I hate the phone. I can use it at work just fine... answering it, helping people, hearing what they are saying. But at home, my anxiety levels about the phone skyrocket. I worry I won't be able to hear, that the other person will talk too quickly, or that I'll answer a question bizarrely because I misheard it.
I had to call my doctor yesterday to make an appointment to get a prescription refill. They require appointments for all refills, and they only do same-day appointments, so I had to call yesterday at 7:30 in the morning to get an appointment. On their appointment line, they don't have an answering service set up. It's either a busy signal, which means you have to hang up and try again, or it will ring and ring and ring until someone picks up. It took me 30 minutes of trying before someone answered the phone. My heart sank as I heard what they were saying... "Dfsjieh, werwer, orld." Just gobbledegook, delivered quickly, and mumbled. I had to ask them to repeat themselves 3 times before I realized they were just trying to put me on hold.
Once I was on hold, I kept hearing things in the background. It wasn't hold music, but I couldn't figure out what it was. It could have been someone trying to answer the phone, I don't know, or maybe I wasn't actually put on hold but the phone was set down. I finally gave up and asked my husband to call.
It was very frustrating. It makes me feel like a failure.
|From Flickr user Diederick F.M. Cools|
Image of a telephone plugged into the wall.
There are a lot of things I have accomplished. I have a good life and I am blessed to rarely feel disadvantaged or put upon because of my hearing loss.
And yet one thing I still have difficulty with knocks me down every time.
I try to reassure myself before I make a call that it will go just fine. I will be able to hear them, I will sound professional, we will communicate effectively and I will accomplish what I need. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't work that way... and it bugs me.
I used to use relay services pretty often for phone calls. Unfortunately a lot of businesses just don't educate the people answering the phone with how to deal with relay calls. I was always getting hung up on, not getting answers, or unable to get through to people. When it works, it's awesome... and I think I may need to go back to using it for my doctor.
One thing I try to take away from "failed" phone calls is what NOT to do when on the phone. Since answering the phones takes up about 20-30% of my job, I have to know how to communicate effectively on the phone. By listening to other people failing at communicating I can be better. I have a pretty good "phone voice," and I work hard not to mumble or speak too quickly. If someone needs something repeated, I try to slow myself down and speak more clearly, not more loudly, since yelling just serves to obfuscate a voice over the phone even more. And sometimes I fail at that, too. Sometimes people insist I am speaking too quickly or not loud enough. When that happens, I feel bad (unless they are rude). I can definitely put myself in their shoes. I know how it feels.
All we can do is try... try to make ourselves clear, and keep trying even when failures happen. I will call the doctor again, next time I need an appointment. No sense letting it stop me.