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You Have to Be Deaf to Understand - Never Mind


Updated November 14, 2008

A Universal Experience

Ameslan, a member of the About Deafness forum, stated in the Sign Language and Deaf culture thread, "Slang and Taboo," a common experience that most if not all deaf and hard of hearing people can identify with (and which insults deaf people):

Deaf don't like when people (hearing) are talking and talk on and on and Deaf person says, "What did he say?" The response is, "Oh nevermind," "Oh it is not important," or "I will tell you later." -Grrrrr!

- Ameslan, an About Deafness forum member

You Have to Be Deaf to Understand

I have experienced this myself, of course. How did I feel when I did? I would feel hurt, and also curious, wondering what they were talking about. Even the most sensitive hearing people will do this at times. After all, having to repeat everything to a deaf or hard of hearing person -- whether verbally or in writing -- can get tiresome.

How does a deaf or hard of hearing person cope when told, "Nevermind, it is not important?" I learned that I had to take a "pick your battles" approach. That is, I had to evaluate the situation and decide for myself whether it was worth it to insist, "I want to know what was said!"

It is a hard thing to swallow, especially if the group of hearing people is enjoying a good laugh at something. It makes the deaf person feel like he is the one who is not important.

If you are deaf: How did you cope when told, "Nevermind, it's not important?" Did you just accept it? Did you accept it, and then later ask someone about it? Or did you object?

If you are hearing: How did you handle it when a deaf person approached your group of hearing people wanting to know what was going on, and you just didn't want to be bothered with repeating everything at the moment? Did you tell the deaf person that you could not tell them right then, but you would fill them in later -- in writing, an instant message, or an e-mail?

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