Chronicles of Deafness

Banking services for the deaf

The person is oral deaf. He wears a hearing aid but doesn’t talk on the phone. The person does not use or intend to use a special telephone for the deaf. She can’t even get away from work to spend two or three hours sitting while she waits to be seen live and in color. And you want to be taken care of by your bank or credit card company.



If there’s one thing that makes me so mad, it’s the clownish service provided by banks and credit cards when the customer is deaf. They took it as a basis that all deaf people use special telephones and don’t have access to the internet. They love to advertise their number to the hearing impaired. Massss….

I’ll tell you a story.

I’m a customer of a bank that loves to change my account manager without telling me (I find it insulting, but anyway). I have to explain a hundred thousand times that I don’t talk on the phone, that I want to be answered by email – I can’t get away from work to wait there for hours to hear that they don’t know the answer to my questions. I find it a pain and a waste of time having to explain myself to several different managers. I went there in person the other day. I waited 1 hour to be served. My (then) manager passed me on to someone else because it was her lunch break. Okay, no problem. But the person who answered me couldn’t answer ANY question I asked. I explained that I urgently needed to know the answers, wrote down all my questions on a piece of paper, left my email address and asked him to get back to me by tomorrow. Two weeks later I heard back – in fact, they changed my manager again!!! If I had spoken on the phone and had already called them and‘unleashed the dogs’ (as any listening customer would do), my doubts would surely have been resolved in 10 minutes. But I have to rely on the good will of creatures to spend 10 minutes of their precious time emailing me.

Oralized deaf customers who don’t speak on the phone should be given preferential service by email. Credit card operators should be notified and any problems should be resolved quickly by email. What’s the big deal?

Having to explain yourself a thousand times to a thousand different people is the end of the road for me. Is all this exposure really necessary? This waste of time? I think it’s disrespectful. How easy it is to turn people into suckers with that classic“you have to call 0800, there’s no way“. And to have to put up with that cynical question mark look from certain employees, who look at you thinking“but if you talk normally, why don’t you talk on the phone?”. If I told you that there was a manager who once called 0800 and gave me the phone number, would you believe it?

One option to speed up the process is to ask a relative or friend to call 0800 and impersonate you. But isn’t it a shame to have to do that? It’s a double exposure. Firstly, almost having to take your otolaryngologist to the bank to explain/prove that you don’t talk on the phone; secondly, having to beg someone to help you by pretending to be you. WHERE’S THE ACCESSIBILITY? WHERE’S THE NOTION THAT THERE ARE

What do you think about it?

About Author

Paula Pfeifer é uma surda que ouve com dois implantes cocleares. Ela é autora dos livros Crônicas da Surdez, Novas Crônicas da Surdez e Saia do Armário da Surdez e lidera a maior comunidade digital do Brasil de pessoas com perda auditiva que são usuárias de próteses auditivas.

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