There is an interesting article in Sunday’s New York Times titled “Deaf and Hard of Hearing Fight to Be Heard.” Unfortunately it addresses only a small proportion of the “deaf and hard of hearing” that it purports to be about. People who are deaf like me — functionally deaf as adults with no knowledge of ASL — are once again ignored.
“Deaf” is sexy and attention-grabbing. “Hard of hearing” is something we try not to talk about. The Deaf have a beautiful expressive language visible to all. The hard of hearing are invisible.
But the hard of hearing face the same obstacles as the Deaf, and we are equally in need of accommodations — but not ASL. We need CART captioning — live captioning at all public events — and we need looping in public spaces. Ironically, considering the very small proportion of ASL using Deaf to the hard of hearing, many organizations offer an ASL interpreter but do not offer other services like CART or looping.
The article also neglected to mention the importance of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and the New York Chapter, which were instrumental in getting the recent disability-accommodation bills passed. The author mentions them without noting HLAA’s significant role, even though both the mayor and the bill’s sponsor, Helen Rosenthal, did.
Readers of this blog probably saw the recent post about that celebratory signing. Those present included representatives of HLAA and other disability-rights organizations. No Deaf organizations. It was HLAA that was there for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
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