Mar 05 2012

How do people identify themselves?

Published by at 11:37 pm under Open Chat Night

The community of the deaf and hard of hearing is diverse.  People with different degrees of hearing loss will perceive themselves based on their social values and cultural values: for example, in the 1988 book Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture, authors Carol Padden and Tom Humphries have this to say:

“We use the lowercase deaf when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing, and the uppercase Deaf when referring to a particular group of deaf people who share a language – American Sign Language (ASL) – and a culture”.

While I was growing up, I would have described myself as “hearing impaired” since that was the term my parents and teachers used back then. Because I was able to hear almost 100 percent with hearing aids, I usually did not label myself as having a hearing loss, except with family members. In fact, I wasn’t even familiar with the term “hard of hearing” until I started the website several years ago.  Shortly after that, I learned that the word “hearing impaired” is offensive to some; it’s almost like using the term “deaf-mute” or “deaf and dumb.”  Of course, some hearing loss organizations still use “hearing impaired,” and their members do not find it offensive.

Share with us how you would identify yourself and what led you to that decision at Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.

You can also leave a comment here or discuss How people identify themselves in the forum.

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