by Tina Blue
June 22, 2006
I have always managed pretty well on the phone despite my significant hearing loss, as I explain in "Why Cell Phones Are So Hard on the Hearing-Impaired."
There have been difficulties, of course.
Some people mumble on the phone. Some people mumble in person, too, but most of them move their lips, so I can figure out at least some of what they say when speaking to them in person. But on the phone, nobody knows you have lips. Or is it, on the phone nobody can hear you mumble?
Whatever. The point is that I can't read lips over the phone, so mumblers might as well be speaking Klingon for all I can understand.
Lately, though, my hearing has begun to deteriorate again (see
"Going Deafer"), and I am having more trouble hearing more people on the phone than ever before.
So I finally contacted TAP, the Kansas agency that provides assistive technology for people with significant hearing loss. I requested an amplified speech cordless phone. My hearing loss is progressive, so I know that someday I will have to go to more hard-core assistive technology, but for now all I think I need is a bit of amplification.
It takes about two weeks for such a request to be processed. This is the second week, so I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new phone. That's why my heart sank when I saw the notice from UPS stuck to my door.
They had attempted to make the delivery on Tuesday, but no one was home (or so they assumed), so the note indicated they would attempt delivery again between 2:00 and 5:00 on Wednesday afternoon.
I leave the apartment at 3:45 on Wednesday afternoons to get to my 4:00 tutoring session across town. A Wednesday delivery would tie me down so that I would have to reschedule my tutoring session.
The most frustrating part, though, is that I was at home when they tried to deliver the phone on Tuesday. I was in the next room working at the computer. The "next room" is so close to the front door that when I am working there I am practically sitting on my porch!
But of course I never heard the knock at the door. I never hear any knock at the door. All I can hear is if someone subjects the door to a vigorous pounding, and even then I feel it more than I hear it.
For some reason this SNAFU tickled me even as it frustrated me. I missed the delivery of my amplified telephone for the hearing impaired because I was too deaf to hear the delivery man knock at my door to give it to me.
The same thing was going to happen again if I didn't take steps to prevent it, so on Wednesday, I put a note up on my door asking the delivery man to pound loudly because I am hearing impaired. I also left the door open, so the UPS man could see through the screen door to know I was there even if I didn't hear him. But I was still pretty sure I wouldn't know if he came to the door, so I hung around in the front room all afternoon, getting very little done, just so I wouldn't miss the delivery of my eagerly awaited, long-desired amplified phone.
Of course the delivery came just a couple of minutes before 5:00. Isn't that always the way it goes? A three-hour window, so I have to hang around the door all afternoon, but the delivery still slides in just under the deadline.
So now I have my amplified phone. I am so excited.
I will be even more excited when I find someone to hook it up for me.
Did I mention that I am a technophobe? I have no clue about how to hook up my phone. I have never hooked up any of my phones by myself.
Hmmmmm. I wonder if Kansas has a special agency to provide assistive technology for the technologically handicapped--you know, something with arms, legs, and a brain, that can hook up an amplified telephone for me.