Enjoy listening to music and receiving the latest weather information from your car’s radio? Webinars and podcasts? Audio-books?
If you nodded in agreement to the statement above, did you know that you are what we call a “hearing” person?
Hearing: the process, function, or power of perceiving sound specifically
If your ears work just fine daily, then you are officially described as a “hearing” person by deaf/Deaf/HoH — hard of hearing — people.
The terminology’s been around since the mid-1800s, and yes, that means people with hearing loss have been hanging out on Earth since ancient times.
Mind blown yet?
We look like you. Your society keeps coming up with names to label us.
Most of you are comfortable using the term “hearing-impaired.”Eh, it’s not wrong, but all it does is distract you from the painful fact that, historically, we once were categorized as “Deaf and Dumb / Deaf and Mute.”
I mean, if someone says that they’re Hard-of-Hearing, call them that. If someone says they’re Deaf, then do NOT say hearing-impaired. Is that clear enough? A Chattanooga-raised deaf adult who has experienced countless nonsensical and illogical barriers/discriminations in your city is directly speaking to y’all on this platform: writing.
If we choose to express ourselves in our natural accent/sign language or cannot understand your verbal responses promptly, it is common to immediately assume that we are uneducated and unable to talk about stuff intellectually.
Or some of y’all live in blissful ignorance, like “oMg, HoW BeAuTifuL iS sIgN lAnGuAgE?!?”
More than ever, it’s convenient to avoid/ignore deaf individuals out in the public spaces yet fetishize sign language over social media, music interpreters, and whatever else is trending.
Please don’t come to us saying that you wish you knew sign language. There are tutorials at your fingertips. Be assertive.
However, if you’re already learning ASL, please do not expect the red carpet to be rolled out for you when you wanna show off your ABCs to fully grown signers. Just a tad awkward. I already learned the ABC song at 3 years old, you know?
From now on, when you accidentally approach a d/Deaf/HoH person not knowing his/her/their hearing loss, don’t abandon and run away!
We actually can see that, and it isn’t polite.
Instead, find a different method.
Thank you, NOOGAToday, for acknowledging that d/Deaf/HoH people exist, even in Chattanooga.
Y’all can do the same.
— A Deaf Chattanoogan