ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►

Deafness as a disability:

Tina writes:

<<Dear Dr. Vicars,

I am a severely hard of hearing individual (who is oral - but used ASL in college) who agrees that for many deaf individuals the "Deaf community" is wonderful, and that being Deaf in THAT community is not a disability.

I also believe that in the outside "Hearing world," there are exceptions where deafness is a disability, which is why the ADA covers deafness as such.

I have Meniere's Disease, which makes my hearing fluctuate from a 60dB loss to profound deafness. The Meniere's attacks like to pop up a lot more when other things like asthma or numerous severe allergic reactions pop up. Since I have severe vertigo with the Meniere's attacks, trying to watch someone's hands moving is now impossible for me during these attacks.

In an emergency situation (like an ambulance or an emergency room), where non-deaf personnel are the norm, getting someone to go and get a piece of clean paper and print clearly on it, seems to be an impossible task, at least in Denver and it's suburbs.

Getting people to read a factsheet in 16 pt print or a doctors statement I carry that in such situations I am deaf is also an EXTREMELY rare occurrence. Just this year, I've been given two potentially fatal overdoses because people refused to read the sheet I started out pleasantly asking them -- and ended up yelling at them -- to read the list of medications I was on. How is this NOT a disability?!?

In trying to get away from the nurse giving one of these overdoses, I did hit an EMT (who had first wrenched and sprained my hand). I am the one facing assault charges. I went to the BRAND NEW courthouse for the arraignment, told everyone and their brother that I am hard of hearing and would like an FM system and a court appointed attorney -- and end up not being given either one. Again, without the ADA, I would have no recourse against this railroading.

I now have a criminal attorney (who thankfully is taking the case to a jury trial after reading the medical records for the same cost as he charges for showing up to an arraignment), a medical malpractice attorney, and a disability rights attorney.
Tina McDonald
I would recommend that any deaf or HOH person carry a sheet FROM THEIR DOCTOR or a medical alert jewelry identifying that they are HOH or deaf. Within the last couple of years, there have also been a couple of widely locally published stories about innocent deaf individuals either being arrested and jailed for several days or shot for "resisting arrest" because they did not stop when police yelled for them to. BTW, for those naysayers who think Denver is still a cowtown and that I was in some hick hospital, one of those hospitals was Exempla St. Joseph's hospital which is is on US News and World Report top 100 Hospitals in the Nation for orthopedics and Heart programs and in the top 100 for the cardiac and ICU programs with Solucient, a healthcare based information products company. The other hospital was it's sister hospital, Exempla Good Samaritan. You can choose to publish the hospital names, or not.

Thanks for letting me vent <G>


Notes:  Submitted: In a message dated 8/23/2009 1:56:51 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time.

Also see: Are Deaf people disabled?

*  Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy
DONATE  (Thanks!)

Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)  

*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel:

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University  
ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars