Many of you may be conscious of the two auditory worlds: the hearing world and the Deaf world. When the two worlds must come together, interpreters are the ones that bridge the gap.
But did you know that you don’t have to be hearing to become an interpreter? You have CIs – certified interpreters that are those who translate spoken or recorded words and literature into sign language and signs to voice; and you have DIs – deaf interpreters that translate one visual language to another visual language.
So where does that leave those who choose to interpret that are hard of hearing (HOH)? Following are the levels of hearing according to the latest scale of hearing classification hearing threshold in dB HL:
- Normal range is -10 dB to 25 dB
- HOH range is 26 dB to 40 dB
- Moderate to severe deaf ranges from 41 dB to 120 dB and beyond
HOHs are stuck in the middle and can go either way with how they identify themselves. They may be able to use hearing aids and amplifiers to bring their hearing up to normal range level but still choose to be considered proudly Deaf. And the opposite holds true.They may want to be identified as proudly and capably hearing.
Considering this knowledge, which certification would you think HOH individuals should be allowed to test for? Should it be up to the individual and how they identify themselves or be according to their medically measured auditory status? There are no laws or regulations that dictate. It comes down to if you pass the written and skills tests after earning all the required education. But note: when you test, you are usually in a quiet room by yourself with no external noise. In the real world, you may be in atmospheres with many external noises. So what do you think is fair to Deaf consumers and to the profession as a whole? Should this be considered for legitimate regulation? Let me pick your brain…