Siobhan’s Experience

Siobhan’s Experience as a Deaf person during Covid

1. How have you found working during the Covid pandemic?
I found that during the pandemic, I felt isolated, sometimes withdrawn but otherwise I wasn’t bothered by that. I am kind of accepting person who just gets on with it.

2. What has your experience been of wearing a facemask in work?

Frustrating at times. Luckily for me my colleagues are very understanding. They pull down their face masks to communicate with me and there have been no issues.

3. What has your experience been of others wearing facemasks in work?
I found this experience bewildering as half of their faces are covered and their expressions are my lifeline for communication and understanding. Without their expressions or gestures, I don’t have a connection with them so it all feels alien to me. This in turn turns to anxiety, panic attacks.

4. Again relating to the wearing of facemasks, do you have any suggestions that might improve the experience for you in the office?
We all still have to wear face masks, no matter what. Face shields are not prohibited in this workplace as they don’t provide a full protection against Covid-19. As far as I can see there is no other option but to wear a face mask.

5. Outside of work, how do you feel Covid has impacted on you as a Deaf person?

I found it extremely difficult and frustrating at times. I find that people are less sympathetic towards deaf people. I have had issues where I cannot get access, most people take for granted – for example, making an appointment at a doctor’s surgery or ringing up the DVLA to clarify some issues I had about the MOT. They put down the phone on me several times. The barriers I have experienced before the lockdown and during the pandemic are evidentially greater, even more so than I had experienced before the lockdown.

6. What has your experience been of accessing services during the pandemic, for example, shopping, doctors or public transport?

Very poor. As a busy, working mother who works full time, I don’t have access to the phone at my workplace so had to take half days off to make a few calls via Typetalk. Sometimes I enlist my sister to help me.