Wednesday 9 June 2010

Too deaf for the gym?!

Hurray! Last night we won the pub quiz!

We came joint first with another team and lost on the tie-break question. But I was actually happier with my runner-up prize of a pint glass than I would have been with the free wine.

Anyway, people who follow me on Twitter will know that yesterday I joined a gym with Gym Buddy.

Since our last gym got shut down to make way for the still-non-existent Crossrail, we haven't exactly been gym buddies so we were thrilled at the prospect of this happening again.

On the back of the registration form was a health questionnaire and when it asked if I was deaf or hard of hearing, I naturally ticked the box.

I also checked whether they offered any discounts for deaf people. They did not, which I didn't mind about, but it's always worth asking.

Anyway on returning to work, I had an email from the gym asking me to provide a doctor's note regarding my deafness.


So I wrote back and reminded them that deafness is not a physical disability and that I have never even spoken to my current GP about it.

They replied that they needed confirmation from my doctor that as a deaf person it was safe for me to exercise.

I felt annoyed, mildly insulted, and completely inconvenienced, as this means asking one of my friends to call my doctor to request a note, as funnily enough I can't do this myself.

Intrigued as to whether any other deaf people had been asked to do this, I announced the situation on Twitter and the support I got was amazing, proving that I wasn't being difficult about the whole thing and the gym really is being out of order.

So cross was I that I emailed the Equality and Human Rights Commission about it and I’m really hoping I get a reply, as otherwise I can't see any other solution than to ask a GP who doesn't know anything about my hearing to declare me safe to exercise.

I mean last time I saw any GP about my deafness was to ask for a referral so I could get on the list for my local audiology clinic.

The first thing he said was, ‘Now let's just check it's not caused by wax in your ears.’

I was 24! I'd already been deaf for 24 years, eight of them severely...

If wax was the problem, don't you think someone else would have worked that out before.

Oooh, I am just so mad about this whole thing. About the fact that people are so ignorant they think deafness makes it dangerous to exercise.

I can tell you what will make it dangerous for me to exercise at that gym, and that will be my high blood pressure caused by the rage they have sparked within me.

Maybe I should get a doctor's note for that too!


BigBro said...

Ridiculous. Send them a letter of complaint and get some free months of membership. :D

DeafWise said...

Hmmm, wondering what part of your hearing you use in a gym anyway that would be a health risk?.... another example of common sense missing from businesses.

NikNak said...

That is UNBELIEVABLE! It's not about their Health and Safety policy, but more their ignorance and lack of staff training. Makes me mad!

I agree with BigBro - a letter of complaint and hopefully they will see send and offer some degree compensation with some free months of membership

Anonymous said...

Go for ti girly! I can see the steam rising already!

(e said...

If being deaf makes it dangerous to work out in a public gym, then they need to tell everyone to stop listening to their ipods using headphones.


Anonymous said...

Oh good lord.

I'm deaf, too, and I've NEVER experienced that sort of ridiculous idea. "Deaf is dangerous to the health!!!" Puh-lease. Closest I've had said to me was surprise that I can drive. "Deaf people can DRIVE?!ZOMG!" I roll my eyes at that, but this....this takes the ignorance cake.

Good grief.

Knettergek said...

Expose and shame them - names need to be named!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh heavens, write a letter of complaint to their coroporate office! They owe you quite an apology.


MissBrodie said...

Officious self-important person ... Definitely a case for a letter to higher places!

Skye @ Planet Jinxatron said...

I'm one of the people who spends my entire gym experience listening to the above mentioned iPod, and I have yet to injure myself at the gym as a result. What misguided lawyer got them to start doing this bizarre policy, is what I'm wondering.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm commenting almost a year late ... but when I read this, my reaction was to say, "Ask them how many people they know who exercise with their EARS?!"

I'm deaf and have never had people challenge my ability to exercise safely just based on being deaf. I'm 41 and have been deaf since birth. Admittedly, I haven't tried to become a gym member, I get by with a wii fit program, long walks, etc.

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