Hi! I'm curious about what the term "think-hearing" means to you.

My fiancé is Deaf and says he is think-hearing and that other Deaf people have said that about him. Even at Deaf meets, Deaf strangers sometimes assume he's hearing. When he corrects them, they apologize. hah His definition of think-hearing is "to think like a hearing person". He has hearing parents, grew up learning SEE (though he does know ASL), understands hearing idioms, etc.

I recently looked up the definition online, and it seems to have a more negative tone: "("hearing in the mind," "Hearing in the head") an insulting term used to describe a deaf person who prefers to "act Hearing," “thinks like a Hearing person” or “wants to be hearing."

Once I told him of this definition, he was offended. He views himself as having one foot in the hearing world and one in the Deaf-World, so he found that definition insulting.

What does think-hearing mean to you?


Deaf/ASL user
Premium Member
I use this term for a deaf person that is immersed in hearing world who refuse to use ASL slangs with cultural Deaf people.


Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
He is engaged to a hearing woman, lives in the hearing world, with occasional forays to deaf coffee chats?

Think hearing is probably accurate.


Well-Known Member
He is engaged to a hearing woman, lives in the hearing world, with occasional forays to deaf coffee chats?

Think hearing is probably accurate.
Maybe.... But when I think " think hearing" I think AG Bell kid who totally is utterly devoted to The Hearing World and How They are A Part of the Hearing World..... he's still a bit Deaf, I think. Not super strong Deaf, but maybe bordering into semi "think hearing" territory.


New Member
We recently learnt this term in class and THINK-HEARING does seem to have a negative connotation but maybe it also has a local meaning. My teacher described it like this (roughly translated)

"Think hearing is to think like Alexander Graham Bell. Thinking things like 'maybe signing really is bad' or 'lip reading is the way!'. It is an insult to many culturally Deaf people"


Well-Known Member
ItS a negative term , slang we use that fits the bill

If one is deaf and refuses to sign or learn sign and is around us and just flaps the beak like a parrot or...yeah

He's a think hearie

If one is Deaf but Is trapped and isolated in the hearie world which is the fate for many...but signs....and uses sign..he is not think hearie
He's just a trapped Deafie who needs others like us...

There is a very real difference
Indeed its. A we use it anyway

For wannabe hearie parrots...
To them who dream wet dreams of assimilation and being hearie they prob think it's a positive


Well-Known Member
Yep, it is used as a negative and said as an insult. Based on the person's behavior appears to reject Deaf culture values - most importantly signing in ASL and not leaving others out of the conversation by talking only in their presence.


Retired Terp
Premium Member
In my local community it's certainly not a compliment to be called "THINK-HEARING". At best, it's a factual description without judgment, and at worst it's a snide dismissive insult.


Patriots Rock!
Premium Member
I have a deaf friend who "thinks hearing" she always says, " why deaf people can't accept me who I am"? I sort of felt bad for her expression. She's a very kind lady, who identifies herself deaf.

This was years ago, she got CI and so many negative views came from the deaf community about her decision . I have the highest respect for her . She polished my sign skills and am I grateful to have her as a friend.