A Simple Awareness Maybe? By Paul Leonard


Today was the day Peter (our son) had to go to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. To cut a long story very short (too late!), he isn’t talking and to get some speech therapy, he needed to have (another) hearing test. (This would now be test number 4.) Having arrived there, under slightly calmly circumstances compared to last time, I was impressed. (That’s a whole other blog post.)

You go in, take a ticket like you do it at the delicatessen and wait for your number to be called. The automated system, eventually calls out your number and tells you which kiosk to go to and so you can check in. We were both impressed, not only did the system call out your number but it also displayed on a relatively huge TV screen – BCH, 10 out of 10 for deaf awareness … but that’s where it stopped unfortunately.

We checked in and waited right next to audiology. Looking up, I saw two kids, brother and sister, I assumed. Both with hearing aids with their mother. Their names got called and in they went … but was it shown on the display? Oh no! Good job their mother could hear I thought. A short while after, it was our turn and … “Peter Leonard”. Again nothing shown on the TV! Why not?!

How hard would it be to add the patient’s name to the TV screen? It is basic! Need teaching? All you need is a computer and a monitor to project the name on … you have hundreds of computers scattered around the building being a hospital and a few TV’s positioned around the room for the “deli. counter” display. So, why don’t you make use of the technology you have and put on the next patient’s name? It’s a good job I was with Rebekah otherwise, how would she know his name had been called?!

Then, upon going through – Peter had to have his hearing test but this caused dilemma. Only one of us could go in the room with him so as not to distract him. Fair enough I guess, but the lady who greeted us couldn’t sign which meant Rebekah couldn’t go in and so I had to. (She wasn’t the “proper” audiologist, she was more of her assistant.) That’s fine but what if Peter really wanted his mummy whilst being whisked away in a tiny claustrophobic room?!

After the tests were over, Rebekah was allowed in the room for the consultation where Rebekah could come in to hear the results with the audiologist. She scored 10 points for spotting Rebekah’s hearing aids, but then promptly lost them all by saying, “can you hear what I am saying?” Why oh why can’t these people in this profession sign? Would it be that hard? Why can’t the NHS make this a prerequisite of the job? Why is there such little deaf awareness? Why why why?!

Answers on a postcard to the usual address! #RantOver!


(who often rambles here and there :-))


2 thoughts on “A Simple Awareness Maybe? By Paul Leonard

  1. I thought that was all over in 1995, shows far from moving forward in access we are still subject to total unawareness by those who should be most aware,audiologists !

  2. This was a really interesting post! I am a student speech and language therapist and I look forward to reading more of your blog! Please follow me and take a look at my blog if you get chance

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