People these days take phones for granted. Phones are the gel that holds friendships together, phones enable us to find quick solutions for problems. Phones keep us connected.
I cannot do phone calls and I haven’t been able to for years. I share this information repeatedly yet I still have friends who ring for a chat and I gamely try to hear-after all how many times can you tell people you can’t hear?
ASIDE:One thing you learn if you are hard of hearing is how to communicate and how to listen. It is bizarre then to realise that many hearing people actually cannot hear you when you tell them you have a hearing problem. Hearing people can be deaf too.
I know people have imparted important information to me over the phone from their tone but I have no idea what it is. I have lost huge swathes of peoples lives. For instance, I think there’s a friend of mine living in Mallow, Co. Cork with a Latvian lap dancer but I am not entirely sure. I appear uncaring when I don’t commiserate on the death of a father( I think a friend of mine lost her Dad in recent years but I am afraid to ask as I think she may have “told” me already on the phone so the moment is gone.) I am sure some people I know have married and divorced without me knowing.
Recently one friend, losing her temper, yelled loud enough for me to hear “Now listen CAREFULLY!” as if I just wasn’t paying attention. As you can imagine I have lost more than a few friends because of this not to mention that phone calls are just hugely stressful. I have lost friends who are not comfortable emailing and who can’t visit.
Many of you reading this will probably imagine that you would be able to tell if a friend can or can’t hear you on the phone. You might imagine you wouldn’t be so unthinking. You would. I know. Trust me, if you are ringing a hard of hearing person they will have difficulty hearing you. This is a FACT.
One luminary in the Waterford art world recently was looking for my number through a friend. I asked the friend to give her my email address and explain about my hearing. A few days later I received a call from the luminary. On the phone. I explained about my hearing but she knew already. She had decided that it didn’t apply to her. Not only that but her reason for calling was quite insulting, something I won’t go into here. Suffice to say the “lady” is now on my black list for life.
Outside of friendship not being able to use the phone is a huge handicap. In work it can be a huge problem. My job requires little phone use merely to call technicians when needed but I mostly ask others to do this for me. I cover work along with groups in PART FOUR.
Many people can just pick up the phone to find if a shop is open, to locate spare parts for their car, to get help with their PC, to make a reservation. I can only do this with great difficulty, usually crouched on the floor hands over my eyes(I don’t know why but my brain thinks this helps) and my mouth stretched as if in agony, my features scrunched up in the frown which characterises my face.
Right now there are some car parts I need on EBAY UK. I could not locate them in Ireland as I can’t ring car dismantlers and most of them do not have an online presence. I need to know if they are the right parts but the garage is not replying to email. I cannot phone, it would be a disaster and I would be none the wiser anyway.
I could go drive around to find someone else to call for me but I would have to find someone first and then brief them on all the right questions and then-I know this from experience- watch them ask all the wrong questions and so still be at square one. This can take a whole morning.
Then there is PC support which is only done by phone. Once I tried ringing Eircom for help with my Broadband. After 5 minutes the operator told me that he was finding my hearing disability irritating. I kid you not. I threw my phone against the wall, breaking it. Eircom One- Clare Nil.
Yeh, I know there are supposed to be phones that work for the hard of hearing and my hearing aids are supposed to make it easier but I can’t afford to change phones now and I actually hear worse on my current phone using my aids.
The really annoying thing about deaf phones is that they look ridiculous as they have huge buttons because the designers assume all hard of hearing people are blind too. So to add insult to numerous daily injuries hard of hearing people are not allowed to have cool phones. You think I’m being shallow?I am. Deafies are allowed to be shallow too you know.
One day I will have to look into getting a better phone or one designed for deaf people but that’s a long time in the future.
Right now though I just do not have the cash so, please, don’t call.