“The phenomenon whereby an individual with an attribute, which is deeply discredited by his/her society, is rejected as a result of the attribute ” Wikipedia
Where you have less value and use to society because of something about you that is different. This is prejudice and acting on that prejudice is discrimination.
How often do you come across prejudice because of your hearing? How often are you discriminated against? Is it ever deliberate or does it occur because of a lack of understanding. How much do you tolerate before you act?
The reason I am asking is because a cyberfriend of mine Dr Lauren Storck is writing a paper on the stigma of hearing loss and she would like to have some examples and experiences for her research. She would use any quotes anonymously if you would prefer. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I know that almost everyday I experience some form of stigma. Most I chose to ignore, some days I laugh at the moment. Other days, when you know that you have been denied a job, a promotion, an opportunity because the people you are dealing with think that because you have a hearing loss that you function at some lower level.
The BBC used to have an excellent radio programme called “Does He Take Sugar” which looked at issues faced by people with disabilities. Its title is taken from the way that some people will address the friend of the person with the disability and not the person in the wheelchair. They have made an assumption that someone using a wheelchair can’t hear/think/talk. My BFF uses a wheelchair, often when we are together she has to repeat what others have said so that I can make out what has been said. She doesn’t answer for me, she understands only too well what it’s like to be pigeon holed, for others to make assumptions about your abilities.
Some quick examples from this week.
On Sunday MLM and I went out for a meal, the waitress spoke to MLM only. She wouldn’t look at me and attempt to speak clearly, nor would she write anything down. Mind you, she made a mistake in the order so maybe her writing isn’t very legible…..
In hospital, for the implant. I couldn’t get TV in my room. I don’t know if this was because there were no captions because the man who came to talk to me about it left when I said that I couldn’t make out what he was saying because I was deaf.
There was the OR room assistant who would not remove her mask when she was talking to me, nor would she let me keep my specs on until I was asleep. Why not? Aren’t my needs as important as someone with hearing?
There are different models of disability, the medical one where disability is a disease to be cured, and if it can’t be cured it should be quarantined. The social model is inclusive, where society and the built environment should be changed to accommodate our differences. The cultural model embraces what others might call a disability creating a world where having that “disability” no longer puts you at a disadvantage.
The classic stigma for deafness and hearing loss is in the phrase “deaf and dumb”. At one stage in my life I wore a badge/pin saying “Deaf not stupid”, I felt it was such an issue that I needed to confront it. I’ve seen people passed off as demented when they were deaf, no one had tried other means of communicating with them.
What are you experiences, thoughts, opinions??