The Relevance Of Knowing About The Deaf Culture

 

The Deaf community in the United States utilizes a language that’s different from the rest of the Deaf communities in the world – the American Sign Language (ASL). It is what connects its members and also functions as a membership card into the linguistics of the American society that not everyone benefits from.

Losing The Stigma

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Helping break the stigma doesn’t have to be verbal. One can do his part by distinguishing the Deaf culture through capitalizing the word ‘Deaf’ and backing that up by trying to change mainstream America’s outlook about it. The Deaf community and culture don’t want to use ‘disabled’ when describing themselves because it would only give the impression that they are ‘less than’ those who aren’t deaf. This could be true, but then this is also true for those hearing individuals who don’t do anything worthy for themselves and their community as well. Getting rid of the label gets rid of the stigma that is attached to it.

“If you’re a hearing person, you no doubt see deafness as a disability that needs to be corrected,” writes David Ludden Ph.D.

Additionally, advocates often speak about the term ‘Deaf gain.” This is described as a communication advantage provided to those who need other means to communicate besides verbal language. The concept is that deaf persons connect more meaningfully and with more heart because they are hearing-impaired.

“We have thus coined the term “Deaf Gain” in opposition to “hearing loss” in order to encompass the myraid ways in which both deaf people and society at large have benefited from the existence of deaf people and sign language throughout recorded human history,” writes Dirksen Bauman, Ph.D. and Joseph J. Murray, Ph.D.

Debate On Cochlear Implant Surgery

There are several members of the Deaf community that do not agree with the idea of cochlear implants, particularly for newborns who have hearing loss. They believe that each individual has the right to choose for himself whether he wants to stay deaf, thereby giving the parents the obligation (as it is indeed) to teach their child ASL as their first language. Activists also think that learning ASL and other cognitive skills is a right that must be protected and that opting for cochlear implant surgery drives families away from that right and losing heart to embrace the deaf culture fully.

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Controversies

There are nine out of ten Deaf babies that are born to hearing parents, and most of these parents opt for their baby to undergo cochlear implant surgery just as they are medically able to. This helps them learn how to speak.

However, the Deaf culture thinks that the hearing population is just so focused on the spoken word when the fact is that ASL is a comprehensive language even though they are not able to produce words with their voices.

“Recent research has shown the many advantages of allowing Deaf children to know and use both a sign language and an oral language. It is the optimal combination that will allow these children to meet their many needs, that is, communicate early with their parents (first in sign and then, with time, also in the oral language), develop their cognitive abilities, acquire knowledge of the world, communicate fully with the surrounding world, and acculturate into their two worlds,” writes Francois Grosjean Ph.D.

Ways To Communicate

Fortunately, ASL is not the only method where we can communicate with a Deaf person. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when trying to communicate with the Deaf.

  • Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts at communication are going to be difficult and uncomfortable. This will get easier as you progress.
  • You can write if the barrier is still too strong. The Deaf person would be happy for your efforts. You can combine your communication methods, hand gestures, and writing to make the process easier and more effective.
  • Take your time and be sincere in your efforts to communicate with the Deaf person. Slow down when the Deaf person is confused and feeling insecure about the whole process, especially if he’s not taking the lesson in right away. Let him feel that it’s fine and that you can always repeat the process.
  • Do not talk to the Deaf person when you’re not looking at him. Eye contact is a vital tool for effective communication with the Deaf, as they listen and understand with their eyes. Show them that you respect them by looking into their eyes.
  • Use the start and end of your conversation as a chance to visually and physically connect with the Deaf person, particularly if he has had an interpreter throughout the conversation. Smile at him, firmly shake his hand, and make eye contact.
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Benefits Of Online Therapy For The Side Effects Of Hearing Loss

How effective is online therapy for hearing loss? How can it help people dealing with the effects of hearing loss? Will therapy allow individuals to function despite the effect of hearing loss issues? Let’s learn more about hearing loss treatment in this article.

Continue reading “Benefits Of Online Therapy For The Side Effects Of Hearing Loss”

Challenges That Are Still Seen In The Deaf Community

The lives of the deaf and hard of hearing have tremendously changed in the past decades. Modern technologies have emerged, and new policies have included solutions to further decrease the stress and difficulties of deaf persons around the world. However, there are still some obstacles that have remained.

Internet And Other Devices

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The birth of the Internet, tablets, and smartphones has transformed the way people with hearing loss communicate. Speaking and hearing are not always a requirement anymore, particularly in daily activities like ordering food or complaining of a bill. Skype. Face Time, Zoom, and other videoconferencing applications have made it easier for them to understand and learn sign language through remote interpreters and teachers. Still, some challenges continue to persist, such as the need for interpreters for deaf people who don’t have access to the Internet.

Education And Employment

Unlike in the past decades, the deaf community is no longer limited to working in factories and other companies offering hard labor. Unfortunately, although the numbers have largely changed for the better, there are still a lot of deaf persons who are unemployed for discriminatory reasons. In fact, since 2015 up to now, there have been more than 30% of deaf people who remain part-time working jobs. According to Robin E. Perkins-Dock Ph.D and co-authors, “Communication difficulties have been a significant contributor to poor employment rates, and continue to be a primary barrier to job maintenance and advancement for the employee who is deaf.”

Similarly, in the academic aspect, usual schools and colleges seldom provide a system that helps deaf and hard of hearing students survive and thrive. There are also still a low number of institutions that cater only to the deaf community. Recently, there is an estimated 30% of hearing adults that have acquired a bachelor’s degree, while there is only roughly 15% of deaf people do.

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This continuing ordeal in the field of education and employment has caused a rise in anxiety, depression, and stress in the deaf community, as evidence-based data has been released that unemployment from this group has been associated with a range of mental health problems, substance abuse, and some chronic illnesses.

Sign Language Issues

It is unknown how many individuals in America use American Sign Language or ASL, but estimates go from 100,000 to a million. Interpreters aid ASL users in interacting with hearing individuals, and it has been a requirement for public schools to offer ASL interpreters to those who need them. Unfortunately, ASL users, like the deaf and the hard of hearing, do not have control over the interpreter that is provided to him, and this issue can affect them and their capacity to communicate or decipher vital information. Alys Young further puts emphasis on it by saying that, “Interpreters are imbued with powers of representation and portrayal of the person.”

Social Seclusion

Reports say that there are nine out of ten deaf children that are born to parents who can normally heart, but only a third or less have family members who sign up to learn sign language. Some of these family members simply depend on their deaf loved ones to make most of the effort in lip-reading, but in fact, this is significantly difficult to do. This also frequently causes misunderstanding and confusion. In rural areas, on the other hand, deaf children might be the only ones in their school or their neighborhood, making it severely devastating and difficult to establish relationships. “Reduced participation of deaf and hearing impaired individuals in social life leads to a reduction in social adjustment and quality of life,” Guita Movallali, Ph.D. and co-authors explained.

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Conclusion

Although it cannot be denied that much has transformed positively for the deaf community through the years, it is still sad to know that stigma, discrimination, and negligence still exist. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals still have much to face – but so do all people who are alive and living today. Thus, the deaf community must not lose hope. And if they, together with the hearing community, work hand in hand in making the world a better place, it will be for all of us.

Interesting Things You Should Know About The Sex Lives Of Deaf People

Sex is a natural part of the human experience. Without sex, there would be no human life on earth in the first place. Yet, some people have this misconception about disabled people, such as the deaf, wherein they don’t enjoy sex, probably because their bodies are not as physically capable as others.

“This capacity to experience the daimonic quality of sex or eros is an essential and centering part of being human. It reminds us that we are, first and foremost, as Freud pointed out, passionate creatures, motivated and driven by primitive, irrational forces operating just below the surface of civilization and rationality far more powerful than our puny little egos,”writes Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. Continue reading “Interesting Things You Should Know About The Sex Lives Of Deaf People”

Deaf Teens And Their Mental Health

 

For most teenagers, being lonely and frustrated is a common thing. They often feel overwhelmed, and their behaviors are also usually affected by these feelings. Having good mental health is undeniably vital throughout all stages in our lives, but it is in finding ways on how to manage our mental health that we must learn to practice. It’s as important as taking care of our physical health, only a little harder because we don’t see it. It’s often a challenge from within us, and it can be something that we are not in control of.

Now, imagine if you’re a teen that has a hearing loss. These challenges would probably be a little (or quite) more challenging compared to your friends.’ Perhaps you’d feel like you don’t belong or that there are aspects in life that your friends don’t struggle with, but you do. Deaf adults ever receive mental health care,” say Guita Movallali, Ph.D. and collaborators. “Ones of the problems forced for deafness is depression. Depression is a serious mental illness. Categorized depression as the most disabling clinical diagnoses in the world, it has been described as the “common cold” among the mental health problems.”

But don’t despair. These thoughts and feelings are normal and common among the deaf and hard of hearing. There are choices out there, and you know where to look for these choices.

Dealing With Your Mental Health

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Teenagers handle many academic and social responsibilities – being deaf can make it even more challenging. If at times you feel that you don’t belong, every interaction with someone can be harder and more stressful. You may even be oblivious about your mental health and that it’s not in good shape right now, maybe because you’re too busy taking care of other challenges as well. But you should already have your support people behind you – your family, friends, teachers, and audiologists – who are wholeheartedly committed to helping you live the most normal life possible.

Here is a list of questions to ask about your mental health right now.

Are you having trouble:

  • Finding a support network that you can depend on when you feel like you had the worst day?
  • Socializing appropriately with classmates and friends at school?
  • Opening up about the difficulties you are facing and instead keep mum about them?
  • Accepting and acknowledging that you do need help?

If you answered yes to these questions, then bravo! You are doing quite well, considering your disability. It would be lovely to hear about your strategies on how to successfully be in great mental shape. “The importance of reliable and up-to-date support for parents’ decisions is critical to the overall well-being of their child,” Poorna Kushalnagar, PhD and co-authors wrote.

If you aren’t sure of your answers or you answered no to most of them, then perhaps connecting with people who are deaf can assist you in finally fulfilling that physical and mental balance in your life. Hook up with programs and workshops that can guide you in how to manage your feelings better. Expand your reach so you’ll learn to deal with different kinds of people.

Keep in mind that as a deaf teen, you are not alone. There are more than 5,000 more deaf people across the United States, and it would be awesome to be able to establish new and old connections through email, chat, and voice.

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Mental Health Help

One great way to find a support network during your teenage years is by reaching out to fellow deaf teens and adults alike. Some organizations make this move easier for you and they connect you to other deaf persons who have the same or different experiences with whom you can learn from.

You can also reach out to mental health professionals from BetterHelp, which is one of the most effective methods of achieving good mental health – deaf or not. The professional can help you sort your feelings and guide you into healing and recovery. According to Daniel Holzinger and collaborators, “Enhanced communication with deaf patients results in improved patient compliance with medical recommendation.”

Do not be dismayed. You, too, can dream big and accomplish amazing things. Getting to the finish line might be rough and patchy, but keeping your mental health in check will help you achieve success.