By Cheri Perazzoli
In the world of hearing loss advocacy, we encourage people to ask venues for hearing access, build relationships with their lawmakers, and support legislation that helps people with hearing loss. But there’s also another kind of advocacy that can really make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities: the kind of easy, everyday things that all of us can do. With this post, we start our series on everyday advocacy.
How A Button Changed Someone’s Whole Day
I recently boarded a plane with a button that said, “Face Me, I Have a Hearing Loss.” The flight attendant saw it and said, “Oh! That reminds me to put my hearing aid in.” She grabbed her hearing aid from her pocket and slipped her it over her ear.
Then, she shared some vulnerabilities with me, saying that she often struggled to understand passengers’ drink orders because people usually were looking down. I smiled and gave the flight attendant my “Face Me” button, and she pinned it on her uniform so passengers would know to speak up and look at her directly. In gratitude, she gave me a complimentary glass of wine, but my biggest reward was knowing that her day was about to go much better.
My simple act—wearing a button on my jacket—gave me confidence, helped the flight attendant perform her job more easily, and spread awareness about hearing loss among passengers on the plane and others throughout the airport.
Sometimes advocacy shouts from the rooftops, sometimes it whispers quietly, and sometimes it barely says anything at all—but it all comes together to help us build hearing-friendly neighborhoods for everyone.
What are some ways that you’ve practiced everyday advocacy for yourself or others? Share with us in the comments below.