'Do you have sex?' 'Can you read and write?' You wouldn't believe the inane questions hearing impaired people put up with.
There can sometimes be a fine line between polite interest and crass insensitivity. In the latest video from Cut.com, a group of deaf and hearing impaired people reveal the common questions that annoy and offend them the most – and there are some you wouldn't believe. Many interviewees said they have to put up with probing questions about their sex lives, with one young woman asked: “Do deaf people actually have sex? Can you date hearing guys like me?”
College student Shiana said: “I’m like, yes, I’ve done that before. What’s wrong with that? We just can’t hear. That’s all.” Many said they were most irked by insulting questions about their abilities, such as “can you drive?” and “can you read and write?” One young man said he has even been asked if he needs a wheelchair. “People ask me if I need a wheelchair, like when I’m at the airport,” he said. “I’m like, hello, I’m standing right in front of you!”
Another woman revealed she has to contend with people who want to check that she’s actually deaf. “Some people try to test me, to see if I’m really deaf – like stand behind me and yell.” House cleaner Yvette said she was often bothered by the patronising way some people communicate with her. “They say, CAN YOU READ MY LIPS” she said, imitating their exaggerated enunciation.
Another man was annoyed by questions about sign language. “I’m asked, ‘do all deaf people sign the same, like is it a universal language?’” he complained. “Do you have a spoken universal language?”
Despite having to put up with tone-deaf remarks and ignorant assumptions, most of the interviewees said that they wouldn't want to be able to hear. “I would not want to be a hearing person for the rest of my life,” one young woman said. “I want to be deaf. I love my life." (YOU HAD A CHOICE ?)
“My identity would sort of disappear,” said student Shiana.