What Is Audism And What Can We Do About It?

Audism is a form of discrimination, prejudice, and oppression that is based on an individual’s ability to hear. It is the belief that those who are deaf or hard of hearing lack the intelligence, capacity, and social value of individuals with normal hearing. 

This article will provide an overview of audism, its implications, and what we can do to address it. 

An Overview Of Audism

Audism is a form of discrimination and oppression that is based on an individual’s ability to hear. Audits believe that deaf people do not possess the same level of intelligence or social value as people with normal hearing. This form of discrimination can manifest in a variety of ways, including language choice, employment practices, educational opportunities, and social exclusion. 

The Origin Of The Term “Audism”

The term “audism” was coined by deaf activist Tom Humphries in 1975. Humphries defined audism as “the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears.” This definition focuses on the superiority complex of those with normal hearing, rather than the inferiority of those who are deaf. 

The Effects Of Audism

The effects of audism are far-reaching and can have a profound impact on the lives of those affected. People who are subjected to audism often feel isolated, misunderstood, and invisible. This can lead to a wide range of psychological, emotional, and social issues. For example, research has found that members of the Deaf community are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. 

What Are the 5 Signs of Audism?

The signs of audism can vary from person to person, but there are five common signs that indicate someone has been subjected to audism:

1. Refusal to sign language

Audism is exhibited when individuals are discouraged or prohibited from using sign language, an essential form of communication for deaf people. 

What should we do in such situations? 

We should create an environment where sign language is welcomed and encouraged. We can also educate hearing people about the importance of sign language in order to foster understanding and acceptance. 

2. Denial of access

Audism is exhibited when deaf people are denied access to the same resources, services, and opportunities that individuals with normal hearing enjoy. Also, when deaf people are denied access to communication tools, such as hearing aids and assistive technology. 

What should we do in such situations? 

We should work to increase access to resources and services for deaf people. We can also advocate for the use of assistive technology in order to provide deaf people with equal access to communication. 

3. Negative stereotypes

Audism is exhibited when people with normal hearing have negative and/or incorrect assumptions about the abilities of deaf individuals. 

What should we do in such situations? 

We should work to dispel stereotypes by educating ourselves and others about deaf culture and the capabilities of deaf people. 

4. Discrimination in education

Audism is exhibited when deaf students are not provided with equal access to educational opportunities, such as quality curricula, teachers who know sign language, or updated technology. 

What should we do in such situations? 

We should strive to create an equitable educational environment for deaf students by advocating for better educational resources and providing support for teachers who are knowledgeable in sign language.

5. Exclusion from mainstream society

Audism is exhibited when deaf individuals are excluded from participating in social activities, such as joining clubs and organizations. Also, when deaf people are excluded from activities that involve communication, such as conversations at work or social gatherings.

What should we do in such situations? 

We should strive to create a more inclusive society by making sure that deaf people have equal access to social activities, conversations, and employment opportunities. We can also create more inclusive events, such as workshops and seminars that include sign language interpreters. 

What Can We Do About Audism?

The good news is that there are steps we can take to address audism and create a more inclusive society for all. Here are some of the most important things you can do: 

Educate yourself and others about audism

Learn about the history of Deaf people, their culture, and the systemic barriers they face. This can help inform your understanding of how audism operates and what you can do to address it. 

Advocate for equality in all areas of life

Speak out against discriminatory practices, support Deaf-owned businesses, and volunteer with organizations that are working to advance the rights of Deaf individuals. 

Create more inclusive spaces

Host events that are welcoming to people with all types of hearing abilities, and make sure your workplace is accessible for all. 

Respect Deaf culture and language

Learn about and use sign language respectfully, and celebrate the cultural contributions of Deaf people. 

By taking these steps, we can work together to create a more inclusive world for all people—regardless of their hearing abilities. 

Elizabeth Willett (MA)
Elizabeth Willett (MA)
Elizabeth Willett has an M.A in health and fitness, is an experienced trainer, and enjoys teaching children about healthy eating habits. She loves to cook nutritious meals for her family.

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