On Deaf Bias

The following blog post, from outerchat.com, describes just a few of the struggles of deafness.

There have been a few times when I held back on telling someone that I am deaf out of fear of prejudice. Generally, people accept it pretty well, but upon reflection, I realized that it’s not the person I’m worried about having a negative view of me — it’s the situation I’m in. For example, I have never brought up my deafness in a job interview because I’m concerned that my potential employer will disqualify me on the spot for it. I am aware that there are laws that prohibit any sort of discrimination against people. This holds true for overt discrimination, but — to quote a term from a sociology course I took in college — what about “institutionalized discrimination?” This is the idea of indirect discrimination against persons by institutions, such as schools or businesses. I do believe that this is prevalent in certain situations, so I tend to withhold telling people about my deafness in those situations, like job interviews or school applications.

In addition, I generally do not bring up my deafness on first dates, at social events, with new co-workers, etc. In the workplace in particular, I am concerned about their avoiding me or passing judgment on me, which would certainly affect my work situation. As for dates and social events, though it’s not as bad if someone thinks poorly of me for being deaf sice I can always meet new people.

Although, I do tell people about my hearing loss after I get acclimated to work or social situations, I still have some reservations. One strategy I use when disclosing my hearing loss is pointing out my strengths that have come as a result of my hearing loss. This works out well after I tell co-workers or people I have known for a while because they tend to be more accepting.

VITAC captioning is always dedicated to serving — and hiring — those with disabilities, including hard-of-hearing individuals.

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