by Tina Blue
January 2, 2006
I am convinced that a lot of what hearing people do to make conversation difficult for us is a matter of laziness, self-centeredness, and rudeness. When I was a girl, most of the sort of speaking behaviors people engage in today would have been considered impolite, and if anyone tried to speak that way with an elder or with someone in a superior position, that person would have been firmly corrected and perhaps even punished.
No teacher, for example, would have tolerated a student who didn't face her directly and speak clearly. Ducking one's head, turning aside, or covering one's mouth while speaking would have seemed shockingly rude, as would speaking while eating, drinking, or chewing gum. Think about the very limited accommodations most of us ask for:
1. Get my attention before starting to speak to me.
2. Face me.
3. Speak clearly and don't mumble or rush your words.
4. Don't duck your head or turn aside.
5. Don't cover your mouth while speaking.
6. Don't eat, drink, or chew gum while speaking to me.
7. Don't walk away or into another room while speaking.
8. Don't try to talk to me through a closed door.
Now, how are these "accommodations" any different from simple politeness, regardless of whether you are speaking to a hearing person or one with a hearing impairment?