Deaf and hard-of-hearing people often experience discrimination throughout their everyday life. This is known as Audism. Audism refers to the discrimination or prejudice against individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Check out these 5 examples of Audism.
1. Not taking the time to communicate.
Just because someone is deaf or hard of hearing doesn't mean that you should not attempt to communicate with them. Our differences shouldn't keep us from communicating with each other. Certain things such as positioning yourself facing the deaf or hard-of-hearing person can help greatly. And don't get frustrated or give up when you are asked to repeat yourself!
2. Assuming deaf people can't do things.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing people encounter some pretty stupid questions, for example, "Wait, you can drive?" Never assume that a person can't do something just because they are deaf or hard of hearing.
3. Thinking deafness is a tragedy.
"You're deaf? Oh, I'm so sorry!". This is one of the worst things you could say! Deafness isn't a disease or an illness. If they're not sorry, you shouldn't be sorry either.
4. Patronizing behavior.
No one likes being patronized and that includes people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Saying things such as, "You speak so well for someone who is deaf" can be very offensive.
5. Employment discrimination.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing people often experience barriers in the workplace. It shouldn't be assumed that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are unemployable. Unfortunately, some employers assume that communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing is "too much trouble". This is often caused by a lack of information and ignorance.
Check out our video we made about these examples of Audism here:
Take a look at this heartbreaking story of Audism in action. Transcript here.