Deaf People Treated as Ghosts

Angry Deaf Man Deaf shares an experience about shopping with a friend when the salesperson tends to look at the friend instead of him. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much overseas and his comment about not having this problem outside of the U.S. intrigued me.
It happened to Angry Deaf Man again. This time with a parking attendant.
I get scared at the thought of traveling to a foreign country because lipreading a foreign language tends to be harder. In one company, I worked with people from around the world. I looked forward to working with them and getting to know them. But then reality set in. I couldn’t understand them very well. So whenever I communicated with them, it had to be brief and about business.
I can relate to Angry Deaf Man’s experiences. I can recall many group events, team bus rides and other situations where I felt invisible. Sometimes I push and get myself involved with the discussion or group. Other times, I back away. It all depends on who I am with and how well I understand him or her.
That’s what I love about blogging. None of the barriers get in the way and I can enjoy intelligent discussions with others.

1 comment

    • BEG on February 12, 2007 at 10:54 am

    To be honest, I’ve never had a problem when travelling. Since I have trouble with communication either way, there’s nothing different about being in a foreign country ;-). Seriously, though, I find that because I have trouble understanding people at home, I have no trouble working through a lack of a common language while travelling. Hearing people seem to have this mindset if you can’t SAY something, there’s nothing to be done except perhaps yell louder and louder, but we’re more creative – pantomime, writing things down, learning the most crucial phrases, perhaps, that kind of thing.
    Lipreading a foreign language is very difficult. The problem isn’t quite so much that it’s another language (tho that’s a big part of it) but also because the same sound (say, “p”) is made differently in different languages, so you don’t even recognize it as a “p” at first. I had to learn to lipread for Spanish all over again, once I realized that was what the problem was.
    And yeah, the ease of communication on the Internet is something I’ve enjoyed ever since I first got online. And it’s what I’m enjoying about learning ASL now. Anyway, I just wanted to post this, because I think it would be a pity to miss out on travel for fear of too much communication difficulties. Honestly, it’s not a major issue, and it’s easier in many ways particularly in places like Europe where they are used to dealing with language barriers and will work with you a lot more readily than people here will.

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