Thursday, March 8, 2012

A workshop is being given for people who are hard of hearing or partially deaf to talk about bluffing. I've been thinking about what I do Not to bluff and decided to make it a post.

I got to thinking about whether or not I bluff when I don't understand someone.
It was a surprise to discover that I really almost never do.
Part of the reason is that growing up blind I had enough nasty "jokes" played on
me that I'm not willing to put myself in that position again by bluffing. Part of
the reason is that I don't get out a lot among complete strangers.
So what do I do when I don't understand? I often ask, "Excuse me, what did you just
say, I missed part of it." People who know me well will usually giggle and ask "What
did you think I said?" When I ask that particular question my friends know it means
I heard something which would be Pretty Unusual for them to have said.
I'm not sure I should share this but the last time this happened a friend with a
toddler was talking about Ariel, a mermaid in a Disney movie.
I Thought she said the mermaid came ashore to get laid. Before cracking up I had
to ask what she had said because this would have been an unusual comment for her
to make. After she repeated, "I said the mermaid came ashore to get legs, you know,
so she could be human and marry the prince." Then she giggled and said, "What did
you Think I said?" Since there were no kids around I told her and we both laughed,
deciding that what I heard wrong wasn't too far off.
I often get the vowels in a word but not the consonants. Once my former partner
Ann, who died in 2011 said something about "free cheese" I had to say "What? All
I got were vowels." She knew me well enough to say "You mean you thought I was asking
you if we should get some EE EE?" I said "Yes."
It was often hard for Ann in public because people wondered why she was yelling at
"That poor blind girl." Actually, she Wasn't. I don't try to hide my behind the
ear hearing aids. But I have always had long hair which covers up the "behind the
ear" part unless I pull it back, which I do at times. Even then, people seem too
notice blindness first, since I don't speak ASL, although I can finger spell slowly.
Ann was just speaking at a level I understood. There were times I wished I could
return the bad looks people gave her. I never found out about them until afterwards,
With people I don't know so well I usually say, "I'm hearing impaired and I got .
. ." Then I repeat the part of their sentence I am sure of and add, "but I lost
what you said after that." This has two advantages. First, it lets the other person
know I'm trying to understand them. Second, they don't have to repeat the whole
sentence, just the part I missed.
When I'm by myself with my cane in a line I have to ask, "Is it my turn?" and if
I don't understand the answer I have to say, "sorry, I wear hearing aids, would
you repeat that please?"
Today I needed to talk with my Rehab. counselor in a busy office. When she wasn't
standing right next to me I couldn't understand if she was addressing me or others
talking in the office. So I just waited in silence until she came back, since she
knows I do not hear well. When she came back I asked, "Did I miss something, I
can't hear you unless we're standing next to one another." She said no, she had
been talking with someone else in the office about how to process my paperwork.
Then there is the Phone, a Nuisance! I tell people I am hearing impaired and need
them to speak louder, or speak more slowly. Women, especially are trained Not to
raise their voices. If they cannot or will not speak up I hang up and don't agree
to anything. What else can I do?
The easiest people to work with, of course, are the staff in the ear Dr.'s office.
I just tell them, "I'm on my amplified phone but still don't understand when my appointment
is, want to yell at me?" Instead of yelling in anger they usually laugh and say
"Ok," then repeat loudly enough for me to understand. I always thank people for
speaking up or speaking more slowly.
Then there are people who speak Zarker, my name for Ozarker. It means they talk
fairly fast and run all words together into a blur of only partly understandable
sound. I sometimes have trouble with them, as even when they turn up the volume
or slow down they Still run words together. I haven't worked out a good way to deal
with them except to make one of the five or so ASLL signs I know, saying my ears
are closed, I am deaf.
How do those of you who can understand some speech deal with it when you can't understand
what is said? Sometimes I will ask a Zarker to Spell a word because I am partially
deaf. this can help.
People seem to understand "partially deaf" better than "hearing impaired." I don't
know why this is so. Maybe they think "hearing impaired means I have just a Bit
of trouble hearing. What do you think? All I know is they seem to get it better
when I say "partially deaf".
On the computer, even though I use a flat boring, clear voice, I often have trouble
understanding either single letters like D, P, T, or B, and V, or N, from M. Often,
I must go over such letters in order numbers or addresses many times. I also sometimes
run into trouble separating words like "then" from "than" because of the way my computer
pronounces them.
The bottom line is I do my Best to make sure I understand Exactly What I'm agreeing
to, either verbally or by signing my name to Any print form, Before I will do it.
And this can be Exhausting work. Sometimes after spending many hours with another
person with whom I need to carry on an intelligent conversation, I take a nap because
Concentrating that hard for that many hours is so Exhausting.
Any suggestions besides learn ASL? I want to learn it.
Think I might put this on my blog for today, but your replies stay confidential to
list members.

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