The Navajo term jééhkał is a way of saying that there’s been a loss of hearing. It is used to describe both those that are hard of hearing and those that are completely deaf.

Sometimes, someone that has no physical hearing impairments can be called jééhkał if they do not listen – as in take the advice of those more experienced.

The term nijééhkał means “you are deaf/hard of hearing.” In combination with Yaadilah, one may say out of frustration to another, “Yaadilah njééhkał!”

There is also shijééhkał and bijéékał (or jééhkał by itself) which denote the first person and second person, respectively.