Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Do I Get By In My Everyday Life As a Deaf Person?

ASL Order: Sounds in Everyday Life Me do???
English: What I do with everyday sounds in life? 

Since I have been getting a lot of questions lately about accommodations for my Deafness in my daily life, I have decided to type up a post about what I use, and how they help me.

How do you get up in the morning? Does Stu wake you up? If he does then what if he is gone before you wake up then what? 

Actually, I do not rely on Stu to wake me up. I have an alarm clock called Sonic Boom that looks like this:

Image reserved by Harris Communication

You see the attached pod to the clock? That is the vibrator, and I know it sounds a bit dirty, but it is not. Trust me. *winks* I put the vibrating pod under the sheet fitter so it won't fall out during the night. I set the alarm at the specific time I want to get up. There is 3 different modes that you can choose from: The buzzer with vibrating, buzzer alone, or vibrating alone. I often use vibrating with buzzer because if the vibrator pod falls out during the night then Layla (my dog) can alert me if the buzzer goes off!  The following morning; when it is time for me to wake up, the vibrator will go off and shakes the whole bed! 

There is a different method that Deaf people can use if they don't like the vibrating clock. They have other choice which is plugging the alarm clock to their lamp. When it is time for them to get up, the alarm will be connected to the lamp and cause the light to go on and off very much like a strobe effect. 

I am not a fan of this. I am a heavy--I mean, a very, very heavy sleeper--and the light does not wake me up! I will sleep through anything. The only thing that has been successful is the vibrating clock and I love it. Unfortunately, this equipment is very expensive, and I have to pay out of my pocket. However, the good thing about this is that it can last for a very, very, very long time. My first one lasted about 12 years before it choked and died. 

Does this bother Stu? 

The answer is no; it does not bother him because Stu is often up before I am. On those days when I am up before Stu is, he is already accustomed to the shaking bed, and I am not the type of person to hit snooze button. Once it goes off, I get up right away and start off to my day. 

Do you need people to make phone calls for you? 

Nope! I have a videophone called Z-20. I absolutely love it. This is free for me which is awesome because it is extremely expensive to obtain a VP (it can range between $200 to over $1,000 depending on the equipment). The only thing I do not have with my VP is that I opted out to having a phone attached because I obviously do not speak and have no need for it. 

Image reserved by ZVRS

I am able to make phone calls to anyone--both Deaf and Hearing with this. With Deaf people, this works very similar as Skype instant message or a webcam system. I dial the number to a Deaf person and the screen will be filled with the picture of that person while at the bottom corner, there is a smaller screen of me, and it is how we talk. As for a hearing person, it is a bit different. I use relay system, which I contact an ASL interpreter, and the ASL interpreter will connect me to a hearing person. The interpreter is on the screen not the hearing person since the hearing person is on the phone. The ASL interpreter is the middle ground between me and the hearing person. The ASL interpreter will stay on for an entire conversation and is bound to the law not to reveal or share the information to the third party. The interpreter is strictly there as a Deaf person's ears and voice. 

If I am a hearing person and know sign language then can I have a VP as well? 

Absolutely! You can purchase VP if you want. Unfortunately, it is very expensive for hearing people to obtain videophones. This is why hearing people often rely on Skype or instant messaging  or relay interpreter to communicate with a Deaf person.

Since you are pregnant, how do you plan on being there for your baby when he cries and needs your attention? 

Unfortunately, there is no equipment designated specifically for Deaf parents to alert them of their crying baby made by companies that produces assistance tools for the Deaf and/or Deaf and Blind. However, it is not hopeless for us Deaf parents! There are many baby monitors that are produced by companies for hearing parents that can also benefit the Deaf parents. For example; there are baby monitors with video with vibrating alert, or monitors that are without videos but with vibrating alert. 

I have Graco Baby Monitors that vibrates when my baby cries or needs my attention. 

How do you know when there's someone at the door? 

There is a door bell alert designed for Deaf people. The door bell is connected to the strobe light that will go off once someone knocks on the door. 

By the way, I hated the door bell. I used to have one during my sophomore year in college. It never stops going off! I ended up taking it down. 

OR, there is also a hearing ear dog. 

Copyrighted by Hearing Ear Dog of Canada 

Hearing Ear dog is a trained dog that works specifically for Deaf people. The trainers teach them to alert for sounds such as baby crying, door bell ringing or someone knocking, phone going off, stove going off, fire alarm ringing and many more. HED (Hearing Ear Dog) is NOT a pet, and is a working dog. If you see a dog with a bright orange vest then this usually means the dog is working and you should not treat the dog as a pet. HED goes anywhere in the public with a Deaf person while a pet dog obviously stays at home. 

Do you have a HED dog? 

No I do not. I really don't see a point because I live with a hearing husband, and I have a dog that already alerts me! Layla is NOT a trained HED and is a pet. It is easy to know when someone is at the door when  I am home alone because Layla is already barking up a storm and scratching at the door! I can easily train Layla to alert me for other sounds if I wish, but she's just a bit too stubborn, and I really don't care much for to be alerted for simplest things. 

When I go to my appointments, I have ASL interpreter ready to communicate for me. Matter of fact, Stu and I have an interpreter for our childbirth class because it is not Stu's job to interpret for me and frankly; it's not fair to impose that on him anyway! 

Outside my appointments, I do not have an interpreter because there is no need for one, and I am fairly independent. I just pay extra attention to clock if I am baking and cooking. I am more cautious on the road.  I rely on the cues of other drivers to let me know if there is any emergency vehicles coming. I check my rear-view mirror frequently if I am not surrounded by many other drivers. I have a special little mirror on my rear-view mirror to look in the back seat for my dog and soon, my little baby. I find that I am on alert when I am out in the public more than I would be at home. I pay attention to the smallest details to get my cues. I often bring my little notebook with a pen in my purse when I go out so I can communicate with the hearing folks. 

I hope this answers some of your questions, my dear readers! Like always, feel free to ask me any questions via Facebook, or leave a comment to my blog anytime and I'll get back to you with an answer! 


  1. Your blog should be read by any hearing person who associates with or works with a deaf person! It would help make them understand you can be independent!

  2. All this is so interesting! Thanks for being willing to share all the details of your life with us!

  3. I remember the 'doorbell' in the dorm! It was nuts! :D