A deaf woman shared a heartwarming encounter that she experienced in a grocery store. She says, “Many of you that know me, know I’m Deaf. You probably also know that I’m pretty resilient. With COVID-19, many places require you to wear masks. Grocery stores, doctor offices, etc.”
She adds, “I went to the grocery tonight to pick up a few things. I wore my mask. It’s a weird feeling. A feeling I’ve never experienced. The feeling of it being hard to breathe, glasses fogging up, and an overall anxiousness. At least for me.”
The woman says she depends on lip-reading even though she can hear well with her cochlear implant. But with everyone wearing masks it was hard for her to read people’s lips with a mask on. She took off her cochlear before she went to the store as the ear straps of her mask were rubbing and making an unbearable noise.
She says, “I arrive at the checkout line and someone stops me. I assume they’re talking, so I tell them I can’t hear. They realize what I mean so they grab a piece of paper and write what they’re asking. Cash or card? Gotcha. So I go to the register. Woman scans my groceries. Says something to me. Tell her I can’t hear. She gives me the wave off with her hand as if she’s telling me never mind. Well, no. Not never mind. I tell her to write and she gives me the same hand wave again. At this point, I’m frustrated. I pay for my groceries and go to my car. And the tears fall. They fall hard. I’ve faced a lot of frustration with communication while being Deaf, but never like this. In this time we’re living in, it’s hard. It is so hard.”
She has a powerful message for everyone as she says to be patient with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We are living through hard times and communicating with one another is becoming so difficult especially with the social distancing and all. She says we must never dismiss someone just like that because we cannot understand how the other person feels. We should be careful that our words and actions don’t hurt others and treat everyone with kindness.