Over time there have been debates surrounding deaf culture and the perception of deafness as a disability. The importance of deaf culture and a rising community has skyrocketed and therefore it is important to understand why deaf identity and culture matters.
Many deaf and hard of hearing teenagers (and even those in their later years) may find it difficult to fully understand and establish a sense of identity – specifically, a deaf identity. There is this constant battle between fitting into the hearing world and simply fitting in. It’s important to recognise that living with hearing loss is difficult and complex and that the journey to finding your deaf identity will take time.
Research exhibits that the concept of deaf identity has impacted the psychological wellbeing of those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Neil Glickman (1996) developed a theory surrounding deaf identities, through extensive research, and has come up with four variations of deaf identity. Though it is important to note that your own identity is not limited to these four categories, this is just what has been found to be the most common variations of deaf identities.
These four variations of deaf identity have stemmed from research surrounding the concept of identity within deaf and hard of hearing communities.
The technical terminology is not as important to understand, but rather it is important to acknowledge the rise of deaf culture and identity. Identity is becoming more and more fluid and complex within contemporary society, especially among deaf and hard of hearing teenagers.
Even within the deaf community as a while, there are hot debates aabout how the deaf community is represented. Deaf or deaf. Hearing impaired or Deaf. Hard of hearing or hearing impaired. Just these terms alone mean different things to different people within the deaf community itself.
It’s important to understand this:
The path to identity is long and scary, but that’s why there are so many support options available (including our Hear For You workshops, programs and mentors).