Recently, the Online American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has added a new word to its dictionary: audism. Many deaf people are excited about it since Deaf people have been fighting hard to get the word included in the dictionary.
However, the Online American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language's definitions is not the full, complete and accurate definition of the word audism. They define it as "discrimination or prejudice against people based on the fact that their ability to hear is impaired or absent."
Let me explain why that definition doesn't fully capture the meaning of that word.
Audism, like all prejudicial labels (racist, sexists), does not specify who the direction of gave the offense and who received the offense. Thus, audism can go both ways. Gallaudet has a better and more accurate definition of Audism. They affirm the fact audism is an act of discrimination that can go both ways by stating that "persons who practice audism are called audists. Audists may be hearing or deaf."
Linguistically speaking, the Online American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language's definition for audism is questionable when this term is compared with other prejudicial terms such as racism or sexism. Here, audism as generally used by the deaf population and provided on the net, does not work with well other similar labels because audism is defined as only goes in one direction (people who are against Deaf culture) whereas the definition for racism, fore example, can be applied to any person of color who is prejudicial towards other people of another color.
As Gallaudet explains in its website, audism comes from two latin words: (1) Latin audire, to hear, and (2) -ism, a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude. Thus, based on the way the word is put together, "audism" should to mean simply "discrimination based on one's deafness or hearing status," in the same the way racism means "discrimination based on race" or sexism means "discrimination based on sex." Thus, audism ought to include Deaf people who discriminate against hearing people.
Thus, Online American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language's definition of audism is incorrect since it describes discrimination and oppression as only going in one direction (hearing against deaf) and not going the other way (deaf against hearing).
When Deaf people use the word audism, it doesn't accurately describe what the deaf people actually mean to say. When Deaf people use this term, they use it describe oppression or prejudice those who have a hearing loss. To resolve the incorrect usage of audism, it has been suggested that "Deafism" be used as the word to correctly demonstrate oppression or prejudice. This suggestion seems to be an acceptable solution to this linguistic problem.