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All deaf people use Hearing Aides?
This is false. If you have such a profound hearing loss that only the loudest of noises (think close range jumbo jet), a hearing aid would be completely ineffective. Deaf people can have an extremely wide range of hearing loss, from very little, to profound. Sometimes the hearing loss is so complicated that a hearing aid would be of no use. Also, some people prefer not to wear them. There is a certain amount of stigma related to hearing aids, and many people would prefer to deal with their hearing loss, than to deal with the repercussions of that stigma. The bottom line is that it is personal preference as much as medical necessity.
Cochlear Implant usage is on the rise in the Deaf Community?
This is, unfortunately, true. It is unfortunate, not because of the technology itself, but what it means for Deaf Culture. As technology advances, cochlear implants are becoming better and smaller. As we know, 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Those parents are more likely to opt for the Cochlear Implant in order to bridge the social, cultural, and physical chasm that exists between their child and themselves. These two facts have led to an increased number of children being implanted. Formerly, these children would drift towards the deaf culture as a way of assimilating with others who understood them. Now, with all of the advances in implantation, these children identify more with the hearing community than the Deaf. This is leading to a decline in both the number of individuals in the Deaf Community, as well as the number of individuals who have use for ASL.
Cochlear Implants are a miracle fix for someone with a hearing loss?
Here is a little known fact about Cochlear Implants: in most C.I. patients (especially those implanted later in life), use of their implant causes an intense headache. There is nothing miraculous about having a headache every time you make use of your “cure”. Many people think that once a person has a cochlear implant, they will hear the same sounds as a person who has no hearing loss. This is false. The C.I. allows for “sensations” that are then translated into meaning. It is like learning to detect sounds with your kneecap and calling that “hearing”. There is no “miracle fix” for someone with hearing loss, there are simply adjustments that are made. It is up to the individual whether those adjustments steer them towards the Hearing world, or the Deaf world.
Capital “D” Deaf means that the person attended a residential program, uses American Sign Language, and feels like they are a part of the Deaf Community?
We have discussed previously what the term Deaf means to an individual. It is an identity, not a label. It is not uncommon to hear of a person with profound hearing loss, who is extremely active in the Deaf Community, and an advocate for all things Deaf, to be referred to as “Big D Deaf”. The capital D is the primary indicator of self-acceptance. The Deaf individual is not looking to change him or herself, and is unwilling to let anyone else change them.
Lower case “d” deaf means that the person most likely attended a mainstream program, may use ASL or some form of it, and also may use amplification devices?
The lower case “d” indicates a medical diagnosis. The person that identifies with the hearing world, and sees being deaf as a handicap that is to be fixed. The deaf individual usually wants to be known as something other than deaf, whereas a Deaf individual is, first and foremost, Deaf.
It is not unusual for deaf people to have difficulty with the English language?
This is true. The English language is incredibly complex. We have words that look the same but mean different things, sound the same but are spelled differently, odd rules for pluralizing, and that’s just the beginning! Add the fact that for most deaf individuals, English is their second language, as well as the linguistic rules of ASL being completely different to those in English, and…well…it’s pretty easy to see why deaf people may have difficulty. They are not alone either. Most major publications hire a “copy editor” whose only job is to correct the spelling, grammar, and syntax of the writer’s work. Many native English speakers, born and raised into the language, and taught how to use it at every stage of their schooling, still struggle to follow all of the complex, and seemingly ever changing, rules.
Deaf people prefer to use the TTY than a videophone?
This is the perfect follow up to the previous question. It is true that the majority of the deaf community prefer to use a videophone to a TTY because, when using a videophone, they can use their native language of ASL. Using a TTY requires the user to be able to write, read, and comprehend English. While this is certainly possible, it would be rare to find anyone, deaf or hearing, that would feel more comfortable conversing in his or her second language.
Another reason that the videophone is preferable is for linguistic nuances and non-verbal cues. Head nods, eyebrow movement, and eye gaze are a few examples of “non-manual markers” and are extremely important to the meaning behind what is being said, and are how ASL users display prosody, or voice inflection. If you think about your own English conversations, you will notice that you use the speakers voice inflection to understand if their comment is rude, sincere, sarcastic, or even funny. These nuances are lost when the conversation is in text, and the speaker’s intent can easily be skewed. Anyone who has ever opened an email or received a text and thought “What do they mean by that?” has had first hand experience as to the clarity that inflection can add to a message. Videophones can add back in the meaning that simple text is lacking.
Deaf people use flashing lights to indicate a knock or noise?
They sure do! Many Deaf homes have lights that will flicker to indicate that someone has pushed the doorbell or that the phone is ringing. There are also lights installed on the smoke detectors to indicate when there is a fire, and many Deaf have a pillow or pad on their mattresses that will vibrate when their alarm goes off in the morning. The world that we live in is very much centered around sound which means that accommodations must be made so that the Deaf have equal access to the information that Hearing people receive through their ears.
American Sign Language is becoming more popular under World Languages?
True. With advances in diversity requirements, more and more members of the Deaf community are gaining access to equality in both the educational and professional worlds. Because of this, more of the hearing population is becoming familiar with both ASL itself as well as ASL Interpreters. The extra exposure has created an interest in the language, which in turn, has led to schools adding ASL to their foreign language offerings. This change in attitude towards ASL is a huge advantage for the Deaf because the more people that know ASL and understand Deaf Culture, the more equal access there will be for the Deaf.
American Sign Language is more popular than Signing Exact English?
This is true for many reasons, and those who use ASL will likely share their opinion with you, loudly and vehemently.
The main difference between ASL and SEE is that ASL is a language, while SEE is not, nor was it ever intended to be. SEE is a system that was devised to help Deaf children learn English. The system is cumbersome, requiring nearly twice the number of signs as the same sentence in ASL, as well as adding hand shapes to indicate some words and word endings such as: the, is, -ing, -ed, etc.
Not only does SEE remove the beauty of ASL, it also changes the structure. SEE, like English, is a linear language. One thing leads to another, and you must wait until the end to get a clear picture of the concept. ASL begins with the picture, or the concept as a whole, and adds to it. Here is and example:
“The boy is climbing the tree.”
TREE-BOY, and show him climbing up the tree.
(Words in bold are signs or movements that do not exist in ASL)
“THE BOY IS CLIMB-ING THE TREE”
As you can see, a lot of the magic is missing.
SEE should not be confused with PSE (Pidgin Signed English). PSE is ASL in English word order. While it is not a language, nor is it as beautiful as ASL, it is accepted as a mode of communication in the Deaf Community.
Most deaf children have deaf parents?
False. Only 10% of deaf children have deaf parents. The remaining 90% have hearing parents. These children are more likely to attend a public school with a mainstream program, have an amplification device, and rely on oral skills, or Signed Exact English, as opposed to ASL.
Working with a deaf person requires an interpreter all of the time?
There are many day-to-day activities that do not require an interpreter. Often the deaf person will communicate with pen and paper in order to ask general questions, order fast food, go to the pharmacist, and other mundane tasks. Though many Deaf use an interpreter for on the job training, staff meetings, and other important work functions, there are very few who have an interpreter with them at work at all times.
If you do not know sign language, it is acceptable to write back and forth with a deaf person?
True! This is one of the most acceptable and often used methods of communicating with a deaf person, if you don’t know ASL. Many members of the Deaf community developed a tendency to carry a pen and notepad with them so that they are readily available when needed.
Deaf people don’t mind working in noisy environments?
You may find it surprising to learn that this is false. The word “deaf” is an umbrella term that may refer to people of many different degrees of hearing loss. Some people may be bothered by high tones, others by low tones, and still more by mid-tones. Even people with complete hearing loss can be sensitive to “environmental noise”, which are the vibrations caused by sound waves. Working in a noisy environment can be just as distracting for a deaf person as it is to a hearing person.
Deaf people tend to be more sensitive to the light?
This is true. It is not uncommon for people who experience sensory depravation to have their other senses compensate for the one that is lost. Deaf people may be more sensitive to light, vibrations, smells, or even tastes. Light is also an important issue to consider when signing too much, too little, and reflections can make it difficult to see the other person.