“e) ” over at Eh? What? Huh? wrote this post on where she stands on deafness categories. I decided to do the same, to show just how things vary from person to person. When my hearing loss first occurred, I strongly felt the need to label myself…but wasn’t sure where exactly I fit in. I have Bilateral Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, coupled with continuous Tinnitus. In my left ear my loss is profound and would not benefit from a hearing aid. In my right ear, my loss is moderate/severe. I wear a hearing aid in the right ear, “The Diva”.
So what do I consider myself in regard to my deafness? I consider myself deaf, with a “small d”…on the road to Deaf, with a “Big D”. I found that some hearing people will classify you themselves, strictly according to your degree of deafness. Degree of deafness may be used as only one of the deciding factors. Categorizing is a personal decision. There can be many clues to help you figure out which category a person see themselves as. But if you just can’t figure it out…and are dying to know, as sign of respect to the person, just ASK him or her whether they are D/deaf or HOH, never assume that you already know.
I consider myself a “small d” because of my degree of hearing loss, the fact that I do still see my hearing loss as a disability, and the fact that I’m not yet as fluent as I wanna become in ASL. I consider myself “on the road to Big D”, because of my close ties with my Deaf friends, who are now my family, and the fact that I’m finding more positives concerning my deafness. I can honestly tell you that being referred to as HOH offends me, because I KNOW what hearing is like for me, and HOH to me doesn’t even scratch the surface.
How do you see yourself?
Does it bother you for people not to ask whether you’re a person who is D/deaf or HOH, if they are unsure?