Tam Le, a reader, recently shared her memorable experience of trying out a unique barbershop in Hanoi with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. The shop is known for its distinctive communication style, as the owner and his wife interact solely through text messages and gestures.

Le recounted how new customers often express their desired hairstyle upon entering, only to discover the unique way of communication employed by the couple. Despite this initial surprise, all are drawn back to the shop after the first try.

A Harmonious Wordless Experience

Le shared that she urgently needed to wash her hair one day and decided to visit Tuan Hang barbershop on Tay Son Street in Hanoi’s Dong Da District. Upon entering, she was greeted by the shop owner with a warm smile and a gesture to read an introduction on the wall.

The introduction revealed that the owner, Tuan, is a highly skilled and experienced hearing-impaired barber who requests customers’ assistance in effective communication to achieve their desired hairstyle. Le described how she naturally covered her mouth with her hand to maintain silence, respecting Tuan’s condition.

She noticed several strategically placed signs, from basic to detailed instructions, to guide customers through the process. One sign requested customers to refrain from private phone conversations or excessive head movements to ensure a beautiful, efficient, and convenient haircut. Le highlighted how the salon owner communicates via text messages throughout the shampooing, haircutting, and nail care services, ensuring mutual understanding and customer satisfaction.

During her hair wash, Hang, Tuan’s wife, would text her questions about water temperature and the preferred style of scalp massage. Le also observed Hang’s adept use of sign language and gentle touches on the shoulder to signal, always accompanied by a warm smile and expressive eyes conveying her willingness to serve.

Tuan and Hang opened their shop in October, with Tuan specializing in men’s haircuts and Hang focusing on nail care and hair washing. They rented the space for a competitive price, entering into competition with nearby establishments. However, their unique selling point is the quiet ambiance coupled with unwavering politeness, kindness, and attention to detail.

Hang (left) and Tuan communicate silently with each other. Their harmony is remarkable, as they navigate their business and personal lives with hearing impairment. Photo: Tam Le / Tuoi Tre

The couple’s harmony is exceptional, and their sole communication through gestures does not hinder their consistent kindness and affection. They support each other in their work and rest, with each glance and touch serving as a tender form of connection.

A Story of Tragedy and Love

Le delved deeper into Tuan and Hang’s story and discovered that both have been hearing-impaired since childhood. As they grew up, they independently mastered their crafts, eventually met, fell in love, and got married. Today, they find contentment in their professions and in raising their three-year-old daughter, who does not have a hearing impairment.

Tuan, born in 1992, tragically lost his hearing permanently at the age of four due to a febrile seizure. Hang, born in 1996, faced a similar fate, losing her hearing and speaking abilities at birth. She is the youngest of three siblings, the only one in her family with a disability.

Recalling the day her son lost his hearing, Tuan’s mother, Bui Thi Han, shared how she rushed him to the clinic with a high fever. Despite assurances from the nurse about the safety of the prescribed medication, Tuan’s hearing loss became apparent a few weeks later. Han regrets not seeking treatment at a larger hospital, attributing it to her lack of awareness at the time.

Tuan faced educational challenges due to his disability, completing only fourth-grade education as the local school lacked sign language teachers. As he grew older, he pursued carpentry schooling and later found employment at a factory. However, his life took a turn when he met Hang and decided to leave carpentry to pursue hairdressing, inspired by her work as a hairdresser and nail artist.

Tuan faced initial rejection from Hang’s parents, who were protective of their daughter. Undeterred, he sought the help of his articulate uncle, who represented him and arranged a meeting between the two families. The gathering culminated in a joyful celebration of the couple’s love and their wedding in 2018.

Tuan plays with his child. Their small family navigates life’s challenges with love and support. Photo: Tam Le / Tuoi Tre

Hang and Tuan decided to open their own shop to transform their lives, and today, they manage their business and small family with determination and a shared entrepreneurial spirit.

A Circle of Friends with Shared Dreams

On a revisit to the couple’s hair salon, Le coincidentally encountered a gathering of their friends, all with hearing impairments and a shared passion for entrepreneurship. The group, composed of five friends from various provinces and cities, discussed business ventures and aspirations with enthusiasm.

Among them, Ngo Duc Trung and his wife run a coffee shop in Binh Giang District, Hai Duong Province. Trung, who lost his hearing and suffered a deformity in his left hand due to his father’s exposure to Agent Orange, met Tuan and Hang in a communication skills class. Today, he and his wife are instructing two students in making salt coffee, supporting their entrepreneurial journey.

The group also includes a friend from Phu Tho Province, who sells salted coffee on the sidewalks of Hanoi, and another friend who operates a motorcycle taxi and delivers goods. Tuan and Hang, in addition to their barbershop, sell Siamese coconuts, occasionally selling out. Trung shared that everyone in the group juggles multiple occupations to sustain themselves and pursue their dreams.

These gatherings serve as a source of inspiration and support for this circle of friends, united by their shared experiences and aspirations.