Monday, October 25, 2010

Politically (In)Correct?

Two people left comments on the last post in reference to the term "Hearing Impaired".

1. Hearing impaired community...huh? One thing I know is that my deaf child is not "impaired" at all. I wish people would start to realize how offending that term is. Deaf or hard of hearing is way more politically correct.

2. There is a groundswell against the words "hearing impaired" that has been building for some time. It's both irrelevant (hearing) and demeaning (impaired), and gives no sense of the capabilities of deaf/hoh people.

I have been away from the states for thirteen years, and Deaf for me is "Sordo". Period.
When I left I remember that, "This program has been closed-captioned for the hearing impaired" was still being used.

Has that changed?
What is politically (in)correct?
I need an education.


Oh, and one more thing... said...

It's not something I've heard much about. It didn't jump out at me in your last post. But now that you mention it, I would never think to call my son (who wears hearing aids) 'hearing impaired'. We use 'hard of hearing' or simply say 'he wears hearing aids'.
'Hearing impaired' sounds old fashioned or like legalese.

Anonymous said...

So... why is it that people with vision problems have no problem with calling themselves visually impaired?

Julia said...

"Hearing impaired" is still common parlance among audiologists and other medical professionals -- not surprisingly. I'm on the fence about this. If there weren't a history of prejudice and discrimination against people with one sort of disability or another, then this would be a non-issue. Saying that someone had an "impairment" would be a neutral reference to a physical fact, with no additional perjorative baggage. But in the face of that history, it's impossible not to read more into a term like "impaired" than that. Given that reality, I think that "deaf" and "hard of hearing" are more palatable. Since visual impairment is so much more common (most of us experience it personally at some point in our lives), then there's less fear and prejudice surrounding it, hence less sensitivity about the terminology. I would prefer to be able to use words cleanly without worrying about political correctness, but it's naive to deny the reality of prejudice and oppression, and the power of words to inflict harm.

Aaron Whittington said...

Speaking of closed captioning on DVD or TV, some people still use "hearing impaired" on CC in dvds. That still offends deaf community. I didnt like subtitle that's for hearing impaired because sometimes people who work there think deaf people are dumb so they dumb down captioning for them to understand, which is totally untrue. I had my brother watching movie with me and he told me he noticed some mumbo-jumbo words were taken out and changed. I'm sure you can find this issue all over deafread. I even discovered one movie (i dont know which one) that there are two subtitles that are English and English for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. Why two different English subtitle versions? It's like telling us that deaf people are dumb at English? C'mon. Most of us are smarter than that and we need education to learn new words.

I grew up orally until I was 15-ish to learn ASL for first time. I'm in love with it. Also, I was cochlear implant user! I never like "hearing impaired" words because it's like calling black people a "N" word. Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing are politically correct to describe. I cringed everytime that few deaf people who use hearing aids or cochlear implant (never been part of deaf community) introduce themselves "Hi, my name is....I'm hearing-impaired." because that's what audiologists tell them who they are.

Also, how do you describe people who lost their visions? Blind or vision impaired? Most of them used "blind". But why are we still using "hearing impaired"?

I don't blame you. We are still learning.

Dianrez said...

Aaron, the difference between "English subtitled" and "SDH" or "subtitled for the deaf and hard of hearing" is that one displays only the spoken dialogue and the other also displays environmental sounds such as music, knocking, footsteps, etc., in addition to the dialogue.

The trend is not to dumb down, but to condense the dialogue to make it fit into the time space.

"Hearing impaired" is still used in the United States by corporations and institutions that have little or no sense of working with the deaf and hard of hearing. Those that do, don't use the expression.

Even though in the past there was a drive to abolish the expression "deaf-mute" and "deaf and dumb" there is no similar drive to abolish "hearing impaired." (Yet.)

Debbi said...

Ian says "I am deaf and wear cochlear implants to hear" and I follow his lead. He has an AI itinerent and all of the school paperwork refers to him as having an "auditory impairment"...or AI. I seem to notice television saying "closed captioning provided by..." and not saying what the closed captioning is for. Actually, I'm not hard of hearing, deaf, HI, or AI...but I do like closed captions!!! Likewise, I tend to say "I need glasses to see" which, I guess, is like Ian saying "I use cochlear implants to hear"...I never cringe, though, if someone says hearing impaired vs deaf...and I guess my gut feeling is that if I hear someone say they are blind - I think they can't see ANYTHING. If they say vision impaired - I consider that they are able to see some without glasses - and more with glasses. Just my random thoughts :-)

Anonymous said...

I prefer if doctors just write down "Profound deaf, uses Cochlear implant and speechreading to communicate" instead of "hearing impaired"

And when theaters and churches says "hearing impaired accessible" I certainly hope it means captioning and not neckloop, as I don't do well with neckloops.

About the visually impaired comment, just because majority of blind and low vision people are ok with it doesn't mean we have to be ok with hearing impaired. Nor people have to be ok with "walking impaired". Beside, blind and low vision people don't even have to be ok with visually impaired if they don't like it.

Also visual is a little different from hearing. Because communication is our heart and soul that make us human, hearing impaired make me feel I'm a broken verison of people who use hearing to communicate and interact with other people. I don't know why I feel that way when I think of hearing impaired, but I just do. speaking of communication, This is why deaf culture is very unique. They use a language that accessible to all deaf and HOH people so they can laugh, cry, fight, or just express how they feel. They are not even hearing impaired in that type of culture.

Anonymous said...

It's based on cultural preferences. The oral deaf, deaf, and hard of hearing usually prefer the term hearing impaired. While the culturally Deaf community feels it's a slur and demands that they be referred as Deaf, not hearing impaired.

So it is politically incorrect in the Deaf Community, but not in the deaf community with no ties to the Deaf culture.

That's how I see it from talking to a wide range of D/deaf people


Unknown said...

Thank you for your comments. Deep comments that explained the situation and your perspectives. Deaf is a personal experience that each person lives intimately based on how life approaches you and how you approach life. I don't use the term, but many people still do. (for now)

Anonymous said...

Oral deaf prefer the term "hearing impaired" is an over generalization and subjective. Typically those who are raised oral have been surrounded by hearing professionals that have used the term "hearing impaired" around the oral deaf person's parents. After years of being labeled "hearing impaired", that is all they know themselves to be. Given some awareness on this topic, that same person may change how they label themselves to something less negative.

If a person lives in a box all they know are the walls that surround them, but if they have an opportunity to get out of that box...they may find a whole new world exists:)

kim said...

When I first began self-disclosing my hearing loss to others I used the term 'hearing-impaired' I liked it because it seemed more inclusive and people understood what it meant.

Then one day I was skiing. I had just gotten off a chair lift and was adjusting my goggles before heading off, and I was thinking about how lucky I was to have two working legs. Despite the hearing loss, I thought, there were so many things I could enjoy and skiing was one of them.

Just then a man with no legs swished by on skis made especially for him. I was struck dumb for a few seconds watching him go down the hill. I realized that though this guy was considered 'DISabled', he was able to ski-- and he skied better than most everyone else on the slope. He rocked my world.

I never used 'hearing impaired' again. I am not challenged, not 'impaired.'

kim said...

Correction-- I meant I AM challenged, not impaired.

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