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Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.

Is it easier to communicate with a deafened person in the summer than the winter? 

After careful consideration I have to say, yes. Huffing breath clouds concealing lip forms? Nope, 

It’s all down to my favoured gilet that I bought in early autumn so this is my first winter’s experience with it. Gilet is a broad term, so I’ll briefly describe mine:- tweed, hip length with a nice deep collar which wants to stand up and cover my neck up to ear level. The long fit fits Long excellently, providing cover and warmth to my back as well as preventing cold wind incursion. That last bit’s important because the extra pressure I’m currently exerting between waistline and belt doesn’t stop my T-shirt un-tucking. Odd that. 

The collar is the problem, particularly when driving. As I’ve mentioned previously, I turn my head towards Sue when talking to her, just enough so she can see my lips, without compromising my view of traffic. I always keep both eyes on traffic and road conditions – there, that’s the safety message done with. 

So there we are, Sue lipreading me as we drive. Or would be if the left side of my collar wasn’t blocking the view. I fold the collar tip down but it springs back up, so I hold it down when I’m speaking which needs to done when the road is clear and I can spare a hand from the wheel. I’ll stop wearing it when the temperature goes back up, trouble is the garment is so comforting to wear. 

While I don’t wear them, mittens are worth mentioning. Definite conversation killer when it comes to signing. Even wearing gloves with fingers can make it difficult for a hearing impaired person to differentiate some signs and finger spelling can just be shadows against shadows. So, if frostbite isn’t imminent, lose the gloves for a moment or two. Could go for those jazzy gloves with different colour fingers. 

Luckily, cold weather isn’t a long-term issue for us in the UK although it does raise the question – how do Inuit people managed deaf communication as they expose as little flesh as they can to the environment.