Woman with glasses looking upwards and smiling

“My hearing aid isn’t an MP3 player!” #EndTheAwkward

Jo Verrent is the Senior Producer of Unlimited, a project which funds and gives mentoring support to disabled artists to produce ambitious work.

As part of our End the Awkward campaign, Jo shares some examples of people’s innocent ignorance when it comes to disability.

Woman smiling and standing next to a sign with Japanese characters
Jo Verrent is Senior Producer at disability arts organisation Unlimited

I was working in a restaurant as a waitress and a customer put in a complaint as I had been ignoring him.

I just hadn’t heard him try and get my attention as he’d been whistling and shouting at me, but all whilst I had been facing the other way. He thought I was being rude deliberately.

It all ended up with him accusing me of making up being deaf as he said I spoke perfectly fine and, on being shown my hearing aid (which is a bone anchored one) – saying that it was an MP3 player!

He just couldn’t accept he was wrong and so preferred to make up ludicrous reasons why I wasn’t deaf instead!

Err thanks… But I don’t use a wheelchair

One time I went to a big theatre to assess a piece of work by a company of disabled artists and the theatre had been told that I was coming and that I, too, was disabled. So they took out my seat so that a wheelchair could fit.

Only I don’t use a wheelchair, I have a hearing impairment, and also one that impacts on concentration and fatigue – which means I really need to sit down. Only I couldn’t, because I had no seat anymore!

Close-up of woman and small child smiling
Jo with her granddaughter

Reversing the awkward…

I also have been woken up a couple of times now on the train with people nudging me and saying ‘I hope you don’t mind me waking you, but I’m curious to know what’s in your head?’ etc.

To my shame I did once tell someone it was a mechanism I had installed after a failed lobotomy to control my aggression… they left me alone after that! That probably did make them feel a bit awkward!

Read more awkward storiesDo you have an awkward story to share? Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media. 

Find out more about how Scope is ending the awkward this summer.

5 thoughts on ““My hearing aid isn’t an MP3 player!” #EndTheAwkward”

  1. must be awful having that type of hearing loss, when there is a big patch on your head you cant easily hide it, I have always been deaf but didn’t have to have a op, I’ve always hidden them in my ear then busybodies don’t have to bother you with their ignorant questions. I mean There’s the internet now freely accessible you think they would educate themselves with it.

    1. Maria – why on ear do you feel hearing devices need hiding? Deafness is nothing to be ashamed of. Let’s all wear our aids with pride. Let’s advocate for awareness of the most invisible disability there is.

  2. I have a BAHA too and I have been accused of it being an MP3 player or bluetooth headset. Most people when corrected are fine but occasionally I’ve had people refuse to believe me and get very angry that I’m ignoring them or being rude…

  3. Love this story, innocent ignorance is a great way to describe it…and something I’m probably guilty of myself. I can’t wait to get my BAHA – so tempted to get a bright red one instead of a chestnut brown to blend into my hair!!

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