Are you aware of Deaf Culture?

Are you aware of deaf culture

Being a culture enthusiast, understanding and acknowledging other cultures has always been fascinating. Deafness is one such intriguing culture. Being deaf in a noisy world can be a bane and a boon at the same time. While on one hand it can lead to additional frustration when wants and feelings cannot be communicated through language, life tends to be quiet and peaceful with little to no outside interference on the other.

Deafness is more of a difference in human experience than a disability. Many take pride in their deaf identity and consider themselves a part of a group or community with certain social beliefs and values. They even have their own language to communicate with one another.

Sign Language is not Universal

Sign language comes to the rescue of people who are hard of hearing when oral communication is neither a preferred choice nor a desirable option. The deaf community uses sign language as their preferred mode of communication. It’s normal to assume that sign languages are similar to spoken languages, but surprising to know that they are not. Sign language is region specific and differs from country to country. Though both Americans and the British speak English, the American Sign Language (ASL) is different from the British Sign Language (BSL). There are exceptions though, like the French, whose sign language is very similar to that of the Americans, making communication between the French and the Americans a lot easier.

Hard of Hearing! Not Hearing Impaired

The appropriateness of use when referring to the deaf community has been a matter of debate. While the term “hearing impaired” refers to all degrees of hearing loss, it tends to be offensive in a way that it refers to a deficit, making a person incomplete. Hard of hearing is a better term to be used when referring to people with moderate levels of hearing disabilities, and deaf is a term used to refer to people with severe hearing loss.

Look at their face while communicating, not hands

Yes! Read it right. While communicating with people with hearing disabilities, paying attention to their faces rather than their hand movement helps. Though Hard of hearing individuals tend to use their hands a lot, equal importance should be given to facial expressions, eye movements and body language to understand what exactly they wish to communicate.

Understand Culture through Art

Art is an integral part of the deaf culture. As expressing their thoughts through spoken language can be frustrating at times, they rely on art and literature to express themselves. People hard of hearing have created a good amount of art and literature to represent their culture. Betty. G. Miller, Douglas Tilden are a few examples.

Technology Used:

The deaf community are also technology dependent for a variety of reasons; some of this includes video phones, reliance on captioning/subtitling services, flashing or vibrating alarms and the like. Video phones became less common with the advent of applications like skype, making communication a lot easier. Alarms play a major role in alerting deaf and hard of hearing individuals in case of an emergency. While Captioning services were developed to help individuals with hearing disabilities, subtitling takes this one step forward by providing accessibility to the hard of hearing individuals in more than one language.

With technology improving by the day, looking at the world with a new perspective and taking note of what’s happening around will benefit the deaf more and help them lead lives like normal people do.