Hearing loss: How do you identify yourself to others?

Posted by linkeellis @linkeellis, Feb 7, 2019

As a long time member of the hearing loss group, and part of the entire dDeaf community, I find that many people have very definite ideas as to how they identify themselves: deaf, Deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, stone deaf, can’t hear really well or some other term. I find myself changing my self-identification based on whom I’m talking. If it’s a culturally capital “D” Deaf person, I say I’m hard of hearing; to hearing people, I say I’m hearing impaired or oral deaf (because they know what that means: I speak); and to my hearing loss peers, I say I’m deaf (because I am). It’s a constant dance when I’m around Deaf people. The ASL community has many issues with deaf people who communicate orally and believe everyone should sign. But that’s not how many people come into the hearing loss andor deaf world. I’m curious to know what others do. There is no right or wrong here.

Hi. Good question. It is different, depending on who you are around. I come from the hearing world. I have always had some hearing loss, but it wasn’t until my 40s & 50s, that my hearing loss became so profound. If they don’t know this, in public places, depending on their communication with me, I can get some strange looks. I probably didn’t hear what they said, and they look at me like I am crazy. 😂. Sometimes I find that I have to explain that I don’t hear well, or that I have a profound hearing loss. There are a few times I even show my hearing aids. Woah, that gets them. Then I am put into their disabled or whatever category.
I do not know sign language, but someday I plan to. Being from the hearing world, I never thought about it, or that it would ever be needed. Now, I do need it sometimes and so does my family.
JoAngela

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@joangela

Hi. Good question. It is different, depending on who you are around. I come from the hearing world. I have always had some hearing loss, but it wasn’t until my 40s & 50s, that my hearing loss became so profound. If they don’t know this, in public places, depending on their communication with me, I can get some strange looks. I probably didn’t hear what they said, and they look at me like I am crazy. 😂. Sometimes I find that I have to explain that I don’t hear well, or that I have a profound hearing loss. There are a few times I even show my hearing aids. Woah, that gets them. Then I am put into their disabled or whatever category.
I do not know sign language, but someday I plan to. Being from the hearing world, I never thought about it, or that it would ever be needed. Now, I do need it sometimes and so does my family.
JoAngela

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@joangela
Hi, You sound much like me…starting losing hearing around the 40s to a profound loss in my 60s and here I am in my 70s. I either say “I don’t hear well” or “I read lips” and sometimes add “I need to look at you to hear” I also point to my hearing aids. As you said, it depends on the situation.
I took sign language classes about 15 years ago and met a great group of people . I go to most monthly meetings of HLAA but unless you are are around others who sign on a regular basis, you will forget all you learned. My friends and family are all hearing . I’ve retained some words and phrases but I tell people that I don’t sign . You develop a family style way of signing….making up your own signs. May I suggest you learn what is called Pidgin signed English…PSE….uses a combo of ASL words and English and is easier than sign. Even my friends who are proficient signers tell me the Deaf community can’t understand them or they are doing it wrong. Friends who do sign talk and sign at the same time so you will remember what you learned. However you have to associate with them on a regular basis. All my regular friends and family are hearing. ASL is a beautiful language, though.

Regards fro Florida Mary

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@imallears You sound like me I took sign language but lost all I knew since I didn't use it We have a deaf man in here and I can understand him some and a lady that does sign she signs in her church but I can't remember any I wear h.a. but have to have people look at me when I talk but can't keep up with those that speak fast like my family here so I miss out on alot Oh what are we to do 😋

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@lioness
I think you have a good attitude towards your hearing loss and this is directed to those who are struggling with their feelings about it.
When faced with hearing loss, the only thing we can do is, first to be thankful for our health and all the good things and good people we have in life. Then use whatever we can to make our situation better…in our case,
using as much technology as we can ,
asking for accommodations, learning as much as we can, advocating etc. Yes, we do miss out on a lot and we come to terms with that and appreciate what we have.
Makes us good compassionate people to be around.
The more involved we are in life,
the less we think about what we're missing. That goes for everyone but this attitude doesn't develop overnight. It takes maturity which is not always measured in years. It takes a sense of humor. It takes a feeling of self worth. And, yes it is exhausting at times.
Hmmm sounding soap boxey now…

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there in cyber land

Florida Mary

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@imallears

@lioness
I think you have a good attitude towards your hearing loss and this is directed to those who are struggling with their feelings about it.
When faced with hearing loss, the only thing we can do is, first to be thankful for our health and all the good things and good people we have in life. Then use whatever we can to make our situation better…in our case,
using as much technology as we can ,
asking for accommodations, learning as much as we can, advocating etc. Yes, we do miss out on a lot and we come to terms with that and appreciate what we have.
Makes us good compassionate people to be around.
The more involved we are in life,
the less we think about what we're missing. That goes for everyone but this attitude doesn't develop overnight. It takes maturity which is not always measured in years. It takes a sense of humor. It takes a feeling of self worth. And, yes it is exhausting at times.
Hmmm sounding soap boxey now…

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there in cyber land

Florida Mary

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@imallers Thank you Florida Mary You do too and give good advice that's what I like about the people on connect as in my spotlight so many are compassionate here If my TINNITUS would stop ringing I'd be super

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