Stop Hanging Up On Deaf People!


(Marker scratching) (Electronic video game sound) So, I have something
that I would like to think is a very small request to make. Hearing people, can you please stop hanging up on us
deaf people, when we try to call you, please? I found this article on CBC,
which is a Canadian news thing and a woman was trying to call,
via video phone, about something and the company that she was calling
hung up on her. And they’re like, “Yeah, we don’t want
whatever it is that you’re selling.” And I just wanna say,
deaf people are not telemarketers. I mean, there might be
a deaf telemarketer out there but just give me a second,
let me further explain. So, first of all, how the hell do deaf
people actually call other people? Way back when you had TTY’s,
which were big chunky, well, back then, were big chunky,
kind of typewriter things. I’m pretty sure they were called
teletypewriters, that was their full name. And it was big chunky, like a keyboard. Think of it like a keyboard for a PC,
they looked like that. Maybe a little big chunkier
and they have a screen and they have the little thing
that you put the phone on top of, right? And you would call a relay operator
and then you would write, “Hi operator,
please call 555-555-5555,” whatever. They would connect you with that person. If the company picks up and they have
no idea what the heck is going on then the operator will be like, “OK, this is what a relay service is”,
you know. “You’re on the phone with a deaf person
right now, and we’re just gonna play messenger,
basically.” So, that was that way,
it was that way for a very long time. People in the United States
don’t really use it that much any more. If they do, it’s probably
mostly the older generation. Canada was still having to use it more
recently until… was it last year, either 2017 or 2016
when video phones finally became more of a thing here? Don’t quote me on that,
something like that. And you know probably in other
countries that are more developing that don’t quite have video phone yet,
they likely probably still have TTY. And actually Apple has their own
TTY software embedded onto an iPhone,
which I actually still use, myself. “Rikki, why don’t you use a video
phone?” Because I don’t trust myself with my
not-fluent knowledge of sign language
to have a serious phone call, like, say for a doctor’s appointment
or something. It’s just, I prefer English when it
comes to stuff like that right now. But that’s another way that people call, especially now in the United States
and most recently Canada. They will use video phone,
which is the same thing, but in sign language on a screen. They’ll call an interpreter,
the interpreter will then connect that call to Dominos,
let’s just say Dominos. We’re gonna order a pizza
and the operator is going to – “Hey, you have a deaf person
that’s calling you, you can just say whatever you need to
and I’m going to sign it back to them and you know we go back and forth.” When something like this happens,
when you have a third party, in the conversation, people do think that there’s
a telemarketer or someone is trying to sell them
something, even though we’re trying to explain that,
no, that’s really not what’s happening. And I have a few examples of this myself because I have been hung up on
quite a few times. One of the earliest ones I can think of
is… I ordered some food, I got the food, I came back home,
and what I should have done was I should have checked the food
beforehand, before I left. But I didn’t, but I went home, I opened it up and my order was wrong. I think it was missing something,
I don’t know. And I tried to call and – actually,
the person who picked up the phone is someone I went to school with, or was someone that
I went to school with, and you know, I was trying to have a conversation and they’re like, “Yeah, we don’t want
whatever you’re selling,” and they hung up on me. And I was like, that was it.
No chance to explain. Even though the very first thing, I think, that is usually said
from an operator is, “Have you ever received a
relay call before? If not, let me explain.” So, I called them back
and I think it was the same person that I went to school with that
picked up, and when they were like “Hey, can I help you,” you know,
whatever. I’m like, “Yeah, can you not hang up
on me?” I don’t remember what happened,
I think I got free potato soup like a whole big chunk of it
and it was great. (LAUGHS) Worth it. And most recently is last year,
I went to sign up for the gym that I go to now
and I wanted to find out the rates because the rates aren’t anywhere on
the website. So, I wanted to call and find out
because I don’t want an expensive gym. So, I went to call and it was just
kind of back and forth like, the operator did explain
what was going on, but then the person behind the desk was very… I don’t know what the word is
that I’m looking for, kinda just butting heads really. And he’s like, “What is the point of
this phone call?” And I’m trying to say,
I’m literally saying, I’m like, “I want to know the rates of your gym,
I would like to join. I wanna know how much. Go ahead.” So, the operator, you know,
sends that message to them and the reply is still, “Yeah, I don’t know why
you’re calling me right now, we’re very busy, like, leave us alone,
stop bothering us.” Whatever. I’m, like, do you understand
that I am saying, I want to know what your rates are?
(LAUGHS) And you know, I just got hung up on. I was like, “OK.” And I found the owner on Facebook
and I messaged her, and I was like “Hey,
I just tried to call your gym and I don’t know who was on the phone
but I was trying to find out my rates.” And you know, “I’m deaf and I was
calling with this and that and I got hung up on. I did not just get hung up on, I was,
I got a very bad talking to.” And she was like, “Oh, we’re very sorry,
please come over in about two hours and I’ll give you a tour myself.” I went over to the front desk
at the gym. I talked to the guy that was on the
phone with me and he apologized. He goes, “I’m sorry. I’ve never had that
kind of phone call before.” And I was like, “It’s OK.
I’m over it now, but we did explain to you
what was going on and I did simply say,
‘I want to be a customer’.” So, it was… ugh. Deaf people are not trying to be
telemarketers. It’s just a regular phone call. Well, maybe not a “regular” phone call. But you know,
there’s a third party involved. It’s… there’s a little step in there
but… can you please stop hanging up on us
’cause we also have to do things? We also are busy and we just…
nobody really likes to get hung up on when they’re having a busy phone call,
you know? Or an important phone call. It’s, like, can you imagine if you were
trying to, like, call 911 or something and they were like, “Yeah, I don’t know what the hell
you’re talking about,” and hang up. I don’t think 911 would do that. I’d like to think that 911
would not do that. Maybe some sort of hospital
would do that but… Also, one more tip for anyone that may
receive this kind of call, it’s like a regular phone call,
in the sense that when you want to talk back to me,
like, say I’m talking to you, you say, “OK, so you want this,
you want that, you need this, OK, we will set this up for you.” You don’t need to say, “OK,
well, tell ‘her’ that. Tell ‘her’ that we will get this set up
for ‘her’ if ‘she’ wants this.” You don’t need to do that and it’s not
the biggest thing in the world but it’s just the little thing that kind
of makes it awkward, I guess, you know. Like when I’m… when I’m still making
the conversation personal and I’m going, “Well ‘you'”, you know,
“And ‘your’.” But they’re going, “Tell ‘her’,
tell ‘them’, tell that woman… ma’am.” It’s, it’s a little weird but you… the more correct way
to go about it…”you.” You can do that. It’s fine.
It’s actually preferred. So, there’s my little tip regarding
phone calls and deaf people who come in to–with a phone call using
TTY or a video phone, VRS. I don’t know a whole lot about VRS,
but I’m sure if you ask some questions…I have some friends
that I can invite back down into the comments
to answer your questions about them, and yeah. If you wanna follow me
on my social media, I have my usernames right down here. If you want to send a letter
or anything, I have my PO Box address right up there. Patreon and last video,
over there. And Ko-fi/tip jar down there in the
info box and pinned comment below. I upload every Monday and Thursday
and I will see you later. Bye.

69 Replies to “Stop Hanging Up On Deaf People!”

  1. Back in college a friend used a TTY service to prank call me. I had NO idea what was going on but the poor TTY operator had to try and translate his l33tsp34k (it was a while ago). I hung up on the operator because it was late and I knew it was my jerk of a friend. I later checked up on what had happened and what TTY services are and read that prank calling with those systems is a major problem that is impacting parts of the Deaf community. I felt bad about that once I learned about the system and what it was for. I wonder if this stuff should be part of the education system, when telephones are being taught (that's a thing, right?) – well, your vlog will help spread the word now!

  2. Good info and tips. I'll have to look more into this in case I happen to get a phone call like this. Shows how easy us hearing folks can forget about the POV and perspective of someone who can't hear.

  3. I've never heard of these services don't know whether we have them in my country but I wonder what makes people think they're talking to a telemarketer.

  4. oh yeah i would totally be the person that says "ITS A SCAM!" and hang up, if anything is fishy/abnormal i fear social engineering.
    so good tip, ill try not to freak out if i ever receive a call like this

  5. Hey Rikki! I'm an ASL student and I love your videos! I plan to send you a letter soon. 😊 Keep being awesome 💕💕

  6. I love this video it happens to me all the time still I use iPhone tty and also vrs very easy but u could always use a dry erase board for what u want say I have met some deaf can’t sign but use dry erase boards for simple request food dr appts ect

  7. It is weird how many times I've run into companies who don't want my money… I'm not deaf, but I have reduced sensitivity across part of the normal vocal range, and the result is that phones are annoyingly difficult for me to hear. It doesn't take much line noise or anything for a call to become so muddy that I'm guessing at most of what they're saying. I've contacted so many companies over the years with an email along the lines of "I can't find X on your site, it seems to suggest I need to call for that, but I'm hearing impaired…" And I've lost track of the number of emails I've gotten back with "please call us at…"

    Took weeks of emails with my bank to have my phone number removed from their call lists, with their email support agents insisting that you had to call in and talk to someone over the phone to get them to stop calling… Wtf?

  8. Hi! Greetings from Finland! I come from Tom Scott's channel. As a normal hearing person I honestly wonder how did you ended up becoming deaf? Do you have any congenital medical condition that made you deaf or did you lost hearing when you were younger? Good luck for your YouTube channel!

  9. My daughter speaks with a speech device. She gets hung up on all the time. When she was young I would call for her but now that she's on her own she has to do it herself and she gets so aggravated. Thank you so much for bringing awareness. I hope for all good things for you

  10. Never say third party please. Just say that the relay operator is a neutral party between deaf person and a hearing caller. Just talk directly to each other as normal. If u say third party. The hearing caller would assume to ask the person more questions than u

  11. Yeah! I can so relate to this! I'm based in UK, we have this app called NGT Lite…its like TTY but in app/text form (basically we dial the 08001+the number we want to call, so NGT app pick the call up, the app open/come up, then the relay service ring the number, and text us, so we text back and forth.) Its exactly like TTY but with the app. Last month, I called this hairdresser salon where I normally go all the time few years ago, but at the time I wanted to enquire about the deal they had for cut and style, so I used NGT as they don't have email service *roll eyes*, and bloody ell, they hung up on me FOUR times! It pisses me off. I FB-msged the salon, and they were all apologetic. They asked me to ring them again to see they if they continued so I rung them once again, hung up. rung them again for 6th time, I told them not to freakin hang up on me, asked them why they hung on me 5 times, she said the phone line was faulty. I was like lmfaoooooooo! Was seriously pissed off. (I need to follow up now and see whats going on. I'm not letting them off easily)

    These kind of hearing people (the unkind ignorant naive ones – not all of them) unknowingly love to take the piss. They can be so condescending, unwilling to meet us in the middle. AND they say WE are the one that are so inconvenient when it's actually them wasting our/their time by not listening, by not communicating. Its so frustrating. Especially when Deafies like me went through years of speech therapy and learnt how to lipread in order to able to function in the hearing/mainstream world, we always make effort to accommodate them, but they don't do the same with us, and they get to bitch about it. Eugh. 

    When I saw the title of your video, I was like YESSSS! Go you Rikki!

  12. If they start saying "tell her" then just go "oh, tell them" and when they get angry just be like "tell them they were doing the same thing"

  13. I work for Medicare and we do pretty well with this! I get interpretor calls all the time, our procedure is to get the interpretors company and ID number, then we just go ahead with the call!! We never hang up on deaf people. I'm surprised the American government is so good with this. We had special training for interpretor calls! <3

  14. I have a few thoughts here! First off, the pic you showed off a TTY is nothing like the first TTY I ever had; it was actually a remodeled teletype as used by news services in the olden days, not that I'm trying to date myself (but I think I make a great date). As for ordering food, these days, you can just do it online at most places for either delivery or pick up.

  15. I’m guilty of this🤦🏼‍♀️ however, ever since I’ve definitely been more aware and spread the awareness as well!

  16. I work as a closed captioner for phone calls for deaf and hard of hearing and people will say hello once or twice and then hang up before the captions could even come up on their phones.

  17. My mother has hearing loss, she can call on her own since you can make the call louder, but she needs to ask for people to repeat themselves a few times during a phone call.
    People get so rude when they are asked to repeat themselves sometimes.
    It got so bad, that now I do really important phone calls for her in her name or pretending to be her while she sits next to me.
    She can clearly hear what I'm saying and I tell her the rest after the call.
    People are assholes.

  18. Huh. Looking back I don't recall if the people I've ever hung up on were talking about a relay phone service or something… great. I kinda doubt it since it was just a normal house phone being called but a deaf person could've been calling. Time to ramp up my patience!

    I've only ever hung up on people calling my mobile phone when it was in a foreign language. Then again, that was when I was living in Asia so it was probably my fault for not knowing the language, haha.

  19. 5 years ago I was working as a middle manager in customer support when a case got escalated to me, which turned out to be a TTY call. It was the first time I heard of it. The relay operator was so keen on helping the person on the other end that when our agent got confused and couldn't manage the call, she asked for a manager and ended up with me. I was abit anxious about making it work, but so excited to see that such a service existed! We started including such scenarios in our trainings from that point on and all became abit more aware and accessible.. Thanks for bringing up this issue!

  20. I haven't tried out a TTY in while since I didn't know how to use it right since it was still new to me. I might try to pick up again because I need an alternate communication other than my captioned app on my phone. But I do know the same situation happens for people who use caption phones since captions can be delayed and the hearing person is left with silence then assumes the other person hangs up. I know that happened to me like once, but usually tend to make noise a bit to let people know I'm still there.

  21. I've never received an interpreted call before, but I wonder if there's a better way for them to introduce themselves. I've had to make calls on behalf of other people, and I usually say something like, "Hello, I'm calling on behalf of X, they are on the line with me, and I will be translating for them." I know a friend in high school received repeated wrong number calls through relay service, and they said the intro was automated, but if it's not, maybe a different approach would help?

  22. I have a small question, do you also have a SMS service instead of 911 in the USA ? In France we have a special short number to text to, for deaf people or in case you can't speak. I has been (sadly) useful for some hostages for example. It's to contact any emergency services ; you text an they can text you back.

  23. this blows my mind, people suck. i have physical disabilities so i totally get how frustrating ablism can be. I wonder if this happens the world over? I notice a load of 'deaf' stickers around government places here ( New Zealand ) which are meant to show that the place has been signed off as being trained in how to communicate effectively with people with some sort of hearing loss. But of course, that's only ever as good as the individual you're working with, just like when somewhere is wheelchair accessible that doesn't mean the staff aren't going to speak to you in baby voices and assume you're disability extends to your intelligence as well.

    I'm super thankful that i now know what is happening if i were to ever take a relay phone call however it feels ridiculous that i didn't know it beforehand. Ridiclous, but sadly not surprising.

  24. 🙄 #sorelatable Sometimes, depending on the call, I'll ask the interpreter to not say it's a relay call and just go directly into it. That is an option, but for certain calls, you have to make it known that there's a third party (like to a bank or something).

  25. As someone who has received many relay calls over the years, they do say (using my state as an example, paraphrased as it's been a few years) "This is a call from the Arizona Relay Service. A deaf person is trying to call you via TTY. Have you used Arizona Relay Service before?" Then they explain protocol if you haven't used it before, and then connect your call.
    VRS might come out a little differently, but iirc it is similar in that if you don't know what's going on, they are more than happy to explain it.

    At work though, I have had coworkers answer the phone, get confused, put it on hold, holler to/intercom me and say, "What the heck is a relay call?!" and about a quarter of the time just make me handle it (I was reception/senior cashier). And then I'd hijack the next work meeting to explain to people what a relay call is. But that only ever informed a handful of people at a time.

    Sometimes they did hang up and were like, "That was so weird. What the heck's a relay call?" I'd explain, scold them for just hanging up, and then insist on answering the next call, which was usually the relay call again.

    From the other end it sounds a little weird, like it is a collect call or some such, but if you tell them you have no clue what a relay call is, they will explain it to you before they even connect the call properly.

    So, I assure you that from the other end of the line there should be no reason for people to hang up.

  26. This is very good to know! I'm writing a book on Sign Language and Deaf Culture, and I will be sure to put this in there! (I remember the first time I talked to a deaf person, and I was talking about her in third person and she told me it was kind of rude. Now I know why.) You rock, Rikki!

  27. Ah this is nothing new. I'd tell my hearing friends about my deaf "war stories" about how often hearing people hung up on me and what happened afterward. You know – more likely reason why hearing people hung up so fast because relay operator would announce that there is deaf person on another line, so I was told by my several friends and they said it was freaking them out at first then they gotten used to it.

    Luckily, in modern generation, relay calls became easier now, with video phone calls – you can turn off some options if you want relay operator to announce who are they or not expect in some situation – like medical calls or bank calls which relay operator must announce who are they – it's law in U.S.

  28. Damn girl, why you gots to be giving my number out to everyone? Also, how awkward is phone sex with tty? You know someone has got to have tried that by now 🙂

  29. Oh! I got call like this at work (only it was a message ‘cause she called after hours). I didn’t know it was thing. I thought it was cool. And the translator was really clear in the beginning, explaining what was happening. I don’t know how anyone (especially people in customer service who answer phones for their job) could be confused or think it’s a telemarketer. The message wasn’t for me, so I didn’t have to know at the time, but how do you call back? (This might be really stupid question.)

  30. I worked at a call center and we received relay calls a lot. It never phased me….but for some reason it threw some people so bad. I never understood it. To me it was the same thing as using an interpreter for any other language. The only problem I HAD with it was when the person in the middle was incompetent. It was rare….but sometimes the person in the middle didn't speak English well and I questioned how well they were relaying either person's information. I felt bad for the deaf/hard of hearing person too because you could tell they were frustrated too.

  31. On the one hand I want to say something about people being dicks… On the other – I know that amount of scam/advertisement/prank calls that people receive daily is so big they just don't believe that someone can be serious about that… Thank god chat customer support is more and more popular. Maybe that's an option.

  32. I hate when this happens to me, every single time. Sometime I have to tell the operator not to explain and just get my message across OR if I would go down to the business that I had tried calling, I would ask to speak to the manager and tell them to educate their staff on better accommodating with the Deaf callers and that they need to be patient.

  33. Thank you for explaining this! I always wondered how TTY worked, I didn't realize there was a third party involved. Makes sense.

  34. So a few months ago I was at work (I work at a hotel) and I received a call from an individual who said he was from a company and was speaking on behalf of a deaf person. So at first I was trying to work with him until I realized this kid was totally messing with me. He tried to get me to say something innapropriate and even swore at me because I asked: Are you legit? So I hung up and reported this to my boss. Other than that, I've never experienced this, but I'll do my best to help, answer the call.

  35. Companies told me that they "don't have time for that." And then they hung up on me, which lost me as a customer of them.

  36. That, and we are also all human beings who just are also trying to make calls to get stuff done, too. We have the right to call to get that done, too.

  37. I didn't really know where to ask this question, but ive recently started providing CC on videos and ive noticed a lot of videos are not open to add CC, especially in reagrds to creators with large fanbases, and often when they are, the creators themselves wont approve the CC (often i think its because they're not aware that you can have others contribute CCs and that they have to approve the CCs themselves) , I was wondering if it'd be okay to contact them through their business emails/comment section? I'm afraid it might be seen as rude or like misusing their email but I genuinely wanna help and provide more closed captions?

  38. I have actually received a call with an interpreter, and I wanted to briefly share the story. I answer calls at a mortgage company, and at no time was I ever told what to do if I received a call like this, and when it came in I felt so bad that I didn't know what to do. See, we are bound by a lot of regulations on who we can discuss private financial info with, and I had no direction on what to do in this situation.

    Thankfully, there are a lot of people more experienced that than I am in my office. I apologized profusely and let the caller know I need to verify what our procedures where, because again I had not been told. They were very understanding, though I would not have blamed them for not being, and it only took a moment to ask a coworker, who immediately said, "act as though the interpreter is the borrower, proceed as normal." And I did. Well, so much as I was able. Their loan was actually with our sister company, so I explained I would need to transfer, but that I would get them with a person, and I didn't complete that transfer until I knew the person I was handing them off to was aware and comfortable of the situation. I felt better afterwards, and if it ever comes up again I will know what to expect.

  39. When I worked at a call centre at some point in my life, and I know the video calling service that helped the deaf person talking with me introduced the call with "This is a relay service interpreting for a deaf person. Please speak as you would to any other person. there may be delays during interpretation."

  40. I'm a hearing person, and while I completely agree with everything you said, I'm also a bit curious, because thanks to social media and the internet and texting and all that, it's literally been years since I've needed to call someone by traditional telephone for anything. There's usually always an online option. So why don't you just go for that?

  41. This is probably one of my favorite vlogs you have done thus far.  On point. True. Been there, done that.  THANK YOU for validating every frustrating feeling i have when I'm making phone calls.  Hopefully you will feel confident enough in your Sign language skills soon to be able to use a videophone because I'm like you (oral, but learned sign language later in life) and One Line VCO has legit changed my life!

  42. This is why I try not to hang up right away. My family's business gets telemarketer calls all the time. So, sometimes we hang up. But I try not to until I am positive it's a telemarketer.

  43. ah yeah I think ive hung up on some deaf people at work now I see this, answered the phone at customer service for a while, got this call a couple of time where some computer voice explains me something and then I get a live line but noone is talking just static, waited a while nothing came through so I'd just mention we had a chat service on the website and hung up. This was a big telecom company I was working for, we never got any instruction about how these things work and what to expect. I think the computer voice mentioned this was a call through this or that accesibility service, but it didnt really explain just stated that and bang connected me through. was only after the call I Figured it was probably a deaf person calling.

  44. so i worked at a pizza place and i was totally cool with taking these type of phone calls, but my boss who was a total dick and he himself would hang up on them, and when i had to take like 20 minutes or whatever to get the order through he'd get mad at me. i wish he got called out like you called out those gym people lol.

  45. "Have you ever…" has to be the worst way for an interpreter to open the call, sounds like they're gunna talk about PPI, car insurance or a crash you didn't have.

  46. I don’t know why but the iPhone tty feature is disabled in Australia and I suspect most countries besides US and Canada (can anyone confirm?) I’d love to use it but have to settle for an app our relay service provides. Good enough but annoying when the company I’m calling offers a tty number and I can’t use it.

  47. I work for the NRS, essentially the new version of TTY, and it's so good to see a point of view from someone that uses the service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *