Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Monday, May 19, 2003
Well, I've been officially diagnosed as "hearing impaired". (actually, that's not technically true - but they didn't tell me I was deaf, and I'm not, so I think hearing impaired is appropriate. I need to wear hearing aids (one for each ear). My hearing is pretty much messed up in the upper-mid frequencies (threshold of 50-60db, where 20 is normal). Luckily I can get my aids absolutely free through some charity, because I'm working full time. (I don't quite understand the logic of that - you'd think that full-time workers wouldn't need help. I have a feeling that it's part of some programme to help the 'disabled' into jobs. Funny. I don't feel 'disabled' but I guess I am.

Reaction has varied from: 'ah, I wondered why I kept having to repeat myself and you never heard me' to 'pardon?' (ha ha)

More interesting was the reaction from a woman at an organisation for the deaf, who sent me an email (at work) and apologised for not using the phone - I wrote back saying that I preferred email too, due to not hearing so well...she wrote that it was great that [my employer] were employing me (implying 'with a disability'). As I said, I don't feel 'disabled'.

What I guess I'm expecting is that people will change the way they perceive me when they see the hearing aids - Mary has told me she already experiences similar things when people see her stick. The assumption that she's incapable. I guess I fear being thought stupid, being patronised.


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