Photo compliments of Brandi Wilson, Firebranded Photography
Derby has more background noise than any sport I've ever played! I know a lot of people are afraid to ask, so here's a little info.
"Is it rough playing derby not being able to hear very well?"
A lot of times, yes. Rinks are really loud and there's always a ton of background noise. So although with my hearing aids I can actually hear almost everything, my brain can't filter it out properly and speech is lost. Whenever I'm drafted to a team, I'm going to have to talk to the captain about how to make this as little of a liability as possible.
Even though it's obvious that I have a hearing problem, I'm often afraid that people just think I'm unintelligent or being difficult. I'm perfectly aware of these limitations, though, and not shy at all.
"Can you hear the whistle when it blows?"
Almost always, yes. Starting/stopping jams shouldn't be a problem. I'm afraid I'll never understand who a penalty is being called on.
"If you were jamming or got a penalty, would you hear your name called?"
I think I'm going to have to become hyper-aware of penalties called and let our refs know to signal at me somehow if the penalty is mine when I look at them. There have been derby girls in other leagues that were completely deaf, but I've had a hard time finding info. And I don't know sign because I'm not really deaf. It's kind of weird.
It may take a little help on my teammates' part. One key for me is going to be getting really good at looking behind me and being aware of who and what's going on back there. I wouldn't want anyone else to have to pick up my slack. But there's nothing I can do to make myself hear better.
I'm also kind of hoping that if I can skate fast enough and skillfullyd enough to jam or pivot, maybe I can be the person keeping mental tabs of the jam and be giving the orders/signals. Not sure if it'd quite work out that way.