It’s Friday evening and everyone heads to the pub. One of the popular haunts of my work colleagues is the cafe at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Everyone wants to chill and let off steam after a busy week. So they head out for a nice relaxed evening. For me, it means more concentrating, more work as I have to lip read and try to understand what’s being said. It’s very tiring and no fun at all at 5pm on a Friday. I’d rather be in a hot air balloon and soar off into the sky with a bottle of plonk and a couple of people to talk to – hey it’s QUIET up there!
The problem at places like RADA is that there are too many hard surfaces – walls, tables, floors, ceiling – which bounce sounds off surfaces. There is too much background noise echoing off these surfaces – people talking, plates, cutlery, glasses, chairs scraping, coffee machine – and the resulting noise is very loud, it’s actually almost unbearable at times. When you’re tired, this is harder to cope with. Hearing people forget that by 5pm, a deaf person is going to be shattered from concentrating on communicating with hearing people all day (unless they work in finance, hiding behind a computer).
1) Turn off hearing aids and rely totally on lip reading. Do-able if speaker is clear (not usually!) and I’m not too tired (meaning I can’t keep this up for very long).
2) Find somewhere outside to drink as it’s quieter.
3) Pick a clear speaker to talk to.
4) Make it a very short drink and concentrate very hard on lip reading, ask people to slow down, then vamoose.
5) As a last resort, do the deaf nod. I used to say yes to everything but that got me into a few scrapes! I think a lot of deaf people do this.
6) Meet up with a bunch of deaf people instead. They totally get good communication.
7) Go home. Have a
bottle glass of wine. Chill. Properly.