Owning up to your fears, especially fears in your business, never feels pretty. So here’s mine: I’m terrified of spontaneous phone calls for one reason .. what if I can’t hear you well? For me this is a legitimate fear:
I am hard of hearing.
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been told I’m rude, arrogant and rude again because I cannot hear something. Mostly to my face, from people asking me a question in person when they’ve approached me from behind and I’ve just not been aware they were there. If they’ve said it while I’ve been turned away then my ignorance is bliss because I didn’t hear it.
But this post is about phone calls.
I have been called rude for not answering phone calls .. often because I don’t always hear them, even with the ringer on max. Another scenario that still happens is: where I cannot hear a thing the other person is trying to say and I have to apologise, say that I truly can’t hear them, provide my email as a way to contact me and then hope they email me. The agony that causes me and the stress of knowing I’m being judged on weakness and disability I cannot help. It hurts, especially when it’s an out of the blue call from people I’ve not had the chance to say I’m deaf to or know who the heck is calling me?!
As a sideline this happens mostly with companies I pay for services, Three Mobile being the worst offender. I’m flagged in their system as a deaf user do not call for marketing / advertising or to check I’m happy customer .. I’m not a happy customer if you’re still calling me. Yet I still get calls from them .. you can probably imagine my very unimpressed face right now. I HATE noisy call centres, very few have quiet desks for people like me who can’t decipher the callers’ voice from the dozens speaking around them. Ugh!
Okay .. detour over.
Nowadays .. I don’t have my phone number publicly available.
So if you’re wondering how to reach me, email is the best way or via Facebook / LinkedIn chat, or via one of my lovely contact forms on this website .. hint, nudge, my contact form page.
If you ever wonder why a business doesn’t list their phone number .. it might just be someone else who can’t hear well and needs other ways to communicate! Or they just .. er.. don’t have a phone number. *shrugs*
This is my blog post to say that I work differently, and that’s a great thing. I’m really really good at typing, and pretty good at speaking on video with the wonderful backup of having the chat feature for anything that I flub at hearing!
Here’s how to do a phone call with me if I’ve given you my number:
- You have my number, that means you are a client of mine woohoo, not just anyone gets my number!
- Text me to let me know you want to contact me, I usually have my phone right with me.
- You can try calling me out of the blue but please be patient if I’m flustered and need 5 minutes to gather myself into phone call mode. Which normally involves me finding my headset.
- If I truly struggle, please don’t judge me if I say so on the call and tell you a different way to communicate with me. This doesn’t happen often but enough that I dread this.
- Chat with me via messenger.
- Lastly, schedule a time to chat via video call on Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp etc.
So many many people meet me face to face and never have a clue that I’m hard of hearing. My aids are small and tucked behind my ears, which are fully visible as I’m a gal with short back and sides with a long blue top streak of (currently) blue hair. You’d be amazed how many people never guess or understand I’m deaf / hard of hearing, even after telling them.
It was #deafawarenessweek last week, but I think #deafawareness should be all the time.