Something I Never Thought About

If you’re deaf, how do you let the police know you can’t hear them when they stop you?

Late one stormy night you are driving home alone. Suddenly red and blue flashing lights punctuate the darkness behind you. You don’t know whether you are being pulled over for speeding, for having a broken tail light, or because you are driving a car that looks suspiciously like the get-a-way vehicle seen fleeing from the scene of a nearby convenience store robbery.

You immediately pull over to the side of the road and stop. You can’t see a thing as you are blinded by the headlights behind you. You don’t hear the police officers ordering you to get out of your car and walk backwards towards them. Because you do not follow their directions, the police officers treat you as a threat to them, and in your case, storm your car, drag you from your vehicle, throw you to the ground and handcuff you.

This never should have happened–but did–because the police officers thought you were deliberately disobeying them, and therefore must be hiding something. It never crosses their minds that you neither heard nor understood them because you have a hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Help has signs that people can download, print out, laminate, and attach to their visors that show police officers whether they’re hard of hearing or deaf and gives the officers tips on communicating. Smart.