Friday, August 16, 2019
I'm Deaf -- Not Late Deafened
I'm Deaf. I'm proud to be Deaf, too But there are a ton of labels people put on me and it causes me to feel discomfort.
I was born deaf in one ear and I lost all of my hearing in my other ear after I learned how to speak. Some people label me as being "Late Deafened," but it offends me to a point and challenges my Deaf identity.
I mean, I can understand their point, but I'm a firm believer that each Deaf person should be "labeled" with whatever terminology he or she prefers. I don't want to be labeled as "Late Deafened." When I think of a LD adult, I think of people who lipread and speak and use CIs and try to make themselves fit into the "hearing world." (I hate that term, by the way.) Yes, I know that I might be stereotyping but it still goes to show that LD adults often (not always) try to be/act as "hearing" as possible. I don't want to be hearing, so therefore I get offended by the LD label.
Yes, I know there are plenty of deaf people who are Late-Deafened. ALDA (Association of Late Deafened Adults) conducts a convention annually and, at the convention, they provide sign language interpreters as well as captioning. You will meet a hodgepodge of deafies at an ALDA convention, but the majority think of themselves as Late Deafened--not Deaf.
If you're not sure which terminology to use with your deaf acquaintance, please simply ask them what they prefer. It will save embarrassment and the possibility of offense. For me? Call me Deaf. I'm proud of that.