The Big D: deaf vs. Deaf

By Raven Heroux

Ever see someone write “d/Deaf” or make a distinction between “deaf” and “Deaf”? Yes? No? No comment? Well, there’s a reason for the big D.

If someone is deaf (little d), then they are “hearing impaired” (the politically correct term for the whole spectrum of deafness). Which, medically speaking, means they do not have perfect hearing, ranging from hard-of-hearing to profoundly deaf.

If someone is Deaf (big D!), then they are culturally Deaf. It is an identity, one that holds pride. The inability to hear is not a sole factor. In fact, you can be hearing and Deaf. Deafness is a culture, with customs, a language, a community, and a way of life. Deaf people do not believe they are disabled; their way of life just differs from the hearing community’s.

(Image Source)

Want to experience life the way d/Deaf people experience it in a hearing world? Northeastern University is hosting “Deaf Deaf World” this month, February 23. No voices allowed–only signing! Go to the bank, visit the travel agency, get a tattoo, and order food at a cafe! Here’s your chance to communicate with d/Deaf people through pseudo-real life experiences.

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One thought on “The Big D: deaf vs. Deaf

  1. Richie says:

    I guess I’m the minority. You see, I was born profoundly deaf and am still deaf. I use American Sign Language as well as spoken English for my job dictates that. However, I don’t use the “Deaf” because it is gramatically incorrect. You don’t see Blind, Midget, Paralyzed, etc.

    Hats off to Northeastern University for teaching the other people a thing or two about deaf people! 🙂

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