I’m home at last after a tiring day at work in which I had to commute on the train there and back. I like getting the train if I have to go in the office as it offers me a chance to read a book which I obviously can’t do if I’m driving! Plus it’s nice to put the stress of driving (even if it is a train) on someone else! Today was one of those annoying days in which deaf people are still not really considered properly.
Yes today’s post is another gripe about deaf issues. I suppose it isn’t an issue exclusively faced by deaf people but we do suffer the most. I’m talking about public tannoy systems,not just at train stations but everywhere. You may have read other blogs or if you are deaf or have friends/family who are deaf,they’ve probably told you of the same issues. Basically most tannoy systems come out what seem to be really cheap speakers which vary in the way speech comes out; I’ve encountered the echo ones in which the sound has obviously been set too loud but which on a small speaker just means all you are getting is echos bouncing out at each word spoken. This is magnified in the small stations which are enclosed and the sound reverberates but which no words are discernible! I’ve had many comments along the lines of “oh but it’s so loud even you must hear what they are saying!”. Yes..it is loud,but being deaf doesn’t mean that once a sound is loud we can automatically hear everything hunky dory and we understand what is being said. Many hearing devices already magnify sound for us, so we don’t need things to be any louder!
Then there are those which crackle so you trying to decipher what is being said and work out if it was a crackle or an actual word!
The problem is for me with my level of deafness,my hearing aids simply cannot discern any words no matter what kind of tannoy system it is unless it’s one of these brand new ones and I’m stood underneath! Most of the time I can get away with it due to the tv displays showing what trains are running on what platform or my amazing train app which is linked to it. The problem occurs when a train suddenly changes platform or is running late and the systems don’t automatically update with that announcement. I’ll be in my own world only to see in the corner of my eye a load of people stood with me suddenly making a rush to the other side of the station. Now they have obviously heard the tannoy but to me all I heard was gobbledegook! I hate it! Because I’m never sure if they were waiting for my train or if they were waiting for another train due before or after, and looking up the display board never helps much as it will either show the same train I’m expecting due or another train now due to arrive there. So I’m normally left panicking, do I rush across or stay on my platform and hope they are waiting for another. If I rush across and it’s not mine then I risk missing the train,if I stay and suddenly realise the train is not mine again I risk missing my train! And it’s always Sod’s law there is never any train staff around to ask. Then when they are around I have to put up with the looks they give me as if I’m completely thick until I point to my hearing aids so they realise I’m deaf and haven’t heard (on another note doesn’t matter whether you are deaf or not,some are so rude with their attitude!).
The tannoy problem is everywhere I go,even on the train when they are announcing the next station or if I need to suddenly get off to change due to breakdowns ahead,I miss it all, I have had this happen in which the conductor saw my ticket and said I needed to get off two stops ago! Ok that’s all very well and good,but I’m not the only deaf person in the world,how are we meant to know if there are changes?
Everywhere you go when you are deaf you realise how many tannoy systems there are in life, most of the time they are probably just giving out generic boring information. But I always wonder about the times when it might be important,emergency announcements which in these scary days could be possible is very possible. The only thing I could do is panic without knowing why following other panicking people! The point being,the number of deaf people in the U.K. and the world is huge,it’s the 21st century with amazing technology out there but whenever new trains are designed or new buildings built, deaf people are forgotten. Most hearing aids and cochlea implants have the ability to switch over to a loop system which feeds sound directly to our ears like a personal headset. Some cinemas or banks now have these when you want to speak to individuals so it can’t be that hard to implement it into a tannoy system! Or provide more tv systems like airports which updates key information so we are able to read it. You’d be making so many deaf people happy, I for one would be able to enjoy my visits out in a more relaxed way knowing I’m not going to have to seek seats near the door and hope for the best that I’m arriving at the right train station or the right platform!
I think it’s time I start lobbying companies or my MP to make changes even though many other people have started the process, I have to remember it’s only through many people does that small voice become a shout that can’t be ignored. If you’re deaf and having problems join me! And for those of you who aren’t deaf, if you spot someone wearing hearing aids and you hear an announcement,please do check if they’ve heard it,trust me from my experience we’d be so grateful!
Here’s to an equal world!