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“I Will Tell You Later”

It is a response we deaf and hard of hearing people often get when we ask hearing people what they are talking about. When we follow up, they say something like: “Oh I forgot, but it was not important.” There are also other comments like “Never mind”, “Hold on a minute”, “You don’t need to know.”, “We just talk about [just one word and no more details]”, “Please be patient”, “I’m sorry I don’t know sign language [to make an excuse not to communicate via writing]”, etc.

Many hearing people do not realize how much they take for granted the ease of access to any aural information and oral communications anytime and anywhere. Telling those words to deaf and hard of hearing people hurts them and makes them feel less important and not worth to be included. For these reasons, Hellen Keller said: “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” It’s not our hearing inability that prevents us from communicating with hearing people – it’s their unwillingness to communicate with us in a way that makes it easier for us to understand them.

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