Talk to The Hand

We’re going away this weekend with a group of friends that we see a couple of times each year in person, and regularly online. We are the good side of meeting those weirdos that spend hours playing computer games – we are those weirdos.

Each time I see them a little bit of me has dipped. It’s like a health version of those growth charts where you measure the child & mark it on a door frame. The last time we all met up was last September & I was coping well – my rosacea was trying to eat my face, but I was cosplaying in a mask so it was fine. Since then, my neck has got worse and causes much more frequent blinding migraines without warning, and my hearing has got worse.

The first is unpredictable, but I can throw drugs at it & they’re used to me being gently massaged back into place by Mr Geek as we carry on our game. There’s a neck brace, but that’s to keep my skull from sinking & re-enacting scenes from GoT. Like the other braces, largely ignore it. The second is constant and more of an issue – I can’t hear you.

So this post is more of a pre-holiday Deaf Friend 101 for my friends of stuff I’ve learnt works & ideas to nake everyone a bit more comfortable. It also includes a few signs so you know why I’m flapping my arms about.

I Can’t Hear You (properly)

Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. It’s got worse since the migraines stepped up a gear and if you call my name, I’m going to hear (maybe) the vowels – if there’s other people talking, you’ve no chance. To get an idea, imagine being in a really noisy club (yes, I know we don’t do social) and trying to have a chat. Their voice melts into all the other noises & you haven’t a fucking clue what they’re saying. Now put noise cancelling headphones on that play a hugh pitched ringing, and you’re almost there in my head.

My hearing aids amplify everything, not just your voices. It’s sensory overload – whilst it makes everything clearer, listening to crisp packets open in HD all day gives me a massice headache – I prefer my quiet dentist drill head.

How to help:

  • If I’m not looking at you, tap my shoulder (it’s not rude) or wave
  • If lots of people are talking, make eye contact & still wave
  • Talk normally, shouting distorts your mouth
  • Please don’t cover your mouth (if you have a beard expect a fair bit of guess work on my part)

Want a quick answer? Try a sign:


(For help you, just switch the direction)

Playing Games

Board games are great because they have visual clues to what’s going on. Except we play arsehole games where we switch rules & co-op (badly). These are confusing anyway, but I am channelling my World of Warcraft character here – I’m on /follow and wondering why you guys are yelling.

This does not mean that I don’t want to play! I have some serious FOMO right now. I shall go to the ball & laugh inappropriately because I misread what was going on.

Ooh look! More videos – because every day is a school day šŸ™‚

Win!:

Lose!:

Fire Alarms & Such

Being practical, you stick nine nerds in a cottage one of is going to set the fire alarm off. I do hear alarms, but duller (is that a word?) so they invoke less of a reaction. In an emergency, just point to the door – I’ll get it & as we’re on the ground floor gettig out on wheels shouldn’t be an issue.

For less desperate stuff…

Need:

Doctor:

Tired (not big boobs):

Bed:

And finally, because they’re a staple at every meetup & I want to see you sign this without laughing (icepop):

Finally finally, yay for the weekend & Superbowl Sunday with awesome people šŸˆ

All of the sign videos are from the BSL Dictionary.

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3 thoughts on “Talk to The Hand

  1. Awesome that you’re being so proactive with sign language. Besides being a necessity, it’s such a beautiful thing to watch, and I wish I knew a lot more than I did. Question for you: Do you mind when people close to you let others know your tips for getting your attention and making sure you know what they’re saying? Here’s why I ask: I’ve worked with a dear woman for years whose hearing was never good and is deteriorating fast. She never tells people that she needs that same kind of consideration you outline above, and often people she interacts with come away thinking she’s either not very bright or really quite rude when, of course, the problem is that she has no idea what they’ve said. A few times I’ve mentioned to people ahead of time to please make sure she’s looking at them and to speak very distinctly. I do it on her behalf because I love her and don’t want people to think poorly of her, but at the same time I feel like I’m being intrusive and perhaps infantilizing, because she clearly doesn’t want to share about her disability. It’s quite a conundrum…

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    • It’s a difficult one. I can ‘pass’ as hearing but find it easier to tell people I’m deaf. I probably find it easier because the physical disability forced me to accept my body is crap šŸ˜‚

      By discretely pre-warning, you’re helping her and actually others too. Friends who think like you are wonderful. It might be worth asking her what works for her (it’s very individual) and perhaps create a cheatsheet for people. That way she doesn’t have to talk people through it every time.

      Has she considered signing? Not solely, but supporting speech with signs (I use sign supported English so the grammar structure is the same) – it’s so helpful when you miss words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for these thoughts. I will visit with her about it next time I see her. I’m certain she’s not interested in signing, for now at least. I’d be worried about her becoming seriously isolated if she didn’t have a wonderful and supportive life partner, as you obviously do, too.

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