The term “hearing impaired” removed from New York state’s law books

Awareness

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New York State became the third US state to remove the term "hearing impaired" from state law, under legislation signed recently by Governor Andrew Cuomo, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.

The new state legislation signed in late August changes all references in state law from the term “hearing impaired” to “deaf or hard of hearing”. There has been a push toward more inclusive language in many areas, and this is another good example of changing mentalities. The measure was supported by the US National Association of the Deaf, which says that “hearing impaired” carries a negative connotation in that it focuses on what people can’t do.

“We are delighted to learn that Governor Cuomo has signed the legislation passed by the New York Legislature to replace all references in New York laws from hearing impaired to deaf or hard of hearing,” said Howard Rosenblum, the association’s CEO in a statement welcoming the move.

Senator Terrence Murphy (Republican) said that “Advocates and members of our community who are deaf or hard of hearing find the labeling of hearing impaired to be offensive. Our neighbors who suffer from deafness or hearing issues are not broken or impaired but just the opposite. By using the correct terminology, New York State will now acknowledge and remove any stigma associated with the deaf.”

Interestingly, in the not-so-distant past and in certain areas of language usage, the use of “hearing impaired” was an attempt to avoid stigmatizing people with hearing loss by calling them “deaf”.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle

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