Can HOH genuinely identify as Deaf?

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
Great post! Just to add I'm HoH and still needed still needed speech classes. Not at the intensity of some of my profoundly Deaf friends, but I was still very young when I lost a great deal of my hearing and was in speech in elementary school.
Oh yes I know. Pretty much ALL HOH kids still have to have speech. Very few HOH have perfect "like hearing" speech
 

Jane B.

Well-Known Member
Oh yes I know. Pretty much ALL HOH kids still have to have speech. Very few HOH have perfect "like hearing" speech
Then I was one of the exceptions. I lost all hearing in the left ear at age 5 which helped because of the amount of talking I was doing by then. I was pulled out of class in grade school (which was fall of 1948 through spring of 1956) every now in then for a hearing test but had NO SPEECH THERAPY which was available for those that needed it. It was probably not in the way it is today.
 

peekaboo

Well-Known Member
I don't think so. I mean in today society in the Deaf Community, they welcome us... ONLY IF YOU KNOW ASL OR SOME SIGNS. I know this very experience. Do they identify us as Deaf? No. But they do understand our struggles, most of the time. Some just think we are faking it. It takes a lot of willingness to be a part of the DEAF/ Deaf community to identify us as one of them. Most of the time they will. But not all ... I can talk like a hearing person, that came with practice, practice, practice throughout the years as a child. I didn't start talking up until I was 7 years old. Of course, ASL came in much much later. But I am happy that I am able to communicate with the Deaf community and be accepted, its a family thing I am proud to say out loud! :grouphug:
 

zeefour

Active Member
What I've found hard is opportunities to be more involved in the Deaf community. I take ASL at the Deaf charter school in our city but even the most advanced class isn't quite advanced enough. I'm one of the few Hoh/Deaf other than the teachers who teach at the school. Its mostly hearing family members. Even in our major city theres one or two Deaf events a month same with the other city 1 hour + away. A lot of times i can't even make those events. Ive tried Glide to practice my ASL but its mostly hearing students.

How can a mainstreamed HoH girl be more imvolved in the Deaf community like this??
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
What I've found hard is opportunities to be more involved in the Deaf community. I take ASL at the Deaf charter school in our city but even the most advanced class isn't quite advanced enough. I'm one of the few Hoh/Deaf other than the teachers who teach at the school. Its mostly hearing family members. Even in our major city theres one or two Deaf events a month same with the other city 1 hour + away. A lot of times i can't even make those events. Ive tried Glide to practice my ASL but its mostly hearing students.

How can a mainstreamed HoH girl be more imvolved in the Deaf community like this??
With patience and persistence.
It's too bad it has come to this, though.
Hang in there.
 

zeefour

Active Member
With patience and persistence.
It's too bad it has come to this, though.
Hang in there.
As my dad's ohana says, mahalo! (My dad is kanaka maoli, Native Hawai'ian, mahalo is thank you!!)

I had an amazing ASL professor in school last semester. She is hearing but works for Child Find the birth through age 3 program in our state that goes into homes of deaf babies and toddlers and exposes them to ASL, their families are involved too, it's a great program I wish I had it when I was younger! Anyway she really encouraged me. She went to Gallaudet for grad school and encouraged me to look into Gally as well as become more involved with the "Deaf half" of my identity that has been hidden for most of my life.

I stayed after today in ASL class (the one I take at the newer Deaf charter school in the metro area) It's mostly hearing family members of Deaf students but I'm in the advanced class. The teacher is about my age, she's 100% big D Deaf and went to Maryland SFD and then Gallaudet and now teaches 1st grade at the School for the Deaf. I brought up this issue and asked for her opinion. I also said how hard I feel it is to find Deaf events. She said she'd email me, hopefully she'll be able to let me know about more Deaf events and help me get more involved in the Deaf community in our area.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
Then I was one of the exceptions. I lost all hearing in the left ear at age 5 which helped because of the amount of talking I was doing by then. I was pulled out of class in grade school (which was fall of 1948 through spring of 1956) every now in then for a hearing test but had NO SPEECH THERAPY which was available for those that needed it. It was probably not in the way it is today.
You were UNILATERAL and postlingally HOH. Very different from bilateral and prelingal HOH.....and even then most postlingal and unilateral kids generally do not get speech, or need intense services or placements. (ie dhh program or school) Unilateral kids do get FM usage and front row seating....there's been more of a push for them to get HOH style accomondations in the mainstream, but generally they just get followed by a TOD to make sure they do OK.
 

ecp

Member
I don't like that analogy. I'm legally blind without my glasses or contacts too but with them I can see almost perfectly. Even though I've been that way since kindergarten I don't require extra adaptations to see, I can drive, I can read, etc. so I do not consider myself visually impaired. With my hearing aids, I do NOT hear anywhere close to perfect. I had years of speech therapy, I required an FM system, I had an IEP all through school, I have a dog when I'm alone outside because I still can't hear anything behind me, etc. If someone has super mild hearing loss as a post lingual adult, and with their hearing aids they're back to very close to regular hearing sure. But I bet you that's not anywhere close to the case for 99% of HoH people who have any connection with the Deaf community. If a child was born blind and with glasses could see some shapes and colors, but still not be able to read without special accomodations and things like that, would you still consider them visually impaired even though they aren't completely blind, use a cane and have a seeing eye dog? Yep. That's a much closer analogy.
You literterally restated my analogy. I didn’t say it was perfect but without glasses my vision is less than 20/300 and it isn’t perfect with glasses.

I hesitated using the visual impairment because correcting vision is much different than attempting to correct hearing loss.

I’ve also had IEPs my whole life. I’m profoundly Deaf (I can “hear” 250hZ and 500hZ at 110dB) that is it.
 

ecp

Member
You were UNILATERAL and postlingally HOH. Very different from bilateral and prelingal HOH.....and even then most postlingal and unilateral kids generally do not get speech, or need intense services or placements. (ie dhh program or school) Unilateral kids do get FM usage and front row seating....there's been more of a push for them to get HOH style accomondations in the mainstream, but generally they just get followed by a TOD to make sure they do OK.
What exactly is your hearing loss history?
If I recall correctly you have conductive hearing loss which is MUCH different from SNHL because there is rarely a distortion component.
 

zeefour

Active Member
You literterally restated my analogy. I didn’t say it was perfect but without glasses my vision is less than 20/300 and it isn’t perfect with glasses.

I hesitated using the visual impairment because correcting vision is much different than attempting to correct hearing loss.

I’ve also had IEPs my whole life. I’m profoundly Deaf (I can “hear” 250hZ and 500hZ at 110dB) that is it.
No I didn't. If what i said is what you were trying to say you didn't clarify. All you said is without glasses you're legally blind but youre not visually impaired. I said thats a poor analogy. I made a very different one saying someone who uses glasses but cant see close to ideal and still needs all sorts of support and servuced can call themselves visually impaired. I pretty much made the exact opposite point.


But you're "truly Deaf" i guess I'm not i wear hearing aids so i must be in the wrong. (I know you didn't say this but its how posts like yours make HoH people feel)
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
What exactly is your hearing loss history?
If I recall correctly you have conductive hearing loss which is MUCH different from SNHL because there is rarely a distortion component.
What does that have to do with anything? My loss is bilateral and from birth. Hearing aids still don't 100% correct conductive loss. I had the exact same experiences growing up as did my friends with SNHL. I'm still HOH with aids.....
 

ecp

Member
No I didn't. If what i said is what you were trying to say you didn't clarify. All you said is without glasses you're legally blind but youre not visually impaired. I said thats a poor analogy. I made a very different one saying someone who uses glasses but cant see close to ideal and still needs all sorts of support and servuced can call themselves visually impaired. I pretty much made the exact opposite point.


But you're "truly Deaf" i guess I'm not i wear hearing aids so i must be in the wrong. (I know you didn't say this but its how posts like yours make HoH people feel)
The funny thing is that I use a cochlear implant (it shouk be visble in my signature). Some people on here used to say that me wanting a CI meant I was never and never will be Feaf despite using ASL my whole life.

I apologize that my words made you feel less than. That is a crappy feeling. I quit AllDeaf for a few years because DeafDyke & I had disagreements about whether I was “deaf enough”. While I was gone I realized that I have genetic sensorineural DEAFness I’m not going to let other people define me
 

zeefour

Active Member
What does that have to do with anything? My loss is bilateral and from birth. Hearing aids still don't 100% correct conductive loss. I had the exact same experiences growing up as did my friends with SNHL. I'm still HOH with aids.....
The funny thing is that I use a cochlear implant (it shouk be visble in my signature). Some people on here used to say that me wanting a CI meant I was never and never will be Feaf despite using ASL my whole life.

I apologize that my words made you feel less than. That is a crappy feeling. I quit AllDeaf for a few years because DeafDyke & I had disagreements about whether I was “deaf enough”. While I was gone I realized that I have genetic sensorineural DEAFness I’m not going to let other people define me
Thank you @ecp that's really big of you to apologize, it's pretty rare especially online.

I think the miscommunication came because I thought your point was someone with hearing aids (like myself) calling themselves Deaf in any capacity would be the same as someone who wears classes considering themselves visually impaired/blind. I too am legally blind without glasses or contacts and while I don't see 100% perfect with them I'm as close as possible, and have never required special services or accommodations to see or function in a visual capacity and would never ever consider myself to be "visually impaired". My hearing loss is a completely different situation, even with hearing aids I'm definitely not able to hear anywhere close to "normal" or "perfect" (I usually avoid using those words in this situation but I'm not sure how else to explain it).

I guess it's just a sensitive issue for me. Like I've explained numerous times all over AD, I've been mainstreamed my whole life and growing up in a rural area I was literally the only Deaf/HoH kid other than my little brother who's hearing loss was worse than mine when he was born, we were both born with mild-moderate hearing loss that was genetic, but I was then in a car accident that fractured my temporal bone and made me profoundly Deaf. My little brother remained in separate specialized speech and reading classes into high school and was also on an IEP but he doesn't even really consider himself HoH just hearing impaired or having a mild hearing loss. But anyway, I didn't really have a choice but to learn to function in a hearing environment. Right after the accident when the extent of my new hearing loss was discovered and I was getting ready to go back to school, CSDB was recommended to my parents. It would have been an absolutely minimum 3 hour drive, not counting mountain road closures and traffic for bad weather, rush hour city traffic for two major cities we'd have to drive through, etc. They didn't want to send me to board, being so young and just being in such a serious accident. Also this was the early 90s and there was the belief that mainstream was "superior" because an English based education was superior.

I went to Aspen camp every summer and had Deaf/HoH friends of all backgrounds and abilities there. But as I got older I developed the sense I wasn't Deaf "enough". My ability to participate in the Deaf community was incredibly limited. When I was in college and was able to explore ways to participate in the Deaf community on my own, I felt like I didn't fit because my ASL was pretty bad. I can use signed English pretty well but I started to learn how different SEE/SE was from ASL. I didn't have much self confidence most of my life, and in this case it made me feel like I wasn't good enough and I'd never get it since I missed out on learning it fluently as a child. When I was first in school for Deaf ed I had this AWFUL ASL professor. He was Deaf and constantly complained about how bad audism was and how discriminated against he was. He said I wasn't Deaf because I tried to fix something that's not broken with my hearing aids and being able to speak and I wasn't a part of the Deaf community. He berated when I made a mistake by using a SEE sign and pretty much made my life hell. I dropped out. As I matured and started teaching I started to grow out of this attitude, which led me back into school and back into ASL courses. This time I was lucky enough to have a wonderful teacher who encouraged me to explore my Deaf identity and where I fit in the Deaf community as a HoH girl.


Sorry for writing a novel as a response, my main point is just that even though I'm in a much better place about where I fit in in the Deaf community, becoming fluent in ASL is still hard for me because of almost 25 years of SEE/SE education and use. My ASL is at the stage where to become actually fluent I need to be around other Deafies, but I still feel hesitant to try to seek out opportunities to do this because of years of being told I wasn't Deaf enough or not being exposed to the community. The opportunities online are almost all hearing ASL students which isn't a bad thing but not necessarily what I need at this point.

This is just my journey. I'm sure each HoH person and even many Deaf people have their own complex stories of their struggle to find their identity in the Deaf and hearing worlds. It's way too personal, nuanced and complex to have a single answer IMO.
 

BecLak

Well-Known Member
Thank you for sharing your life-story. It does draw attention to the struggles many of us go through when we have not grown up in the Deaf Community. It is also hard for those Deaf on the other side of the coin, who have a long history of being discriminated against, and a strong sense of protection for Deaf language (sign language) and culture, to be less that trusting towards 'newcomers'. Where there are also many from the hearing community who just think it's all a new fad and glamorous to 'speak with your hands' 'It's such a beautiful language' etc, etc. Who ignorantly turn us all into a freak-show. I agree with Beowulf. If you truly want to be accepted into the Deaf Community, then it is the same as with any culture, persistence and perserverance is the key.
 

zeefour

Active Member
Thank you for sharing your life-story. It does draw attention to the struggles many of us go through when we have not grown up in the Deaf Community. It is also hard for those Deaf on the other side of the coin, who have a long history of being discriminated against, and a strong sense of protection for Deaf language (sign language) and culture, to be less that trusting towards 'newcomers'. Where there are also many from the hearing community who just think it's all a new fad and glamorous to 'speak with your hands' 'It's such a beautiful language' etc, etc. Who ignorantly turn us all into a freak-show. I agree with Beowulf. If you truly want to be accepted into the Deaf Community, then it is the same as with any culture, persistence and perserverance is the key.
Very good points. The only thing I'd say is to be careful clumping HoH individuals who want to become more involved with their own Deaf identity as the same kind of newcomers/outsiders as hearing people just learning ASL and trying to learn about and in some cases be involved in the Deaf commumity. Being HoH isnt easy. I'd compare it to a situation that happened to many of my family on my dads side as Native Hawai'ians. Many children were taken from their families and culture and forced to only use English and be "American". When these children returned to their communities wanting to learn their ancestors language and customs they weren't outsiders they were community members wanting to learn what had been taken from them. While being mainstreamed and raised using hearing aids or a CI isn't as egregious as what happened to native children there's some parallels. It's not fair to treat us like outsiders or foreigners because of choices we didnt make for ourselves. I'm working hard to be fluent in ASL not because its a novelty to me but because it allows me to access part of my identity and community i was prevented from accessing fully before.
 

BecLak

Well-Known Member
Good point too, Zeefour, this is the point of this thread's discussion, to bring to light a lot of what you have just stated. I am in the same boat as you, having being born severely-deaf, the only one deaf in a hearing family and mainstreamed oral, being deprived of sign language and connection to the Deaf Community. I myself am similar to you, now desiring to establish my Deaf identity. Yet, being pretty much isolated, I am struggling to get fluent in sign language. AllDeaf has been my lifeline to fellow Deafies. I wasnt intending to clump those like us together with the hearing group who are here just on a fad.
 

BecLak

Well-Known Member
P.s. Rather than to say that it is often that hearing group who only see it as a passing phase, which causes problems for us as to building trust.
 

zeefour

Active Member
Good point too, Zeefour, this is the point of this thread's discussion, to bring to light a lot of what you have just stated. I am in the same boat as you, having being born severely-deaf, the only one deaf in a hearing family and mainstreamed oral, being deprived of sign language and connection to the Deaf Community. I myself am similar to you, now desiring to establish my Deaf identity. Yet, being pretty much isolated, I am struggling to get fluent in sign language. AllDeaf has been my lifeline to fellow Deafies. I wasnt intending to clump those like us together with the hearing group who are here just on a fad.
Ah I'm so sorry for misunderstanding! I guess I've just experienced people who don't think as HoH as true Deaf, like I chose to be mainstreamed, learn speech, use HAs, etc. I can't imagine what going through the oralism era was like. Like I said I did speech therapy but probably in a very different way, supported with at least some sign and other forms of communication. Thanks for sharing as well!

And I 100% agree with you. A lot of hearing people see signing as "beautiful" which can be kind of demeaning. I think the whole baby sign fad didn't help it reinforced the stereotype that 1) any signing is the same and 2) that it's "easier" to learn than speech, that it's something that babies can master etc. not realizing that it's a full and complete language like spoken English. For many it's also a passing phase.
 

BecLak

Well-Known Member
Im one of those so-called 'oral success stories'. I can speak well enough that the average hearing person doesn't pick up that I'm deaf. Kids usually say something along the lines of 'you speak funny'. Everyday, to speak orally takes concentrated effort and is exhausting. To understand what others say is even more so, since i only hear vowels (no consonants) its like playing 'Wheel of Fortune' every waking hour. It very much depends on the setting and surroundings. Visibility, lighting, seating, view of mouth and face. As you all well know. People don't understand why I prefer and advocate for sign language.
 
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