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Hard Of Hearing Meets Hard Of Understanding

, , , , , , , | Right | November 23, 2021

I’m hard of hearing, so when I was hired, I was given a separate name tag that is pinned on the left side of my chest. Sometimes my hair covers it, but I’m mindful to make sure it doesn’t. The name tag in question is bright yellow (against a somewhat dark-blue apron) saying, “I’m Hearing Impaired,” in big, bold letters. Along with this, I also have a transcribe app on my phone that I used to keep out to talk to customers, but now I keep it away from customers and in front of my coworker who can relay requests to me.

I am a courtesy clerk, so unfortunately, I do have to interact with customers. I love doing so! It’s just, well, difficult. On top of that, masks are currently mandatory.

I have had too many customers whose interactions end up like this.

Customer: “Excuse me, can you help me find [unintelligible].”

Me: “I’m sorry, what did you ask?”

Customer: *Intelligible request and vague hand movements*

Me: “Sorry, give me one minute. I am hard of hearing…”

At this point, I move aside my hair to show the name tag if I have to.

Me: “I have a transcribe app that will help me understand what you are asking.”

However, when I get the app opened, the customer will stare at it and then roll their eyes, or scoff, and march off. I’m left standing there confused, wondering why they keep walking off. Do they think my app is recording them? I can only imagine!