Chronically Fabulous · Femme

Partying While Deaf: A Slang British Sign Language Tutorial

Being a person with sensory difficulties in a crowd, whether that is at a party or in a club or even in a pub is pretty bloody scary! I’m deaf and blind in one eye so I need lots of light and space to know what is going on, otherwise I have no clue if there is a fire or where the exits are or… Basically, I have two options. With hearing aids I can hear this: (blur of horrible noise), without hearing aids I hear this: (very quiet blur, tinnitus)

I lipread but when it’s dark I can’t do that. Especially if there are flashing lights. Oh and I have no depth perception so I’m just guessing how far away you are from me or how deep the tread of the stairs are… Don’t get me wrong; I love going out, dancing, making out in front of the speaker, meeting new people, chatting but… I cannot stress enough how terrifying it is. To have no idea of what is outside of this tiny bubble touches something primal within me… I don’t need a rollercoaster, I can just go to a party.

Now, I think a lot of people in situations where they are very scared turn inwards, get quiet, maybe go and sit in a corner or possibly even do the sensible thing and explain to others that they don’t know what is going on. Do I do that? No! Of course not! I get stupidly loud and start jumping to conclusions about the topic of conversation, then shout nonsense in people’s faces.

Meanwhile, Claudia is stood there like: ‘oh god… please shut up…’

So, to combat this, dear friends, here are some signs you can use to keep me involved in the conversation and not just standing there shouting at you: