Identifying as d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing

When is it appropriate to inform people of your hearing loss?  I posed this question to my d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing friends.

Deaf and hard of hearing people differ on when they tell others that they have hearing loss.  Yet, all seem to agree that it is their place to reveal their hearing loss, not the place of others.  

Here are some responses:

Please do not tell people that I am deaf.  It is my place to do so.  I like to lip read until communication becomes a problem, and then I identify as deaf.  It is not always necessary for people to know that I cannot hear.  But if someone is speaking to me, and I don’t realize it, just give me a nudge and point to the other person.  I will get the idea.  

I am not dumb.  I am independent and strong. I do not need the help of others.  When you tell others I am deaf, you are taking away my power.  It is up to me when to reveal.  

I don’t want my deafness to be the first thing that people learn about me.

I’m HOH but I tell others when it becomes obvious that I can’t hear what they say very well.

I’m mute & I sign. As soon as I would’ve started speaking, I sign instead.

Over the years when I meet new friends, after they find out, I have learned to say straight up that I prefer to tell others in my own time. I also have to joke around about giving me a minute to process info before responding, that asking me immediately after every sentence if I’ve heard them just loses my train of thought. I say that that if I miss something, I’ll let them know. It also helps to explain to friends that telling everyone I’m deaf behind my back only causes people to freeze up at social events and *assume* how I handle myself in groups. People start over enunciating words and asking if I heard them-people I just met! 

I don’t announce it to everyone.  I’m often told they had no idea I was deaf until months later, I prefer this way of meeting new people so they realize they can relax their body mannerisms and I don’t require shouting to hear.

I am deaf, and I tell others when there is a problem with communication.  Usually, I ask them to face me, so that I can lipread.