A blog from Nigel Morgan about his interaction with a deaf girl.  

Nigel Morgan is a great friend of terptree, he is a former chief reporter at the Newbury Weekly News who has run the public relations and social media consultancy Morgan PR and regularly supports us. He is also a Director Consultant with networking organisation BNI; and is worth talking to if you want to grow your business.

When we heard he had met a deaf girl on a train we asked to hear his perspective on the encounter.

I was relishing having four seats all to myself as we pulled out of Paddington when a young woman hurried down the aisle and sat down opposite with a shy smile.

My Kindle was already in hand as she pulled out a hefty copy of Lord of the Rings and feeling guilty about wanting the seats to myself I said: “Good book.” She didn’t respond straight away and a few moments later looked up and smiled.
Slight odd I thought to myself and then she told me I had the advantage as I could see what she was reading. Thankfully I was not tackling 50 shades of anything and could admit to reading and explained it was a biography of William Dampier, a British explorer who had been the first to explore parts of Western Australia.

It was as I spoke I noticed she wasn’t making eye contact and was instead intently watching my mouth as I spoke… she was reading my lips.

“May I ask you a question?” I asked.

“Am I deaf?” she correctly guessed I would ask and said I had spotted it much more quickly than many.

I had to confess she was not my first lip reading deaf girl. Indeed I had first witnessed lip reading in abundance; when I attended a careers convention at Mary Hare in Newbury back around 1990. I was a journalist with the Newbury Weekly News; and found my stand at the event was really popular; and the students that flocked around were hanging on my every word, literally!

She grinned as I explained this; and she told me she had been to that very school; and it was where she had learned to read lips. I earned a compliment for speaking clearly apparently!

Not that it stopped me from talking to her while turning and looking at the countryside speeding past mind! When I did that she would laugh and ask me to repeat what I had said.

She told me how being deaf was not as much of a handicap as I might think; and reading lips was especially useful at parties. Beyond that we chatted normally, like two people who met on the train.