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Breaking Down Generalized Assumptions About Hearing Loss

With a week until SIGNS OF ATTRACTION releases (insert me dancing around and breathing into a paper bag) I’ve begun to notice a few interesting things about writing about hearing loss, namely something I’ve known my whole life.

Hearing loss is one of those things that people think they know about, but in reality they know the generalized incorrect information that floats around. Part of the reason why I write what I write, beyond utilizing my own ears and life experiences.

So, let me break some of it down for you:

  • I do not use hearing impaired in my novel, except in reference to negativity. Because hearing impaired, for those of us in the Deaf Community, is a negative term. It is not a term that encompasses all types of hearing loss. It’s negative. I am not impaired, I am not less then, I am different.
  • On the flip, some people (and some other countries) with a hearing loss do consider themselves hearing impaired. That’s their term and they are free to use whatever they want to self-identify. If you do not have a hearing loss, please refrain from using this term unless someone with a hearing loss uses it first.
  • Hard of hearing vs deaf: A person who is hard of hearing has some usable hearing and usually benefits from hearing aids and is able to communicate to some extent with the hearing world. A person who is deaf has no usable hearing, and while they may get some environmental sounds, are not able to communicate easily.
  • Deaf vs deaf (as well as Hard of Hearing vs hard of hearing): Capitalization is a cultural indicator. I am Hard of Hearing, because it is a part of my identity, but I was born hard of hearing, because this is my disability. You’ll notice in my book that Carli and Reed use these terms differently because of where they each are with their own identities.
  • Hearing aids, as I’ve mentioned in my vlog, are not corrective tools. They amplify sounds, make things louder. They don’t make me hearing, and they don’t make Carli hearing. The worse a hearing loss is, the more distorted the sound and less voice recognition is received. I don’t listen for comprehension with my deaf ear, there are certain sounds I can’t hear, even with hearing aids.
  • ASL is a full language. While some people can write in ASL, most ASL users use English for writing and reading. ASL does have a different grammar structure than English, it’s not Signed English (which is another debate I could go into, but it has nothing to do with my novel).

And that’s it for now! I may make another post later on, but until then, pre-order my book, there’s lots of goodies in there about hearing loss, and some amazing characters to meet!

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