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You know you're deaf when… part 1

by Charlie Swinbourne

14th April 2010

A couple of weeks ago a circular email dropped into my inbox titled 'Are you a child of the 80s?' I usually press the 'delete' button without a second’s thought, but this time, intrigued, I started reading it and soon had a smile on my face. The email was full of things that were once part of everyday life, but now nestle only in nostalgic memories.

Along with references to LA Gear trainers and Walkman stereos, you were considered a child of the 80s if "you know who shot J.R. in Dallas", if "you remember when magazines printed whole pages of song lyrics," and if you "worshipped the wrestler Hulk Hogan." I once threw myself off a bunk bed pretending I was in a "Royal Rumble", so that last reference almost brought a tear to my eye.
JR Ewing
The email got me thinking about those day to day things every deaf person understands - but which the rest of the world knows nothing about.

So I put the word out among my friends and we created a deaf version of the list. Once we got going, there was no stopping us. Here's part one of two!

You know you're deaf when ...

• You secretly enjoy the audiologist piping warm goo into your ears when your new ear moulds are being made.

• You go to use your Textphone - but before you can make the call, you have to wipe off the remnants of the tuna sandwich you ate six months ago.

• You realise the doctor has just called your name out in the waiting room, but only because everyone else is looking at you, bemused by your lack of response.

• You mention you are deaf at the airport - and find yourself escorted to the front of the queue to board the plane. You feel guilty at the masses waiting behind you but say nothing and grab the best seat. You go on to mention you are deaf every time you fly.
Couple  Texting
• During long conversations, you notice the hearing people getting more and more uncomfortable at how intensely you’re focusing on their lips. You suppress a smirk and focus even harder.

• Some hearing people assume that you are a 'good' person when you tell them you're deaf. You happily let them think that. You later feel disappointed in yourself when they realise you're not quite as 'good' as they assumed you were.
• You argue with your partner as you get on a train, and continue in sign language as you take your seat, even though they’re still standing on the platform. As the train leaves, you look around at everyone else sheepishly. You continue the argument by text.

• You only realise your train has been diverted when everyone suddenly walks off your carriage. You just manage to get off before the doors slide shut.
• Playing football, you go past five players, go round the keeper and smash the ball into the top corner, only to find that the referee stopped play thirty seconds earlier. He has a red face from furiously blowing his whistle. He books you.
Football players
• You walk into your local deaf club and are immediately told you've put on weight. You are not offended. This is normal.

• You meet a deaf person you've never met before, and they instantly ask "are your mother and father deaf?" closely followed by "which deaf school did you go to?"

• You are unable to see another deaf person without sharing a sense of solidarity through a great big 'deaf hug’. After a deaf event, you have sore ribs for days.

• You go to deaf parties only to find yourself surrounded by people you used to go out with.

• You say goodbye to your friends at the deaf club, then have to hug them again an hour later, because deaf people always have "just one more thing" to talk about. Always.
Check out part two of Charlie's deaf specific situations.

Comments

    • 1. At 5:41pm on 15 Apr 2010, djchur wrote:

      You know you're deaf when....

      You go on a family camping holiday and, due to an all night rock concert taking place in the local football stadium, you're the only one who gets a good night's sleep!

      Complain about this comment

    • 2. At 6:38pm on 16 Apr 2010, M M wrote:

      You know you are deaf when... you go out for an evening for a drink with deaf friends and are all wearing a waterproof mackintosh, and carrying an umbrella. :)

      Complain about this comment

    • 3. At 7:54pm on 16 Oct 2010, stueyyy wrote:

      You know when your Deaf, when you cant wear hearing Aids as they cant work for you..Because after so many operations you have no hearing left..

      So what whay doesnt people understand those of us that are ACQUIRED DEAF, TOTALLY, No sign language well maybe a tiny bit, maybe little lip reading...

      Acquired deafness from say 5, teens or later is HELL...

      Complain about this comment

    • 4. At 1:09pm on 21 Dec 2010, Suzy wrote:

      You know you're deaf when...

      You just get used to people shouting at you when they're only actually talking and you just can't be bothered to tell them you can hear them perfectly clearly.

      Hear hear (or not!) re deafness from a young age. I also became deaf around the age of 5 - definitely an in between world.

      Complain about this comment

    • 5. At 1:11pm on 21 Dec 2010, Suzy wrote:

      You know you're deaf when...

      You just get used to people shouting at you when they're only actually talking and you just can't be bothered to tell them you can hear them perfectly clearly because they are already shouting too loudly.

      Also, for those with partial deafness, when you figure out what someone's said just after you have asked them to repeat it!

      Complain about this comment

    • 6. At 1:08pm on 21 Dec 2010, Suzy wrote:

      You know you're deaf when...

      You just get used to people shouting at you when they're only actually talking and you just can't be bothered to tell them you can hear them perfectly clearly.

      Hear hear (or not!) re acquired deafness. I also became deaf around the age of 5 - definitely an in between world.

      Complain about this comment

    • 7. At 1:09pm on 21 Dec 2010, Suzy wrote:

      You know you're deaf when...

      You just get used to people shouting at you when they're only actually talking and you just can't be bothered to tell them you can hear them perfectly clearly.

      Hear hear (or not!) re deafness acquired at a young age. I also became deaf around the age of 5 - definitely an in between world.

      Complain about this comment

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