Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Changing the little deaf things


Phew, after a quiet few weeks, I think it's time for an update on everything DG.

I'm not quite sure why I don't blog anymore. Perhaps it's because I'm so happy and supported in my day job that I don't need to rant about my deafness in the way that I used to.

Indeed, my current company has done everything in its power to make my job feel as thought it was always meant to be done by a deaf person, and this is something I absolutely do not take for granted.

But it also means that days of weeping as I psyched myself up to make those compulsory phone calls have gone.

The conflict I encountered in other places I worked regarding my deafness has gone.

Therefore too, in a way, has my blog fodder.

Sure, there are still hilarious mishearing moments, and right now I'm trying to learn Spanish, but I guess this gets posted on Twitter in bite-sized pieces and where most of you guys follow me anyway.

However, with my life so sorted deafness wise – I'm nicely equipped with all manner of flashing and vibrating things and my iPhone is groaning under the gigabyte weight of all the useful apps – I'm looking at what I can do that will not only help me, but also other peeps, too.

And this is where my NHS campaign comes in. While the name of it is still in progress, it's actually ticking over nicely. Emails are being sent and responses from people are largely positive. I have a long-term plan, too, but for now, I'm just trying to plant the seed of thought about how bizarre it is that it's so difficult for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to easily access NHS services.

Indeed SuperCathyFragileMystic, an amazing GP friend of mine, has been job interviewing these last few months and one of her big questions at the end is 'How do deaf people make an appointment at your surgery?' and she gets met with mouths opening and closing as they struggle to think why they don't know the answer to this.

But really, I thought last week, while trudging through the rain under the umbrella I ran the length of Oxford Street for, why should I stop at striving to make essential services accessible?

What about seeing if I can make those non-essential but very enjoyable services accessible? What about video content online? What about augmented reality, QR code links and live streaming? I mean, I only notice how inaccessible it all is because I can't access it, but to the more-than-likely hearing people that have created these amazing things, they already offer them exactly what they need. These peeps don't realise that actually they could be reaching way more people if they just captioned the videos, or maybe even had a sign language option.

Wouldn't that be amazing? You hold your phone over an augmented reality page of a magazine and choose between a voice over, captions or signing.

And while sorting the sign language would probably cost money, there's no reason why the captions should. These are free and easy to embed on YouTube videos (tutorial to come) and look quite frankly bloody brilliant in action.

So you see this is my plan. I'm not going to scream and shout and point out the unfairness of it all. That would be like having an argument in a dream with someone then yelling at them about it in real life the next day. They'd be utterly clueless to what the hell you were going on about and then rather put out by the whole thing.

These companies don't necessarily know how inaccessible all these amazing new technology developments are, so it's not really fair to shout at them.

Instead, I'm going to just ask questions, Super-Cathy-Fragile-Mystic-style. I'm going to ask them how deaf people access their content and point out how easy it is to caption things.

Because you see, if you don't ask, you don't get. People don't sit around wondering about your specific needs, but if you point them out, they're more than happy to think about them. And if you point them out politely, they're even more happy.

No guns blazing, no tantrums. Just 'I love this idea but I can't enjoy it because…' and 'Could you please fix this by...'

With the big things in my life changed so much for the better, it's time to focus on the little things.

I'll keep you posted peeps

DG x

1 comment:

Tea cosy said...

Keep up the good work and the blogging. I miss your daily posts. You could still rant about your awfull neighbour!

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