Wednesday 24 June 2009

Where's my deaf awareness?!

Perfect, perfect weather! Usually during Wimbledon, it rains, but not so far! I mean now they've spent millions on a roof for Centre Court, it seems only fair that we get wall-to-wall sunshine in the opening days, with good prospects of it continuing!

I love waking up to sunshine – it always makes me happy. When I lived in Pompey, my bed was in a bay window overlooking the sea and every morning I'd wake up and just look at the view out of my window. The big ships would be coming in and out of the Solent, sounding their low horns as they went.


Now, in all fairness my current view isn't so enticing, but after just 10 minutes of looking at the blue, blue sky this morning, I was ready to face the day.

Anyway, last night just as I was dropping off to sleep, I got an email from Ma.

Ah-ha, I thought, I wonder if she's logged into her email chat. So I logged on, and sure enough, there she was.

‘Ma,’ I typed, ‘are you there?’

No response...

‘Coo-ee!’ I typed…

Still no response.

Five minutes passed and I read my new Katie Fforde book. And then all of a sudden my phone buzzed.

‘Hello,’ Ma typed. ‘I wondered why the computer kept pinging and then saw your message.’

I explained to her how email chat worked, and so, we chatted.

It was so lovely, and I think even more so for her as her hearing is quite bad these days and she really does struggle on the phone.

It's strange having a Ma who's going deaf. You'd think I'd have advice for her, be aware of her needs and things like that. But I'm a bit rubbish to tell you the truth. I'm learning to gradually spot where she might need help and to nag her to get her hearing aids re-tuned, but I also forget a lot that she's not able to hear me so clearly anymore.

It's kind of been enlightening actually. It's made me understand how people can forget I am deaf. It's made me realise that when people get impatient with me, or can't be bothered to repeat something and instead say never mind, that they're not being mean.

The other day, Ma and I were in her kitchen, preparing dinner. She said something to me while she had her head in the fridge.

‘What?’ I said, waiting for her to turn around so I could lipread her.

She did, and as I replied, I started getting the plates out of the cupboard, making quite a lot of noise.

‘What?’ she said, to me, unable to hear from the din I was making.

And so I stopped making a noise and repeated myself.

This bizarre conversation continued. Each of us being amazingly un-deaf aware of the other one.

And if I'm that bad, then maybe I should just give everyone else a break.


Mike said...

My Grandmother is going deaf and she's a very stubborn individual. She starts talking and when I ask her to put in her hearing aids she gets cantankerous, gives up and sticks her head back in the newspaper.

At least you and your mother are trying, albeit overlooking each others' unawareness! lol.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely!!! ihave been trying hard for years but still talk to the kitchen cupboards! i hate it when people say never mind..... if it is never mind then why say what ever it was in the first place. i hate going deaf, hearing aids and feeling old.... still you've been that way onger may be i will get use to it one day!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Totally appreciate your last line.

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