Did you know that an estimated 2.8 million Canadians are hard of hearing? In contrast to this statistic, about 310,000 Canadians are “Culturally Deaf.” But what’s the difference between being hard of hearing and being Deaf? And is being hard of hearing the same as being disabled? Let’s explore the answers to these questions.
What’s the difference between being deaf and being hard of hearing?
While we don’t claim to have the complete answer to this question, it is suggested that hard of hearing “denotes a person with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss.” However, hard of hearing can also reference someone who is Deaf but does not want to be “affiliated with the Deaf community.”
On the other hand, Merriam Webster online defines the word “Deaf” as, “Lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing.” As you can see, it’s easy for the definitions of “Deaf” and “hard of hearing” to meld together. In fact, it is possible for a person to be considered both ASL-Deaf and hard of hearing.
Could someone who is “hard of hearing” be considered disabled?
Most people would probably answer, “Most definitely.” However, we understand that this is a question that can only be answered on an individual basis by a physician.
The World Health Organisation suggests that a disability is “any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.” Does your hearing loss prevent you from performing activities “normally”? If so, is it possible that your loss of hearing is a disability?
Are you hard of hearing?
If so, what are your definitions for both “Deaf” and “hard of hearing”? Do you consider someone who is hard of hearing to be disabled? We would love to hear about what medical, social, or other factors led you to associate yourself as “hard of hearing.” Your comments are important to us, so please let your voice be heard on the Disability Living blog.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Do you think hearing-related problems are commonly seen as disabilities?
What is the most difficult aspect of being hard of hearing?