Monday 25 January 2016

Deaf Girly's working it out

I've been thinking about a lot about what happened last week with the whole 'your deafness means you can't do this job' rejection email.

I've been thinking about it in a way that took me back to when I first moved to London and was struggling to work out how to explain my deafness to new employers. Back then, I made it seem like it was nothing. I tried my hardest to use the phone. I was terrified that if I didn't, I wouldn't do well. I wonder now if I was basically right.

Back then, I never relaxed. I was always on edge about being deaf. Ready to spring into action to hide any evidence that I was struggling. This meant most nights I went home exhausted and miserable from pretending to be someone I could never be.

Maturity and a need to be less exhausted, meant that I grew out of that habit and relaxed more about my deafness at work. I tried to hide it less. I asked for more help. I acknowledged my limits but offered my employers my ways of working around them to get the same results as hearing people. I dropped my guard.

Until last week. Until dropping my guard meant getting overlooked for some work I should have been given a fair shot at.

The thing is though, deep down, I know that someone with hearing who can pick up the phone and communicate effortlessly and instantly with people at the other end, is technically a more attractive candidate that me. OK, so I can offer alternatives, but as someone once said to me, as she picked up the phone and dialled the number of the person I was waiting for an email from, 'Things are so much quicker by phone' as she smugly trumped me to get the much-needed information, leaving me red-faced and humiliated.

Since last week, my head has been full of questions. Things like: What makes me better than the person with the perfect hearing? How can I demonstrate that on my CV and in person? Is this going to happen again? How can I stop it happening again?

I've began wondering whether I should be 'trying harder' with the phone. But I'm not sure how to.  I've tried amplifiers in the past and the t-loop hooks for my hearing aids, but they don't really help. I still don't get that clarity of speech. Without lipreading, I get nothing but noise. Without lipreading, I feel like I am the least attractive person in the CV line-up for work.

'So what are you going to do about it?' a nagging voice has been saying in my head all week.

And honestly, right now, I don't know. But I'm on the case. Whether it's finding a new bit of technology that magically makes using the phone easier (all suggestions welcome) or working out a new way of explaining that I don't use the phone without it sounding like a massive negative, I will work it out.

Because I am determined not to let this happen again. I am determined to show that I am as good as that person with the identical CV who can use the phone. That I am worthy of the jobs I am more than qualified to do.

Happy Monday peeps.

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