We can experience lots of problems in banks, building societies and post-offices. For example glass screens in places needing extra security and loud background noise.
10.a. The international Ear Symbol in banks and building societies, etc
(See the section on “The Ear Symbol”)
1. I look for the counter with the Ear Symbol as I’ve found that people who’ve been trained can be very helpful.
10.b. Explanations (banks and building societies, etc)
1. I tell people I am hard of hearing and ask if they could please speak clearly, louder and a little slower.
2. I explain that I am hard of hearing and can hear better if they look at me when they speak.
3. I explain that I am deaf and can lipread a little, and say “if you look at me I shall probably understand.”
4. I find if I raise my voice then the assistant looks up and will keep facing me.
5. I find if I drop my voice the assistant cannot hear without watching me and I explain that is what it is like for me and ask for them to face me when they speak.
6. When explaining that I am hearing impaired I cup my hands because almost everybody knows what that means.
7. One multi-lingual person says “I am sorry I am French. Then people become more helpful and speak clearly and slowly.
8. I find that if I say I am lipreading they try harder to help.
9. I ask for things to be written down.
10. I get people onto my side by joking with them.
10.c. Glass screens – Banks and building societies, etc
1. I look for the window loop sign. If it doesn’t appear to work I ask whether it is turned on.
2. If there is a glass window with a microphone which doesn’t appear to be working I ask whether it is switched on.
10.d. General – Banks and building societies, etc
1. It can be helpful to go through in your mind what is likely to happen before you go. If it is anything complicated make a list of questions to ask.
2. I find it helps to be assertive. If I cannot understand the cashier, I tactfully ask to see someone I can understand. After all they have my money.
3. If I need to talk to them and if they have to talk loudly I ask if we can use a private interview room.
4. Quite a few banks have a system of “personal bankers”; they sit separately and you can have a private interview.
5. With Girobank all business can be conducted by writing.
6. A lot of people said that they found using automatic cash machines could solve a lot of problems.
7. I use my Communication Card and hope that they follow the tips.
8. Ask for anything you do not understand to be written down.
9. Once you have found a helpful cashier at the bank always go to that one if possible.
10. If there is no window with a window loop I ask them to speak slowly and clearly.
11. Some banks and building societies are abolishing screens as they become more automated. I find this very helpful.
12. If the swivel part of the counter is moved inwards while the cashier speaks it may make it easier to hear.
13. A lot of deaf people say they find Internet Banking very useful.