Although The Bachelor franchise may not be producing long-lasting love relationships, the show is sparking conversations around an important topic. Abigail Heringer, a contestant on Season 25 of The Bachelor, is the first deaf individual to have ever appeared on the show in its entirety. She has served as a representative for the deaf community and has started a discussion on the differences between “Big D Deaf” and “Small d deaf.” While the users of our SpeechEasy device may not be part of the deaf community, many deaf individuals do have speech disorders including stuttering. 

For many people, Heringer speaking out on national television about the gray area between “deaf” and “Deaf,” was the first time people learned there was a difference between the two. Heringer was born deaf, but she can communicate vocally rather than with sign language with the aid of her cochlear implant. Similar to Heringer, people who are hard of hearing can still usually communicate verbally through the use of assistive devices like our SpeechEasy device.


SpeechEasy emphasizes to patients that they are not alone, and we want all our patients to receive support from communities of other hard of hearing individuals. The primary difference between “Big D Deaf” and “Small d deaf” is whether the person identifies as a member of the deaf community. “Big D Deaf” refers to someone who does identify as a member of the deaf community whereas “Small d deaf” refers to someone who does not claim to be part of the deaf community. 

Big D Deaf 

Individuals who are Deaf tend to have strong Deaf identities and are proud members of the Deaf community. Deaf individuals regard the Deaf to be their own culture and gladly take part in that culture. For instance, many Deaf individuals attend schools and programs designated for the Deaf community. As a part of Deaf culture, Deaf individuals often partake in Deaf-produced plays, movies, and artwork. 

Small d deaf

While deaf individuals still experience hearing loss, they do not typically associate with the deaf community; instead, deaf individuals tend to identify with hearing people. Oftentimes, deaf individuals describe their hearing loss solely in medical terms rather than identifying as completely Deaf. While there is a clear distinction between Big D Deaf and Small d deaf, deaf individuals may progressively lose their hearing over time and transition into Deaf culture. 

SpeechEasy and Hearing Loss 

Our SpeechEasy device is similar in appearance to a hearing aid; however, rather than amplifying sound, it functions more so as an anti-stuttering device. For members of the deaf community who still communicate verbally but cannot completely hear what normal speech sounds like, the SpeechEasy device can aid in smoothing out speech for everyday life. 

We are grateful for the path Heringer is creating for the deaf community, and we want our SpeechEasy patients to have the ability to communicate effectively and confidently, too. Contact us today to receive support from our SpeechEasy team of fluency professionals who genuinely care about your success.

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