I have noticed that a lot of people are surprised when deafness is referred to as a disability. Even people I have know most my life have said to me, ‘but you’re not actually disabled though are you?’, I know that this is just because people don’t understand fully about deafness. Also some deaf people don’t even like to refer to themselves as deaf never mind disabled, so it isn’t always told as they don’t want to draw more attention to themselves.
The definition of disabled according the the Disability Discrimination Act is that “a disabled person is someone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”, all of which is true of deafness. personally my deafness limits me from conversation with new people as well as with my family, my deafness means that I miss out on certain sounds that may just be pushed out by hearing people, such as the the sound of birds singing. Before I got my cochlear implant, 6 years ago, I had never heard a bird sing. I also miss out on things like fire alarms, so I always have to make sure that I’m with other people who know I’m deaf at college, at the gym and when swimming, anywhere. I also have to be more careful when crossing the roads, I’ve had a few incidents with that, whoops! College is harder because I miss a lot of things, like what I need to put in my coursework, what homework I’m supposed to do and other things from the lessons, which worries me because this year is the most important one in terms of exams.
Anyway, enough about the things I find hard, but its good to remember though that not all disabilities are visible.