That’s according to the UK charity Scope, which aims to reduce the stigmas around disability.
The numbers are shocking, but even I myself have had many moments in my life when I experienced people feeling awkward around me because of my hearing loss.
For example, when I struggle to hear someone I often say, “Sorry, I’m deaf, could you repeat that?” But instead of repeating their phrase again, more clearly, some people automatically panic and go into silent mode!
This I experienced recently, when I was refueling my car at the petrol station. The guy behind the counter was saying something about my car and I couldn’t quite make out what he said, so I told him I was deaf. He went pale and didn’t say anything else! I just walked out of the shop thinking, “um, okay…”
I think people assume that because someone says they’re ‘deaf’ or ‘hard of hearing,’ they can’t hear at all and things aren’t worth repeating. This is not the case! Deaf people want to communicate, be involved and as independent as hearing people.
That’s why I love Scope’s recent TV advert campaign called ‘End the Awkward’ campaign.
Although the video exaggerates interactions with disabled people, it’s funny, educating and relatable to anyone with a “disability.”
The aim of the video is to raise awareness about how people tend to act around people with disabilities and to change the attitudes and reactions when meeting disabled people.
According to their message, most people ‘hide’ and avoid interacting with disabled people, but Scope is encouraging people to ‘H.I.D.E’ instead…
H: Say “Hi”
I: Introduce yourself
D: Don’t panic
E: End the Awkward
I wanted to share this campaign with you to help spread the word and ‘End the Awkward’ – for those of us with hearing loss, or any other “disability.”
Have you experienced people feeling awkward around you when you share with them that you have hearing loss? I’d love to read about your experiences and how you were able to encourage more positive reactions with them! Let me know in the comments!