Need for advocating now for hearing loss
We need to advocate for ourselves NOW.
I am an advocate for hearing loops and I just communicated with my local bank about assistive systems for people with hearing loss. The bank officer was polite and listened but was generally uninterested because THEY HAVE NOT HAD ANY COMPLAINTS. This little bank has about 10 locations and no one has complained about using the drive-up windows with the speaker systems that are very difficult to understand especially if there are other cars running and traffic going by. We talked about counter-top loop systems to use in the lobby and he said no one has ever complained about not being able to hear.
During this COVID pandemic we are experiencing more situations that make it more difficult to communicate (masks, plastic shields, speaker systems, etc). People assume their systems are OK as long as no one ever complains. Asking for some to repeat or speak louder/slower is not a complaint. It is just accepted practice. As people with hearing loss we expect to have trouble communicating so that trouble becomes common practice to us. We deal with it or around it.
Of course there is a danger that if we complain now our complaints will be dismissed as “caused by masks or plastic shields”. Those things only make a bad situation worse for us. We have to dispel the common notion that hearing aids restore everyone to normal hearing.
As I write this post I think of the explosive thread on this forum about the medical professions reluctance to accommodate people with hearing loss. The medical care people are only one group who ignores people with hearing loss. But the disregard of people with hearing loss is universal.
Maybe we are the ones at fault.