When You Have A Deaf Challenged Consumer Experience

Posted by: Staff Writer on Nov. 16, 2016

We’ve all been there. It’s the eyeroll. Or the exasperated sigh. Or the way they walk away and laugh while pointing at you with another co-worker. Maybe it’s even the outright refusal to serve you or provide you with accommodations. However you experience your deaf-challenged moment, it never feels good. Your stomach churns. Your break out into cold sweat. You can feel that rage start to simmer.



You have some choices- Walk away and let it roll off your shoulders, and not go back. Or you can choose to do something to get the access to the high-quality customer service you deserve.

At any given time, we all have different levels of energy and resources so this sometimes means picking our battles carefully.  We never want to tone-police or suggest we know the best way to handle any given situation. Instead we want to encourage whenever and however possible, self-advocate for what you deserve. Because make no mistake, you always deserve deaf-friendly customer service.

So here are some options for self-advocating- choose what works for you at any given moment.

  1. Inform the person what they’re doing is not okay, why, and let them know you expect better.
  2. Smile When You Have A Deaf Challenged Consumer Experience (after a few deep breaths of course). Sometimes it takes a smile, a positive attitude and a willingness to work with them on your part to change the situation and get things going in your favor. This doesn’t always work. Use your instinct.
  3. Ask to talk to a manager or the owner if you’re not making head way.
  4. Document everything. Record the incident including names, dates, times and photo’s or videos. Save the back and forth paper exchange.
  5. Engage on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram with accompanying hashtags and leverage them to get the results you need.
  6. File a complaint with the appropriate city, state or federal agency. 
  7. Write a review on deaffriendly.com so we can reach out to businesses and help them create a deaf-friendly customer experience for you. 

Deaf-challenged experiences can leave us feeling powerless, but when we decide to stand up for what we deserve, we can make a positive impact for ourselves and the next Deaf consumer. Every interaction gives us an opportunity to educate, inform, and make a difference. Because together we can create a more deaf-friendly world.

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Comment Policy

We’re aware that issues facing the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing Community can become quite passionate and divided. What can we say, we’re a group of passionate people! While we fully support a community full of passion, we also require that comments are respectful. We think negative attitudes and disrespect are a waste of everyone’s time and energy. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with people, you just need to do it respectfully. We reserve the right to delete or edit any comments we feel are judgmental, rude, or of attacking nature.

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