Making deaf children matter

Musings and blogs from a deaf campaigner

Why never to say “Oh, it doesn’t matter” to a deaf person

Posted by Ian Noon on August 13, 2010

Image courtesy of NDCS

A posting by Tiger Mother on the National Deaf Children’s Society website reminded me of a key cardinal rule with deaf children (and adults). If they miss something and ask you to repeat, never EVER say:

“Oh, it doesn’t matter.”

As an adult, I often just say “… but it was important enough to say first time around?” or if it’s someone I know, probably something unrepeatable. I will probably do my glare. I even once told a MP off for doing it.

A lot of deaf children though may not feel quite as bolshy enough to insist it be repeated. And just saying “oh, it doesn’t matter” ends up making them feel left out, alienated and excluded from daily conversations. In my case, I used to actually feel quite paranoid that if someone said “oh it doesn’t matter”, they were actually talking about me in the first place. Sadly, not all of my hearing friends ever realised why. A failure for the deaf awareness training at my school.

Sure, it’s frustrating to have to repeat something that was fairly trivial in the first place. But it’s nowhere near as frustrating as living in a world where you’re missing out on what people are saying because they’re too lazy to repeat themselves.

Am looking forward to reading more from Tiger Mother…


3 Responses to “Why never to say “Oh, it doesn’t matter” to a deaf person”

  1. chris said

    This is also called the “Dinner table syndrome”.

  2. BigBenFactor said

    I agree. It was intensely offensive to have been told that when I was younger. It still happens, but not as much.

    Sometimes it is better to say “Oh, it is nothing”, “mind your own business”, “it is private conversation” than to lie.

    I just loose r-e-s-p-e-c-t for them.

    Thanks for educating readers about this issue.


  3. This drives me crazy! People do it to me all the time but like you; I’ve learned to stand up for myself!

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