Deaf FAQ

I know there are countless versions of this elsewhere, but here is mine:

What do I call you?
·       Deaf
·       Hard of Hearing
·       Deaf and dumb (extremely rude, equivalent to the “N” word)
·       Deaf mute (rude/ignorant)
·       Hearing-impaired (well-meaning, but rude)
Clarity matters more than volume
It does not help to yell or talk really slowly or animated.  Speak clearly and normally at an acceptable volume.  Clarity is far more important than super loud volume.   Most importantly, face me.
Why can’t you understand me well?
People with accents are extremely difficult to understand for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing folks.  Also, men and women may be easier or more difficult to understand.  Background noise, especially other voices, makes it virtually impossible to understand someone.
“But you speak so well”
Thank you, but I don’t have problems with my vocal cords—I have problems with my ears.  Just because I speak well does not mean I can hear or understand you.
The room matters
Small, quiet rooms offer the best possibility of being understood.  One-on-one or very small groups of people are best.  One person talking at a time, please.
Your hearing changes?
Everyone’s hearing changes day to day, and within a day.  It’s such a small change most people don’t notice.  It’s a huge difference when some or most of your hearing is gone, though.  If I’m really tired or have been listening intently for a long time, my ability to hear dramatically decreases.
Context matters
If I know what we’re talking about already, I may be able to fill in gaps when I miss words.  I may also be able to lipread a little if I am familiar with you.
Can you hear that?
I don’t walk around with an eye chart testing everyone with glasses.  It’s a bit annoying to get hearing tested several times a day.  It’s safe to assume I don’t hear it…


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