More Names for Deaf

The recent post 17 Names for Deaf is hereby amended.  After some amazing feedback and discussion, here are EVEN MORE names that people use to describe the experience that is deaf and hard of hearing:

Pre-lingually deaf This refers to someone who is either born deaf or becomes deaf before they learn to speak.

Post-lingually deaf  Someone who becomes deaf after acquiring spoken language.

Deaf-Blind Those with varying levels of both deafness and blindness may or may not identify culturally with the deaf community, and thus may or may not know American Sign Language.  Some people have been deaf for a long time and then acquire vision loss as an adult, whereas some might have had long standing blindness and lose some or all hearing ability later on.  These factors will dictate their communication choices. To name a few: sign language adapted to fit their field of vision, tactile sign language (ASL into the hands), verbal speech/residual hearing using hearing aids and/or Cochlear Implants, Braille.  The American Association of the Deaf-Blind and the Helen Keller National Center are excellent resources if you’d like to learn more about this awesome community.

Legally Deaf I’ve seen this one in the media quite a bit. It leads the hearing public to believe we are ready to show proof of deafness at any time. Card-carrying deaf, yep.  Actually, unlike legally blind, there is no exact definition of legally deaf.  Sounds pretty legit, except it’s not.  Which is too bad.  I’d like a card.

Hearing difficulty I think this is similar to the term “hearing problem”.  While it gets the point across, I find it’s missing some fizz.

Deaf of deaf  A term used to describe a deaf person who also has deaf parents.  Sometimes deafness runs in families.  I have known some folks where deafness runs for generations.  This term is used with love and pride.  Deaf pride!

Don’t/Doesn’t Hear Ok, after all this about terminology and labels, this one may seem silly.  But I have to admit, it WORKS.  My sister used it once to introduce me to some friends.  I had asked her beforehand to make sure they knew I was deaf (you know, so they didn’t think I was insane), so she says, “This is my sister Jennifer.  She doesn’t hear.” HA HA!  Ain’t that the truth!

From the philosophical to the very blunt, this list just underscores that it’s hard to know what to say sometimes.  But when you come up with a doozy, you can bet someone is blogging about it somewhere!

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