How to Tell if Someone is Clueless or Mean About Your Hearing Loss

How can you tell if someone is being mean about your hearing loss or if they are simply clueless about deaf and hard of hearing people and issues?

They are most likely harmless or simply ignorant if: 
  1. They never met deaf and hard of hearing people before.
  2. They don't know that you have a hearing loss or that you are deaf.
  3. They lived in a cave in complete isolation for most of their lives.
  4. They remember that they have a deaf cousin that they have not seen in twenty years.
  5. They have never been to DeafRead to read all of the blogs debating every deaf and hard of hearing issue you can think of to death.
  6. They use terms you may hate such as "hearing impaired" or "deafness." Most likely no one has taught them that some deaf and hard of hearing people are offended by these words. (*Note: I think it is perfectly fine to use these words to describe someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.  I sometimes still use deafness to describe someone with a hearing loss. But, keep in mind, they may possibly offend someone out there. You can't please everyone. Just because someone uses these terms and you don't like these terms, does not mean that they are trying to be disrespectful).
  7. They never met you or do not know of your deaf and hard of hearing ways and ask, "What are those things in your ears?" or "What are those things on your head?" "Why are you wiggling your hands and fingers around so much?" "Why do you keep asking me to repeat myself?" "Why are acting like my deaf grandmother?
  8. They never met deaf and hard of hearing people and they ask seemingly silly questions such as, "Can deaf people drive?" "Can deaf people speak?" "Can deaf people read?" "Do deaf people read braille?" 
  9. They are not sure about how to accommodate you in certain situations. Not everyone has experienced this and often do not know what to do. 
  10. They talk to your interpreter instead of you. Again, not many people know what to do in these types of situations. 
 They are being inconsiderate if:
  1. They continue to talk to you with their backs turned to you even after you have told them several times not to do this for the past ten years.
  2. They repeatedly tease you by covering their mouths or turning their backs and asking, "Can you hear this? Can you hear me now?"
  3. They point and laugh at you. "Eew, Your hearing aids are so ugly!"
  4. They do the dreaded "mock sign language" by wiggling their fingers around in the air and make their "retard" or exaggerated "deaf" voice. Believe it or not, some people still do this.
  5. They repeatedly refuse to accommodate you when you know that they easily can. 
  6. They know that you are deaf or hard of hearing and say things like, "Hard of hearing people are so annoying." "Stop saying, "Eh? What? Huh?" all of the time!" "Geez, I wish you were not deaf!" "I wish you would listen to me! Why are you not listening?!"
  7. They repeatedly ask, "When are you going to get cochlear implants?"
  8. They make fun of your speech. 
  9. They know of your deaf or hard of hearing ways and make you participate in games useless to you, such as "Telephone" or "Marco, Polo" just to see you squirm.
  10. They know you are deaf or hard of hearing and they quietly sneak up behind you and scream "BOO!" and push you. They are even worse if they run away laughing hysterically.
  11. They make several inappropriate jokes or comments about people with hearing losses whether they know you have a hearing loss or not.


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