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There’s Only One Person Not Understanding Here And It’s Not The Deaf One

, , , , , | Right | August 5, 2021

I get a new job at this grocery store. I am hearing impaired and wear hearing aids. Nonetheless, the hiring manager is kind and patient with me and my hearing loss, and he makes it his duty to introduce me to one of my supervisors. I have an app that transcribes on my phone to help communicate with customers.

Customer: “Excuse me, can you help me? I’m—” *Unintelligible rapid talking*

Me: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

The customer continues to talk rapidly. I have a bright yellow tag on my apron — a stark contrast to my blue apron — that reads in big, bold, letters, “Hearing Impaired.” Most people by now would’ve read this and it would’ve given me the chance to offer another way to hear them. This lady does not, and instead continues her long, almost rant-like request. When she’s done, I smile, and say:

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, but I’m hard of hearing. I do have a transcribe app on my phone.” *Pulling it out* “Sorry, one second. All right! What were you saying?”

I hold the phone out to her. The customer grabs the phone, looks at it, and then starts speaking into it. Before she realizes it’s transcribing her words, she starts swinging her arm around, the one holding my phone.

My smile fades slightly as I’m worried she will drop it and annoyed she isn’t speaking into it, but I do not take my phone back nor interrupt her. When she finally stops, I smile at her and wait. She stares at me. I realize she just… took my phone and had no intention of giving it back without prompting.

Me: “Ma’am, can I get my phone back?”

I take the phone back quickly.

Me: “Unfortunately, I cannot hear you, but if you give me a second, I’ll find a supervisor to help you.”

I ran off to find a supervisor and he handled her when he heard what happened. I still have no idea what the heck that lady thought I was holding out my phone for, especially since I clearly stated it was a transcribe app!

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