The Deaf Bulletin 2016 Issue 4

The Deaf Bulletin 2016 Issue 4

Understanding Deafness: Do the Deaf want to hear?

Assuming you can hear, and you turn on the television and there are pictures but there is no sound, what is your immediate reaction? Do you go on to watch the pictures without the sound or do you try to do something about it?

In my case I automatically find the TV remote and adjust the volume but I have often seen people comfortably watch TV with little to no sound. I guess it’s really a matter of
preference. In the same way, some deaf people would want to hear and are in favour of corrective measures like cochlear implants and speech therapy. However, others are very comfortable being Deaf and have no desire to hear. The debate about corrective devices for hearing impairment is one of the most controversial issues in Deaf circles.

It’s very easy to assume that deaf people hate being deaf and would do anything to be able to hear but Deaf people actually like being deaf. Research has shown that many Deaf people are quite comfortable being Deaf and would not want to change it, after all one cannot miss something they have never had. Being Deaf is a cultural identity.

Deaf communities around the world represent cultural minority groups whose Sign Languages are different. It’s very easy to assume that the Deaf are the same everywhere partly because there is very little information on the dynamics of Deafness.

The fact is however that the deaf are not a single homogeneous group. Indeed the challenges they face may be similar but that has more to do with society’s failure to accommodate the deaf rather than the homogeneity of the deaf people.

Other topics covered in this bulletin are:

  • Malaria Awareness Day – 25th April
  • Access to information for the Deaf: The National Heroes Acre.
  • The Sign Language Finger Spelling Alphabet.