What It's Like Being Deaf in 'Hearingtown'

Little Miss Pardon lived in a little house in a place called Hearingtown. Everyone could hear everything from a mouse’s sneeze to giants footsteps without any problem.

Little Miss Pardon couldn’t hear properly and found it difficult to meet people and understand them.

One day Little Miss Pardon met Mr. Quiet. “Mmmm,” said Mr. Quiet. “Sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon, “I can’t hear you, can you speak a little louder?”  “Mmmmmmm, mmmm,” he said a bit louder.  “I’m sorry, I still can’t hear you,” she replied and off she went. How rude, thought Mr. Quiet. Little Miss Pardon felt sad at not being able to hear Mr. Quiet.

The next day, Little Miss Pardon met Mr. Noisy. “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,” he said.  “I am sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon, “could you say that again a little quieter?” “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,” he said again almost as loudly. “I’m really sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon, “but I really can’t tell what you are saying,” and she went on her way. How rude, thought Mr. Noisy, I thought shouting at deaf people was helpful. How sad, Little Miss Pardon thought. I wish Mr. Noisy was not so loud; it makes the sounds funny and I can’t hear them properly. I would like to have a nice peaceful chat.

Later, she met Mr. Rush. “Blah, blah, blah,” he said as he zoomed around. “Sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon. “Please, could you stand still when you talk to me?” “Blah, blah, blah,” he said again, still rushing about. “I’m so sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon, “I have no idea what you are saying,” and she went on her way. How rude, thought Mr. Rush. How sad, thought Little Miss Pardon. I wish people could stand still when they speak to me, so I can understand them better.

The next day she met Little Miss Chatterbox.  “Blah, chat, boom, mmmmmm, mmmmm,” she said.  When Little Miss Pardon could get a word in, she said “Sorry, I can’t tell what you are saying. Would you slow down a bit?” Miss Chatterbox was already talking about something else. “Blah, blah, mmmmm,” she said.  “I’m really sorry,” said Little Miss Pardon, “I really have no idea what you are saying,” and off she went. How rude, thought Little Miss Chatterbox. How sad, thought Little Miss Pardon. I do wish people would slow down and pause so I can tell what they are saying. I would love to have a chat with Little Miss Chatterbox.

By now Little Miss Pardon was getting fed up with not being able to understand, and thought she would be better off not meeting people at all.

Then on her way home, she met Mr. Perfect. He looked at her, and in a nice clear voice said, “Good afternoon.”  “Good afternoon, Mr. Perfect,” she replied.  “What a lovely day for a chat,” continued Mr Perfect, perfectly. “It is indeed,” said Little Miss Pardon, “it’s so nice to be able to hear you and chat with you.” After a while Mr. Perfect and Little Miss Pardon said goodbye. Little Miss Pardon felt much happier.

On his way home, Mr. Perfect thought, what a lovely person to chat to. I really can’t understand why people think Little Miss Pardon is rude.

Remember next time you speak to someone who is hard of hearing: speak in a nice clear voice, not too quiet, not too loud. Stand still, be patient and look at them. You might well be their Mr. Perfect.

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Thinkstock photo by Elenabs.

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