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Professionals v Understanding & Awareness

Dear Mr Audiologist,

You saw my son for the first time yesterday during a hospital appointment to see the ENT consultant. I saw you look at my Hearing Dog for the Deaf then you glanced at me and carried on talking very fast. A quick interruption was needed to tell you I was profoundly deaf and needed you to talk slower, clearer and facing me. But that proved too hard for you as I had to rely on my mum to explain some things that I hadn't managed to lipread. Not impressed at all. Then you started doing this test, talking to my son explaining what you wanted him to do. I watched quietly thinking to myself " have you read his notes? What part of limited understanding don't you understand?" I could see my son just copying your actions, not concentrating as he didn't understand what was expected of him. I said that this kind of test wouldn't work but you wouldn't listen and kept trying and getting slightly annoyed until you said " this isn't going to work". You insists a different test is needed but it's already been done but you say it hasn't..I ask if you have even read his notes, checked computer? You checked there and then and realised I was right so you quickly told us there was nothing for you to do and told us to go to waiting room.

I really don't understand...you trained to become an audiologist so surely you should have awareness or understanding of deafness at least?! You are just like many other audiologists I have seen over the years. You all seem to think deafness means a person is just hard of hearing and should be able to communicate but in fact there are different levels and I am very profoundly deaf and as soon as you hear me speak you assume I can hear something. No matter how many times I ask you to slow down, face me when talking you ignore it and get annoyed everytime I ask you to repeat. Audiologists think they know best, that they know more about deafness because they have had the training etc but truth be told they know and understand very little. Their lack of awareness is shocking considering the profession they have chosen to work in. All audiologists should at least learn the basics of sign language, go on awareness courses to learn and understand more about "true" deafness. 

When it comes to special needs children needing tested many audiologists have very little understanding about why they will struggle with the tests, why they won't understand what to do... My son has been having hearing tests since birth and every time they cannot give us answers as apparently my son is too "complex" but yet they refuse to refer him to the main hospital and insist that he needs to "mature" a bit so keep asking us to return every 6mths, well enough was enough & finally a referral was agreed. Now my son needs an operation, one that could have been done a yr or so ago but because of his disabilities and your lack of understanding it's taken this long to get to where we are. 

You should be listening to us. We know & understand our disabilities. This is part of your job - understanding the disability and yet many of you are failing to do this and as a result there are a lot of frustrated people out there who are becoming more isolated.

Yours truly

A frustrated Mum (& deaf person ) 


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