For some people, the concept of asking whether being deaf is a disability is weird question to ask or it’s complicated. For others, it’s very straightforward.
It will really depends on how you want to look at it. But in this post, I talk about it from MY own perspectives rather than treat it as a one answer that suits everyone.
You watch the video…:
…listen to the podcast here or on your podcasting platform of choice…:
or read the transcripts below.
Is deafness a disability?
It’s a weird question, isn’t it? Or is it? Because a lot of people would think that, well, yes, it’s kind of quote “impairment.” And by the way, I’ve said it before, don’t use the word “hearing impairment” or “hearing impaired”. Not a good thing but let’s get back to it. Is deafness a disability?
And the reason I ask that because there are really no clear answers and it actually depends on the person you’re talking to. And that might be confusing because for some people from the outside looking at it thinking, well yeah it is a disability and I get the reason for thinking like that. And I think one of the reason it’s because of the medical model of disability and people look at it in a different light.
I’ve talked about that previously before you can check it out on the differences between the social model of disability versus medical model of disability. But it just depends on who you are and how you look at it.
And of course, when I say who it depends on, of course it depends on the deaf person involved and they will look at it in a different way. And I’m going to share what I think and what I look at it as, but don’t assume that every single person will think of it like that.
Everyone’s different. Just like in the real world, everyone is different about their feelings toward anything. And that includes deafness.
My personal thoughts about the link between deafness and disability
So here are my thoughts: deafness if a disability for me.
However, I look at it differently than a lot of people. So for me I look at it from a social model of disability which is really the reason that these bodies existing. It’s not because of me. It’s not because of my hearing. It’s not because of my equipment from whatever. No, it’s because of how everything is set up around me.
So for example, if I go to a cinema and the movie are not captioned, the problem is not me. The problem is that the cinema have not provided the facilities to allow people to access the content. And that is a mindset of having that social model of disability. That’s how I look at it by being deaf. I see it’s yes as disability, but from a different input.
I don’t see it as, “oh, it’s a medical thing and the problem is me and I’m really can’t live my life because of that”. I used to think like that but then gradually as I got older and wiser (and that happens), I thought that its not the right way to look at it.
Unfortunately it was kind of pushed onto me from I don’t know, different people, the hospital and people who are not aware of what it’s like to live my day-to-day life. And they just assume they know best, but they don’t. And they push that kind of mindset that if you want to achieve something then it’s up to me to make it happen
Now of course its up to me, but the bodies are existing. Its not because I caused that barrier its because society and the attitude in society has caused those barriers. It’s not my fault. Technically it’s not my fault that I am like this and everyone else.
So that’s why I look at deafness as disability.
Why some people don’t see it as a disability?
But there are a number of people who don’t look at it as a disability at all. Now they tend to be what is traditionally called the capital ‘D’ deaf community.
Capital ‘D’ Deaf vs small ‘d’ deaf
What’s the difference between ‘Deaf’ and ‘deaf’?
And these are people who they speak in sign language, that is their first language, they grew up in that they come from a generation of deaf people and they are incredibly proud of being deaf. It’s part of their identity, they immerse themselves in deaf culture, everything about it. That is who they are and they don’t see it as a disability. They just see it as a normal thing, a way of life.
And that can cause a huge debate in the deaf community because some people disagree with it and some people agree with it, but that’s why I said there are no clear answers because it just depends on that person, their upbringing and their situation, and how they lived their life. You can’t really pinpoint one person and label everyone the same as that person.
But that makes things very, very complicated. There are conversations happening online where deaf people are extremely angry, or sometimes aggressive about being called disabled. And they take offence to that because it’s not a disability, and that’s how they see it. It’s actually a blessing. It’s a positive in life. It actually makes their life better. But the way I want to look at it, is I’m not going to force them to change their mind.
Approaching disability it from a differening mindset and model
But my mindset is just think about it from a social model of disability. That you don’t have to look at it as because of your medical condition, you can’t achieve things in life. You can’t have a successful career or get a house or travel around the world.
That’s the problem that people think about is because of a medical condition, but I don’t believe so. I believe it’s because of how society, the attitude, and the physical bodies are set up. It’s not thought of from the right mindset. They thought of it differently. It’s like, “oh, poor person. That person can’t achieve because of that medical condition”.
Well, no, that’s not the reason really. It’s just because you haven’t set up the facility to provide the benefit for wider people, more people. And that can happen. You know, curb-cut effect, sounds like that. And that’s kind of the thing I follow.
Deafness for me is a disability, but that’s how I look at it. I am very interested to hear from as many people as possible. How do you see it? And by the way, when I say you, you are not deaf, then that’s fine. Share your thoughts about it because it’d be interesting to generate conversation. If you are deaf or however you call yourself, hard of hearing or late-deafened, anything like that.
What do you think? Is it a disability? Do you classify yourself as disabled? I am. And that’s okay. I’m okay with that because I don’t look at the word disabled or disability as a horrible, negative thing. And I want to change that actually and I used to think like that, but not anymore. But I’m really curious about other people
What do you think? How do you see it? And even if you don’t really like the idea of being called disabled, I’d love to know your thoughts behind that as well. I’d love to have that conversation and see what people think about it.
Because like I said, it’s not just me who thinks like this, there are other people who also think like this, but there are people who don’t and I’d like to make sure that I don’t just assume that everyone thinks the same as me. You can help me with that.
Let me know, share it with me in the comments down below. And as always, while you’re at it, make sure you hit the like, heart, hug, fist bump, chest bump, maybe that’s a thing as well. Do it all.
I just want to make sure that I can get my message out there as much as possible with your help, that can really make a difference as well. In the meantime, I will speak to you again soon.