I am hearing-impaired (as I mentioned in passing in a post about activating a card by phone). And I can't stand getting yelled at by people who assume I'm an idiot because I can't hear instructions.
I was at the Museum of Science and Industry (in Chicago) over the weekend visiting the U-505 submarine exhibit. As I'm a geek of all sorts, I wanted to try the motion-based submarine dive sim, which has two stations for the bow and stern planesmen and allows you and another person to try operating a sub.
The exhibit had a narrator playing the part of the captain who would give out orders, and there were no subtitles, so I was left to guess (based on what was on the screen and my fairly extensive knowledge of how to drive a submarine) what was being asked for. Because it was a motion-based sim, there was an attendant who was there for safety reasons, and the attendant also would "help" you along if you seemed to be having problems.
The woman they had the day I was there needs some lessons on how NOT to deal with people. Given that the exhibit had only just reopened after a major renovation, she probably hadn't been there long, but still ... grr.
Given that it's not a good idea to just spin the wheel to max (you don't do crash dives if it isn't an emergency) and the captain asks for specific up/down angle on the planes, I tried to be realistic in what I did, but it wasn't fast enough for this woman, who would yell at you in a "what, are you stupid?" tone and would from time to time actually grab the wheel.
Not only was it offensive and insulting for her to do that and take the attitude she did ... it was also a violation of personal space, at least for me, because to grab the wheel you have to come up from behind.
I can't stand back-seat driving, as it is! And assuming I'm an idiot because I have to best-guess what was being said due to lack of captions on the instructional movie is ridiculous. And I had my hair pulled back so the hearing aid should have been visible to her as a clue that just maybe, I just can't hear the instructions!
I'm not sensitive about being disabled, but the "invisible disability" aspect of it sometimes drives me up the wall.
Perhaps a "Are you having trouble understanding the instructions?" would have been appropriate here. After all, on an actual sub there is a practice of repeating orders several times as it travels from the CO to the crewman responsible for executing the order, reducing the chance of a misunderstanding -- and these people MUST have normal hearing, or else they wouldn't have been eligible to enlist!