The BBC License Fee.

That same old drum is being banged upon once more.

Deaf people always seem to resent having to pay the full license fee to the BBC, just because the blind get a concession and they do not. In the old days, I might have agreed as there was evidently a real lack of captions and hardly any in-vision signers. Nowadays, the accessibility is there. And then some.

My father went through the very same motions a few years back, which my experience with, has prompted this post.

Petition

Any petition, past, present or to come, to reduce the BBC licensing fee on grounds of being deaf (regardless of how severe it is) and that programmes are inaccessible will fail. Without a doubt.

It does not matter if you do not watch the BBC even if it’s out of protest. If you watch or listen to any of the other channels or even access them online over devices, this is prescisley what the fee covers. That space. The fee is basically a tax, so you can watch or access any channels over the air space that is owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Better known as, the BBC.

It is extremely hard, to keep deaf people happy, especially if they love anything that’s free.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Deaf Way.

There are particular people out there who anticipate a post from me each time an issue arises in the mainstream news or on social media concerning the deaf. This one is especially for you. Mwah.

There will always be people who will never be satisfied, regardless of who or what they happen to be yet others overjoyed with a simple balloon. There will always be people who think they are above others whilst others remain humble. There will always be people who are striving for change, some for better yet some, for attention. There will always be people who think of only themselves whilst others choose to be selfless. There will always be those who suffer from paranoia and others will not give a shit…. There will always….. There will always… There will always…

There will always be a balance.

Someone once upon a time caused an outrage when they decided that Justin Fletcher of CBeebies’ ‘Sometthing Special’ was signing “Fuck” when he was actually signing “Happy”. As a native BSL sign language user, the signs for “Fuck’ and ‘Happy’ are not even that close and it was clear as day, then and now, that he was and is signing “Happy”. The “Happy” sign has since sadly, evolved within Makaton as a result of someone’s bitter ‘misconceptions’. Makaton is derived from Britain Sign Language, both of which are man-made and is still a beautiful language regardless, a form of communication (tool) for those who rely on it. Respect it.

Whilst Sally Reynolds has decided to take Little Mix’s promoter to Court, many other deaf people do not and will not have the same level of access to legal services as she is able to. She is not the first to spit her dummy nor will she be the last. It is apparently, the deaf way.

One might say deaf people are in receipt of benefits to help pay for interpreters or in other words, access, where and when needed – IF any cannot be provided. There are events which will provide equality in the form of accessible inclusion as and when available, even when (politely) asked. If you consciously choose an event outside of any accessible given dates, why would you knowingly attend, enjoy it to an extent and then sue?

I hope people will feel encouraged in the meantime to patiently request, for their needs to be met regardless of what their needs and abilities may be. To continue having their right to choose. Just, do not take the piss by pushing your luck.

How you go about making a stand automatically reflects upon your community, for example, the deaf community as a whole. Not every deaf, deafened or hard of hearing member of the community can use or know BSL. Most do and will be able to use subtitles on TV and at the cinema so are able to make use of Captions at events where and when made available. Sign language interpreters be it in-vision or live is considered to be an added bonus, especially for the minority within the minority – who cannot get by in their everyday lives without sign language. My father is one of them and yet, he was born hearing.

While all our spots may never change, physically our bodies will. Let us all stop taking life for granted and help us, to help you, make a change. For a better and more inclusive place? God knows generations before us have tried, today’s are tying, should tomorrow’s continue our battles too? Until then, history will keep on repeating itself, deaf, (dis)abled or hearing.

This is one broken record.

D4E6D511-9ABB-4775-9B3B-2CF4B1769F47

The ball is in, YOUR court.

Last but not least, I am choosing not to focus on the deaf world anymore because it is at a cost to me to keep on being passionate about deaf issues, of which keeps falling on deaf(ened) ears. Literally even. I have gone above and beyond in several instances only to be accused of seeking recognition by those whose noses were put out of joint. All because, I choose to tell things as they truthfully are. Accusing me, was and is, a sign of your/their weakness(es). I have now, much more important beings to focus on, I will however, continue to post as and when I wish to do so.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

How To Avoid Cold Callers / Spam Text Messages

People are not aware of how to avoid cold callers or unwanted text messages officially so they are falling for one man’s business “Truecall” which owns “Truecall38″…

coldcallers

Please, use the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) instead? It’s OFFICIALFREE.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service. It is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.

The original legislation was introduced in May 1999. It has subsequently been updated and now the relevant legislation is the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

They stand to gain nothing in return.

One can also report spam / junk text messages to… https://ico.org.uk/concerns/marketing/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls/

Rant over 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Available But Not Available.

This afternoon I had to take my daughter to her first physiotherapy appointment, I roughly knew where to go as my son had once been several times before for a completely different reason.

I found the relevant but communal reception. At the counter, there was sufficient space for two more receptionists but there was only one and in front of her was this notice, “Children’s hearing services only”… The counter besides her had a notice which stated, “All Services, please call using the phone provided”

hearingvsphone

Eh?! My first thought was. There was a receptionist there but ONLY for the hearing department. This was both useful for those who needed assistance with their hearing screening / tests appointments but otherwise useless for parents, like myself who happen to be deaf with children who required another department.

She was available but not available…

I found myself in a conflicting and contradicting situation. I showed her a letter, for my daughter’s appointment. She pointed to the phone and answered “You have to phone”. I took little comfort in letting her know that I was deaf and I could not use the phone. She spied my husband and knew he would be able to call instead.

What would have happened then, if I was on my own, with my daughter? Would she have been willing to go above and beyond her role as the sole receptionist?

We just might find out in due course 😉

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Right To Decide by Catherine Vest

A vlog about one’s very personal experiences was shared publically, this relatively hit home.

Vlog: https://www.facebook.com/cmcastil/posts/10102003581703274?__mref=message

Transcription:

“This is in regards to ‪#‎whyisign‬— I am one of those unfortunate individuals who was forced to learn ASL purely for survival. I was not linguistically deprived and was happy with my current method, which was Signed Exact English (SEE), until I was placed in a deaf school. The transition at the deaf school was brutal and I was bullied horribly because I signed differently. It is akin to bullying someone else who spoke differently, like talking with a stutter, lisp or some kind of speech impediment.

While many of you consider that it is a human right to have access to our language, I doubt many of you did stop to consider the possibility that bullying or tormenting someone else who happen to have different signing skills— that you may have denied our right to decide whether SEE or ASL would be best suited to our needs.

You took away my right to decide if I wanted to learn ASL and took away something that I grew up with and served me very well in many areas of my life.

You do not get to decide how my signing should look like- just like with our unique ways of communicating. This is how my sign looks like and you do not get to tell me that it sucks or that it does not fit in your ideal vision of how sign language should look like.”

Meanwhile… I would like to applaud Catherine Vest, for her courage in speaking out – in many senses.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

I Am Tired Of…

Here I compile some of the frustrations the deaf community feels, sometimes on a daily basis. With injections of humour here and there 🙂

I am tired of seeing a phone number on parking ticket machines because I cannot use the phone to pay.

I am tired of talking lifts. Just wish they would shut up! Never mind the telephone in the lift with the number to ring in case of a breakdown or emergency! Duh!

I am tired of being treated like an idiot by hearing people.

I am tired of “I’ll tell you later” but it never materialises!

I am tired of intercoms.

I am tired of being judged.

Judge not lest ye be judged.
Judge not lest ye be judged.

I am tired of the constant tinnitus in a whole world of its own.

I am tired of being patronised.

I am tired of people having a go as bullies.

I am tired of being the odd one out! (to which SJ responded “We can all be odd together!”)

I am tired of hearing the words “It doesn’t matter!” Of course it matters.

I am tired of having to stand up for justice.

I am tired of Mondays!

I am tired of people being all talk and no action.

I am tired of not being taken seriously.

I am tired of thinking people are talking to themselves (bonkers) when they are actually on hands free mobile!

bonkers

I am tired of waiting for Channel 4 on demand getting their act together and providing subtitles for iPad!

I am tired of people manipulating others for their own gains.

I am tired of people saying “You are not missing anything!”

I am tired of being left out.

I am tired of a particular job requirement “Must be able to use the phone.”

I am tired of people moaning and being so negative.

I am tired of being a second class citizen.

I am tired of seeing other (deaf) people telling others what to do.

I am tired of background music when actors are talking.

Cue background music: Doooooe – a deer a female deer, Raaaaay, a drop of golden suuuuun, Meeeeee – a name I call myseelf, Faaaaaar – a long long way to ruuuuuun, Seeeeew – a needle puling threeeeeeead, Laaaaaaaaa – a note to follow soooooo, Teeeeeeea – a drink with Jam and breeeeead!

And that’ll bring us back to doe oh oh oh! Hence forth comes the musical tinnitus.

I am tired of not being able to understand what any train or plane announcements are saying – whether to panic yet or not!

keep-calm-and-eat-chocolate-1004
The answer to everything!

I am tired of people’s attitudes – always complaining – they need to consider how lucky they are to live in the UK with a decent life….

I am tired of always being the last to understand or be informed. Tut tut.

I am tired of seeing online forms asking for a telephone number but no space to put the full type-talk number in so I have to remove 18002 from my number then I get hearing people phoning!!!!!

I am tired of not being able to go to the movies anytime I wish.

I am tired of the radio whenever they broadcast shows concerning deafness or deaf people.

I am not tired of kicking ass!

I am tired of always having to strain my eyes more to concentrate on lip reading.

I am tired of feeling belittled.

I am tired of segregation, exclusion and discrimination.

I am tired of people asking to speak to me on the phone when they have been told I cannot hear on the phone but still, they insist to speak to me on the phone?!

No need to shout!
No need to shout!

I am tired of seeing how quickly people are so willing to follow the flock.

I am tired of people thinking they can pass on skills from someone who has just “attended” a (deaf awareness/sign language) course – it just does not work like that….

I am tired of finding out things in the office then being told they’ve all known for ages and as usual I am the last to know!

am tired of the lack of inclusion and inaccessibility in today’s day and age.

I am tired of my mobile fire text alert (testing every week) going off at least half an hour before the real fire test goes off.

I am tired of being abused by egocentric manic d/Deaf ( & hearing) people.

I am tired of being told to “Get on with it” when that is what we have been doing everyday?!

I am tired of not being able to switch off at night time!! (as a hearing dweller commented because the deaf are lucky in being able to turn off our hearing aids – ahhh silence is golden! Oh yes just rubbing it in….)

I am tired of the bloody answerphone and not understanding a word said….

I am tired full stop lol – 24/7 campaigning is a hard slog.

I am tired of deaf politics and political correctness gone mad and madder and even madder!

I am tired of having to stay strong for so long.

I am tired of all the injustice in this world – stop the planet, I want to get off! (ah you don’t – you’d miss all the fun!” as another dweller tried to persuade SJ)

Wait for me!!
Wait for meee!

Thank you to all who contributed – very much appreciated x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

How Would You Like To Be Called?

I had been anticipating my ENT appointment for months now and finally this day had arrived. But, what a day?!

To begin with, I had been a regular patient at my local audiology department but when we last phoned for another appointment – I was notified I had to be referred back to audiology by visiting my GP, to ask to be referred to ENT who would then put me back through to audiology. What a palaver but if I needed new ear moulds and hearing aids then so be it. I persevered.

Going through the broad spectrum of emotions and thoughts, as I decided I needed to be there at least twenty minutes early to claim a prime position, in the waiting room – close enough to scan lip movements for any names being called out. I had clarified with the receptionist if they would be calling out names, she confirmed this and that she would let them know I was hard of hearing. I explained that I was deaf to reinforce just how profound my hearing loss is. “Oh ok, same thing” she replied. I had to remain calm and took my seat albeit feeling rather surprised.

“Mumble Mumble” started off the processing by the nurses and trainee doctors. Feelings of dread were not appeased nor swayed when I noticed this LED display board to one side welcoming patients;

“Welcome to ENT you will be called through to see a member of the ENT team”

IMG_0966

My GP’s surgery has the same sort of contraption except they use it to announce patients’ names on it, for a certain designated room to be seen by Dr X or Y. So relatively I wondered why the ENT and Audiology departments despite being specialists, could not implement the same quality of service to be inclusive of all. Digital technology in this day and age has advanced greatly but not in our NHS hospitals it seems. This needs to change for the better, for their sake and ours. After all, they did ask how patients wanted to be called.

How would you like to be called?
How would you like to be called? On the screen in ENT.

A Tree House dweller informed us that he once had a placard with his name on it whilst waiting for his appointment, much to the other patients’ amusement at the time. Unfortunately that is how appalling services can get and this is what he felt he had resort to in order to be seen.

I was now sensing the other patients in the ENT waiting room were becoming restless, demanding to know when they would be next seen and this poor nurse was trying to appease them. By this time I had managed to pull myself together from feeling quite annoyed at being passed to audiology and then back again to ENT not knowing why or if I would be seen, if at all. If they were getting angry at being delayed by mere minutes, I thought to myself how should I be feeling only to be made to wait potentially a few months extra for my new ear moulds and hearing aids after waiting months already, especially in such an environment?! I decided I was not going to let them feed me any negativity and found some inner peace to remain patient.

Patience is a virtue.
Patience is a virtue.

From not the usual place names were being called out (the doors in the photo above) but further to the side – I just about saw my name, whilst glancing, being clearly spoken. My turn – Glee and amazement at catching that! I had the consultant this time around who was particularly interested in my family’s history of deafness – why they were deaf, how and if my children were “ok”. He then enquired how my hearing aids were. I mentioned I had had them for about ten years now and the last time audiology tried to provide me with a new pair they did not suit me so handed them back hence why I was now eager to try again as my current ones were starting to become slightly temperamental. I am also scared of being left stranded with nothing to hear with. He explained to me that any new pair of hearing aids is most likely not going to suit me based on my audiogram so he is ordering a head scan to find the biological cause of my deafness since my mother was born deaf – cause also unknown and my father became deaf through meningitis. He was especially interested in my mother’s deafness and if she could talk well. “Yes” I replied, “Just like I can”. The consultant then expressed. “I would like to put you down for a cochlear implant if the new hearing aids do not work for you”. Instantly emerged a brand new, never experienced before emotion and it is one I cannot find the words to describe.

As my consultant returned me to the audiology’s waiting room and found me a seat; I thanked him for his time. Suddenly I found myself dismayed, wondering why I was once again back in Audiology! Recurring feelings along the lines of, “Do they know I’m here / am I in their queue?” I scanned once again for any names being called out. Whilst scanning one caller, I had not noticed another came out to call but noticed she had gone into reception to make a query about this piece of paper in her hand. She came back out and said… My name – Glee once again! Phew, that was a close call I determined– I had missed that first time around because I only have one pair of eyes.

Ear moulds casts were made and she too concurred that the new hearing aids might not work very well for me due to the “different new sounds” they would make. But as anticipated I was going to have to wait at least two months more for another appointment to get and try out these new hearing aids. If only they had seen me when we first called as I was already a patient then, I would not have had to wait so many months more. She understood my frustration and said she would try to get something earlier.

A cochlear implant? Me?! I must admit though being an honest person, if I hadn’t written this article regarding cochlear implants I most probably would not have been as open to the idea. One thing I do know at this point in time is that I am not looking forwards to the realisation of being left with less than adequate hearing from prospective replacement hearing aids – my current ones have lasted me for so long and they will not always continue to serve me well. Remaining positive though that the new pair will work just the same or better and if not, perhaps the next steps are meant to be. I would very much prefer to have the same quality of sounds or better – not less. Just as you would expect a replacement PC of the same specifications or upgrade to better specs.

Does this mark the beginning of what could be the next stages in my journey? Only time will tell and more patience once again. Upon reflection, I realised that by asking patients to be referred through all over again it was giving the consultants a chance to catch those that may have filtered through first time around and a chance to produce a more updated yet better care?

Going back to the title of this article, “How would YOU like to be called?” Be the change you wish to see so start that ripple effect by being courageous and letting your GP’s surgeries, Audiology and especially the ENT departments know, just how THEY can be more inclusive and improve their services.

Carpe diem!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)