15 Deaf People Problems You Have Never Heard Of

Josephine Thompson


Hearing is one of the five senses that we posses (Haley Joel Osmen has six). It's a great boon: we can hear cats meowing and purring, we can listen to the music, we hear incoming Stuka bombers... The uses of hearing are many and varied, and it's great to have ears that are on the top of their game.

However, not all people have been blessed with the gift of hearing. Some were born deaf and the world of sounds is utterly alien to them. Others had their hearing taken away in freak accidents or degenerative diseases. Their world is a lot different to the one of hearing, and here are 15 differences you probably have never thought about.


What Are Public Announcements

Public address systems give vital information to people in public spaces: the train is late, someone lost a kid, shitter's clogged. Most often, this information isn't relayed in a visual manner so deaf people can totally miss out on that.



Slow Talking Messes With Lip Reading

If you try and talk slowly to a deaf person, well, you're just messing with them. They have learned to read lips of people talking at their natural speeds; going into a deliberate slow mode just messes up the movements of your mouth – and their ability to read them.



Communicating In The Dark Is Super Hard

When you rely on sight - reading lips or sign language - for communication, you're kinda borked in a dark room. Unless you're carrying NVGs wherever you go, you probably can't read that stuff in pitch black.



You Never Know If Someone Is Behind You

Nobody likes being sneaked upon, and neither do deaf people. They can be easily spooked by someone approaching from behind since they don't have the same amount of information hearing people do.



You Have To Touch Others To Get Their Attention

Since deaf people can't really shout "hey" to get each other's attention, they have adapted to use touch, like firm tapping on the shoulder. This might make people who can hear stuff a tad uncomfortable.



Sign Language Isn't Universal

Different countries have different sign language standards, to the point where there are major differences between British Sign Language and American Sign Language. Add in regional dialects, and this can go south fast.



How Do You Set Up A Job Interview?

Sending a CV is hard enough – how do you go to an interview when you need an interpreter just for the interview? This leads to deaf people being ignored by HR altogether.



People Avoid Talking To You

Many people are outright afraid of talking to deaf people, either because it will require much effort or because they're afraid to be misunderstood. Either way, that doesn't help deaf folks one bit.



Seeing A New Movie At The Cinema Is A Chore

New movies don't usually arrive with subtitles and once they do received those vital (for deaf people) closed captions, enough time will have passed for the movie to be have been ushered into some graveyard shift time slot.



Twice As Likely To Suffer Anxiety And Depression

Depression and anxiety strikes deaf people twice as often and it has been liked to isolation that deafness brings. These illnesses are usually cured by talk therapy and good luck finding a sign language shrink!



People Look Down On You For Not Getting A Cochlear Implant

The cochlear implant is surgically implanted into a deaf person’s inner ear and it helps simulate the sensation of hearing. It restores some sense of sound and hearing people think that a deaf person is just being an ass for not getting one. However, the implants are most effective when done in childhood, and the procedure carries many risks. All in all, it's not just cut and dry.



Hearing Aid Maintenance

Hearing aids (and the implants) are sensitive devices that need constant cleaning and maintenance. You also need to have spare batteries around you when you travel and they need to be kept out of water (duh).



You Don't Need The Sympathy Of The Hearing Population.

Deaf people have learned to deal with their lives; they are not suffering from a terminal illness and they don't need your pity. Just treat them like people.



People Talk About You Like You Aren't There

Some of the rude people who can hear talk about deaf folks like they're not there – right in their faces. Many deaf people can lip read, which makes you look like a fool, and talking about people like that isn't nice anyways.



You Dislike Audism

In his 1977 dissertation, Dr. Tom L. Humphries coined the word "audism" to describe the belief that having hearing is superior to not hearing.



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