‘Common Sense’ by Andrew Arthur

This blog entry, ‘Dear Deaf People With The Wrong Facts.’ is an interesting read, because it does give the other side of the picture. When I was at university they were big time on taking the “balanced view”. This often means looking at the other person’s point of view. In my opinion the Deaf part of our community are just not doing this. They are only interested in their point of view and nobody else’s.

This is particularly obvious in the replies at the bottom where we see people desperately trying to make the case for ASL and quoting what they see as facts in order to disprove the “Oral” argument. But you can see clearly that they are not presenting facts at all they are just coming up with anecdotal evidence, that is to say stories that “prove” the point. They tell us that as life long sign users they lead a full and productive life and are happy as they are. This is in fact the worst kind of evidence.

The reason for this is that quoting just one case or recounting a story of just one success does not prove that the whole argument is wrong. It’s very important to realise that. This is what we are taught to rely on at university and people who have not had that type of education, one might even say indoctrination tend to find it hard to accept reasoned discussion.

The *facts* are that overall Deaf people tend to have second class lives. They overall lack job security, career advancement, financial security. Yes, fine there are exceptions. I’m sure there are Deaf millionaires who have forged out a great career and all the trimmings. But far more common are people who live in low grade housing, rely on benefits, only circulate in the Deaf world and are generally deprived.

We know this because numerous surveys of the Deaf world over a period of years show that people experience all these things. That is why the *few* such as Nyle Di Marco are so celebrated. The underlying message is “You too can be like this” and actually the _evidence_ is “No you can’t”. So really these people who bang on about how great it is to be Deaf are only talking about their *own* situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we can all be like that.

But if you read those replies, a lot of them become personal. They are like “how dare you offend me with this heresy”. It’s almost like someone has insulted their religion and we all know where that leads. It just isn’t helpful.
But also as I have said before, America is not Britain. In the US there are a huge number of Deaf people and many are able to live in signing communities and work as Deaf people. In this country the opportunities to do that are limited.

So there is a danger in emulating the American experience too closely. In this country if you want to live a Deaf life you have to be prepared to travel long distances to organised events but in the US there are enough people in one area to make it possible to have local events.
Americans do travel much more than we do but the whole country is geared up to it. One of my friends travelled up to London yesterday to see her daughter’s new baby. A mere (by US standards) 250 mile trip. In the US they chuck a few necessities in the car and do the journey in an afternoon. However I had a text from my friend to say how exhausted she was from the journey, which she did by train!

Having said that, people here can and do live in deaf communities, I know for a fact that Bristol has a thriving community whereas Cornwall does not. In fact the deaf club in Bristol is negotiating to buy their own building. In Cornwall there is only one club, it is miles away from the rest of the county (Camborne) and I am told that actually the hearing helpers outnumber the deaf members!

So we’ve got to be sensible about this. There is this attitude of “Our gang, your gang” … ours is better than yours. But come on! We are talking about people’s lives, not rival football teams! I’d like to think that the Tree House can help people to look beyond the partisan attitudes just as the anonymous writer has done in that blog. I’d like us to be able to say “Of course it’s OK to be a signer. Of course it’s OK to be a lipreader, Of course it’s OK to use whatever hearing you have”.

To quote a certain Dodgy Dave… “We’re all in this together” …. but not quite in the way he meant, I think!


A funny thing happened on the way to ENT….

A compilation of humorous moments – just to make you, the readers smile and laugh – after all, it is free and does wonders. I very much hope that you too will enjoy reading this and be laughing with us. For those who smile and laugh, it will be “mission accomplished” 🙂

Conche ear trumpet

An antique hearing aid made using conch shell.

One day while they were shopping in a stationary / gift shop, Steven’s daughter, Georgia,  asked him “Dad, does this mean you now have a magnet in your head?” (who recently had a cochlear implant operation) She then proceeded (without him looking) to whack a fridge magnet on the side of his head!

This instance reminds us of this photo which a member captioned his thirty grand fridge magnet. 

Gillian explains while it’s not really funny but, the first thing that comes to her mind is many years ago when her two year old toddling son, toddled round her bed one morning, picked up her hearing aid off her bedside table and innocently plopped it into her cup of tea. Which taught her to always put her hearing aid away out of sight whenever she was not wearing it!

“Damn auto correct” has often been the bane of humorous moments yet there is a balance which is mishearing, for example as Gareth explains. He once drove his wife and her 22 year old daughter, past a supermarket development. They were discussing the golden crested newt which was delaying the development. He exclaimed, “What do you mean by, golden prostitute?!”


Sara would very much like her tinnitus to turn itself off at the button of a remote control… It seems to have its own mind. Though, for some it must be better than hearing voices inside one’s head? Perhaps. She was one day sitting at a pc when she heard a voice thus startling her. She got up and looked around her home but there was no one else home so she went back onto the pc, perplexed. Until, she heard the voice – again?! This was starting to make her feel rather spooked – she just had to check her home once again. For her peace of mind….. Still, no one else was to be seen…. But, soon the voice came back?! “It’s three o’clock”

“Damn you talking clock!” She exclaimed at the pc for spooking her like that. Someone had installed it and she did not know it.

Once, Robin suddenly heard unusually loud explosions and shooting?! He thought a fecking war had broken out right outside his front door!

Can you just imagine?? Sara wandering around the house thinking she is going nuts, hearing voices and Robin is ducking and diving for cover! Well, he actually rushed out of his seat, looking out the window, eyes wide with confusion! It was actually a preview trailer for some action movie which had started playing away by itself on the other tab of his internet browser.


Gillian also remembers once when she was in a hairdressers and whilst sitting there having her hair cut, she noticed in the mirror that there was a sudden buzz of activity as two or three of the girls were hovering around her chair looking rather worried and checking all the electrical appliances. This went on for a few minutes until her hairdresser informed her that there was a funny noise originating from her handbag….. Bet you can’t guess what it was?!

She had taken her hearing aid off before having her hair washed and put it in her handbag. She had forgotten to switch it off or didn’t switch it off properly! That horrible whistling noise had them all really worried though.

One reader said that when he previously relied on hearing aids, he could not really hear very much let alone with them. Any high pitched sounds were non-existent to him. Occasionally he would have hearing people tell him that the alarm on his watch was going off. It would set itself accidentally and then go off at some random time. He does not know how often this used to happen but he thinks it might account for some of the odd looks he has had in the past. It happened so often with one watch that he even took the back off and removed the beeper.


Sara recalls being in Holland, enjoying the retail therapy atmosphere there but kept noticing people were looking at her. She could not work out why. Until someone, kindly let her know “Your phone is ringing” That was not the only time either.

Another instance was after walking into a petrol station, the assistant there curiously said “There is music coming from around you”… She looked at them in wonder and kindly smiled. They insisted that music was playing. “Music to his ears perhaps!” she thought… Was it dope?? Not while at work she hoped. She subsequently realised that her mobile phone had instinctively somehow started to play music, all by itself.

Lizzie relatively remembered that she had been listening to some music on her iPhone with a loop one afternoon. She then popped into a shop to buy some lunch. She unplugged the loop but kept getting smiley looks from people and thought “Wow, everyone’s so nice in here!” It was only when she went outside that she eventually checked her phone and it was playing Michael Jackson – very LOUDLY!


After Kirsty moved into her new house, two weeks later the neighbour bravely said “Your fire alarm is going off”. “OH goodness, thank you for telling me – how long has it been going off for?”…. “Ermmmm” he looked down, “twooooo weeks”


Kirsty checked her phone one day at 11am, there was a text which she had received at 10.30am. “I’m locked in the utility room” it said. Oops once again?! So off she finally went to rescue the ol’hubster. Their son had locked him in! And it wasn’t an isolated event either. Unfortunately for him, Kirsty doesn’t carry her phone everywhere though it was rather peaceful when the ol’ hubster was locked up she added.

There is always a balance, mistyping, mishearing so naturally there is also (lip) misreading. For example, a while ago Paul was telling his wife, Rebekah, that they needed a new fridge freezer … “What do we need a new Freddy Freak for?!”… “Who (or what) is a Freddy Freak?!”

Another occasion is when Sara’s mother decided to pay the hairdressers her usual visit. “I would like to make an appointment please” she politely asked. “We can make you an appointment with E.T”. Mum was rather perplexed and exclaimed to herself “E.T?!”… But instead she asked “Pardon?” “We can make you an appointment with E.T” Mother was inclined to retreat. The receptionist then proceeded to show her the bookings book and pointed at…. “Katy” Mother thought to herself “Vee!” The receptionist’s broad northern accent had played a massive influence on her lip speaking patterns.

She also once told Sara how it went at the bank. Upon arriving at the counter, she informed them that she was deaf. The lady said “Oh, I’ll put the loop on for you!” Her mum responded with “But I don’t wear hearing aids?”… Lady says “That’s ok, I’ll put the loop on for you” :-/ Bless her cotton socks for trying to help. 🙂

Lol with a touch of facepalm.

One day, as a young girl Jane was walking besides her mother who was also deaf, signing away. Her sister and grandmother who were both hearing were chatting away and smiling mischievously, walking away from Jane and her mother in the subway. To gain some distance. She noticed their body language and her intuition told her to walk a bit slower. Another passer-by over took them. Jane looked straight ahead and could no longer see her sister or grandmother but she was with her mother so she was not too concerned. When suddenly, this passer-by got walloped over the head by her sister! Who was hiding just around the corner, waiting eagerly to pounce. She had been carrying a roll of cardboard paper and planned to hit Jane over the head with it but fate called her bluff and a poor guy got the shock instead! Jane says she will never forget the shock on her sister’s face and the passer by who was clearly taken aback. Jane’s grandmother, bless her, was trying rather hard not to laugh as she apologised on her granddaughter’s behalf who must have been only 7 years old at the time.

One’s favourite memory has to be when they saw a strange person running up and down outside their home, doing star jumps, waving around. They tried to ignore them as they had only lived at their new residence for a couple of months. A few minutes later, they tried to see if this character was still around… He was albeit in his pyjamas?! They looked around the home for their husband to inform him there was potentially a madman in their vicinity but he could not be found – anywhere. They opened the front door hesitantly and peeped around the corner as cautiously as they could. A bonny smile broke out as soon as they realised this “madman” was their husband, running up and down, star jumping, waving, banging on the windows all trying to get his wife’s attention. What on earth would the neighbours be thinking?! He had locked himself out and his wife had not yet put on her hearing aids. Silence is golden? 😉


If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy “Happiness is the best medicine.”

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Thank YOU. 🙂

 ~ SJ (Sara Jae)