The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted 25 years ago, yet we are still discussing the same issues for people with hearing loss. The terms “disability” and “access” have morphed into just meaning physical disability and physical access. The ADA symbol for people with disabilities is a person using a wheelchair rather than a symbol showing multiple disabilities, but a wheelchair can’t visibly represent all disabilities.
The LGBT community uses initials for all the individual groups to form the name and a rainbow to reflect the diversity of the group. They didn’t select one segment to represent the entire community. Likewise, the Hispanic or Latino community didn’t choose one country to represent all the nationalities. Why is the wheelchair symbol used to represent people with hearing loss, visual impairments, and cognitive disabilities? It reinforces the misconception that the only disability of consequence is the one requiring physical access.
Republished on September 30, 2015 on Project Access: http://www.projectaccessforall.org/articles/hearing-loss-forgotten-disability/6954