TEMPE, AZ — Even in her own home, Donna Taylor expected to be left out of the conversation.
Tempe woman aged 84 who is deaf, agreed to communicate via pen and pad with ABC15 as it is the norm in the hearing community.
ABC15’s She said that her pen and paper are always at hand. Because I write back and forth a lot. Logging in can sometimes be confusing for people. Sometimes people don’t understand how to log in.
ABC15 instead came up with American Sign Language interpreters to communicate its language. This is an essential requirement for people with hearing loss, and is often seen as a luxury by those who can hear.
Taylor acknowledged that she has been able to communicate better with hearing people over the course of her life. However, it is far from perfect.
A frequent problem is the lack of ASL interpreters for doctor’s appointments.
Taylor explained that every now and again a nurse would come out and tell Taylor, “We don’t need an interpreter today.” “It would have been a waste of time if I had traveled there. I need to make another appointment.
She explained that communication can be hard in less formal settings.
“Even though you might try to tell them you are struggling, they will just continue with what is comfortable for them. Sometimes it’s best to walk away. Taylor said that while it may not be the best option, it is most often the most difficult.
Communication with masks has been made more difficult by the coronavirus epidemic. Some people who are hard of hearing or deaf may attempt to lip-read to understand the meaning of what is being said.
“I need to get it down. Talking is difficult because you don’t know how to understand each other. The mask is then pulled off so that you can see each others lips. Taylor stated that it is not an easy task.
According to the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AZCODH), more than 1.1 Million Arizonans are hard of hearing or deaf.
“We are an invisible community,” said Sherri Collins, executive director of ACDHH. “Until you meet us, you won’t be able to tell if we are hard of hearing or deaf until then.”
Collins, who is profoundly deaf herself, has been the chairman of the committee for many years. She stated that its mission was to improve communication accessibility.
“We’re always educating the public about our community and offering our expertise. Being a partner, being part the solution,” she stated.