Rant: On Ableism

I’ve mentioned several times that I am hearing-impaired.  I have been all of my life.  I learned sign language before I learned to speak, and I spoke when I was 3.  I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 18 years now.

Only 5 years ago did I switch from analog to digital hearing aids.  I made the switch mostly because the big clunky thing was so clearly visible.  Once people saw them, they treated me differently- speaking more slowly, yelling and even making up sign language.  I have to be honest, it angered me, and it still angers me.  They talk slowly as if my hearing impairment is a cognitive impairment- when in fact, it is congenital neurological damage [in my case].  They yell as if that makes it easier for me to hear, when the problem is not volume, but frequency, tone and pitch.  Sound has ranges, and those ranges are narrower for me than most people.  Oh, and making up sign language?  That’s just stupid.  What am I, a chimp?

These hearing aids don’t make me any “lesser” than you.  If you think otherwise, you have another think coming.  I’m so TIRED of be talked down to like a child, yelled at like an unattentive child, and generally treated “differently.”

I am an intelligent, capable and dynamic woman who happens to have a hearing-impairment.  Treat me like a person, and not a person-with-a-hearing-impairment.  I didn’t get this far in life with peoples’ pity, and I will get much further.

</end rant>

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