Deaf Headaches

Deaf headaches–that may not be a medical term but there is such a thing as a headache that results from being deaf.  Or more specifically, being deaf AND dealing with ignorant hearing people.

I had one such headache today after attempting to talk with the bank through VRS (Video Relay Service) where my call is interpreted by a sign language interpreter.  It’s like a three-way call, except that it really isn’t, because I’m the person making the call and the interpreter is just relaying the conversation.  So it’s actually a direct call from me to the person I’m calling or vice versa. If you were to call me, it would be a direct number to my house (and not to the interpreter).

But I guess it’s not as simple as it should sound.

Ask the woman at the bank that I talked to today.

I called an 800 number to activate a new debit card (we’d had to cancel our previous card due to recent unauthorized purchases).  I’d done this before and it was an automated call that required a PIN and then the card number, and I was good to go.

Not this time.

Not even close this time.

For some reason, I got a live person this time.

And she was very hesitant to work with me over the phone because of the relay call.

Never mind that she asked for verification and I gave her all the info that she requested.

After I told her the debit card number and the name on the card, she still wouldn’t activate the card.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t see you, so I can’t be sure that you are actually the person authorized to use this debit card.”


So, when a hearing person calls you, you can actually SEE the hearing person?

Apparently the interpreter that I had for this call was thinking the same thing.  He immediately called her out for discrimination.

And apparently, she was so stunned that she didn’t have a response.

After a pause, she said she’d talk with her supervisor.

More waiting…

Finally, she came back and said that she would need to hang up and then call me at my number again to make sure that I was actually at the number I was calling from.


The interpreter couldn’t believe it either, but he was gracious enough to let her know that when she called me back, it would be through a different interpreter but that it would still be ME that she was calling.  At MY number.

She hung up.

And the interpreter shook his head and wished me good luck before I disconnected the call.

Before I had much time to analyze the absurdity of what had just happened, my video phone rang again.

It was the woman from the bank.  I immediately identified myself, even volunteering some verification information.

“Okay, now please tell me your PIN.”

I gave her my PIN.

“Okay, now your card is activated and ready for use.  Have a great day!”

Uh thanks, you too?

Now where’s the bottle of ibupofren?

And the chocolate?


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