Don’t Tell Me What to Call Myself – By Gael Hannan
Have you ever been tossed on the stormy seas of hearing loss nomenclature?
That’s the term or terms applied to someone or something, and in the hearing loss and deaf worlds it’s what you’re called if you have it, if you are it, if you have some of it, or if you ain’t got none of it.
Deaf. Deafened. A little deaf. Legally deaf. Late-deafened. Oral deaf.
Hard of hearing. Hearing-impaired. Person with hearing loss. Hearing aid user. CI-user.
If things are too calm at meetings of people who are deaf or have hearing loss, stand up and say, “Hey, just wondering. Why don’t we just get our act together and agree that we’re all hearing-impaired.”
Then quickly leave the room and jump into a waiting car.
Nothing gets people more riled up—particularly those whose deafness plays a significant role in their everyday life—than having an undesired label slapped on their forehead. Most people, especially those with milder hearing losses, pick a description and stick with it. For them, there are no political overtones, social agenda or disability awareness attached to any term they use. It’s simply how they’re used to describing someone with the issue, or perhaps they adopted it from their hearing care professional. . . .