under your windscreen, you realize two things: 1. Your car alarm has been going off all night. 2. You may need to move house.
You see an interpreter signing a programme on television, but turn to your partner and comment on their recent haircut, rather than the quality of their signing (with the exception of Lydia Callis).
After a party at a deaf house, you realize you spent the entire evening in the kitchen. And so did everyone else.
During long conversations, you notice hearing people getting more and more uncomfortable at how intensely you’re focusing on their lips. You supress a smile and focus even harder.
You argue with your friend as you get on a train, and continue in sign language as you take your seat, even though they’re still standing on the platform. As the train leaves, you look around at everyone else sheepishly. You continue the argument by text.
You notice that some hearing people assume that you are a ‘good’ person when you tell them you’re deaf. You happily let them think that. You later feel disappointed in yourself when they realize you have the same failings as non-deaf people.
You meet a deaf person you’ve never met before, and they instantly ask “are your mother and father deaf?” closely followed by “which deaf school did you go to?”
You say goodbye to your friends at the deaf club, then say goodbye again an hour later, because deaf people always have “just one more thing” to talk about. Always.
Charlie Swinbourne is the editor of Limping Chicken, as well as being a journalist and award-winning scriptwriter. He writes for the Guardian and BBC Online, and as a scriptwriter, penned My Song, Coming Out and Four Deaf Yorkshiremen.