Monday, April 12, 2010

How should you label us?

There has been some confusion over how those with hearing loss prefer to be labeled as. You've heard the following terms:
  • deaf
  • hard of hearing (or HoH)
  • hearing impaired (trust me on this - do NOT use that term with anyone)

Those terms do not come with a "one size fits all" tag. I prefer to be called "deaf". I am deaf enough that you cannot lump me with others who have slight hearing loss because that infers I can hear something. I have deaf friends, HoH friends, and hearing friends.

By rule, we do not feel offended if you ask us how we prefer to be labeled as. By asking us rather than labeling us, we get to assert our own sense of identity within the hearing world and we feel that you have shown respect to us.

As for the "hearing impaired" term, we would prefer that you never use that - it is offensive to us. However, this warrants another post because it is too long...and deserves its own post. I promise to discuss that issue in the near future.


Sunday said...

Thanks for clarifying the labels for me/us. The last thing I ever want to do is offend someone by giving them a label they would not first give themselves...if they want a label at all.

Anonymous said...


How about people just don't label others based on things they really have no control over? Or things that make them "different".

My labels for you TL are the following;
BEST Friend (you're one of mine)
Smartass (haha)

And those are just the ones I can type here in the public eye ;) lol.

I don't like to label people. I have. I don't lie or deny that. But I don't like to do it and hate myself when I have done it.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Label or not like it or not it defines DCHY! He can be proud of that or not.

I'd rather know how he'd like me to address him when telling others about him or relaying a story that had to deal with him being deaf kinda thing.

He's still incredible and maybe even more so because of being deaf. Labels aren't always bad!

Thanks for the insight!

DCHY said...

Sunday - you got it exactly right...about people wanting a label or not.

Alex - all of those fit me as well. Nobody is saying you have to label anyone. I'm just saying that I prefer to be referred to as a deaf person instead of a hearing-impaired or hard of hearing person.

Shelle - you can say "This is (beep). He is deaf." or "This is my deaf friend, (beep)." Simple as that.

Autumn said...

i can understand why you wouldn't want to be called 'hearing impaired'. just doesn't have a nice feel about it.

i'm truly enjoying getting more from this part of your perspective. it's very interesting.