How to on Deaf People

wikiHow on how to understand deaf people. Many of the points hit the target.
1. We can’t help that we have a “deaf accent.” We have little or no ability to understand inflection.
2. Some people think those with a southern or “redneck” accent are less intelligent. Well, same reasoning applies to deaf people because of their deaf accents. We can’t help our accents. I have a college degree, a successful career, three kids, a spouse, and board positions with PTA and other nonprofits.
3. I’ve been driving since two days after I turned 16. It took two days to get my license because of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and then the Department of Motor Vehicles lines were long the day after.
4. Yes — please don’t talk louder unless you’re barely whispering. The key is to form your words clearly with your lips. We struggle to understand those who mumble.
5. Even if we can lipread — we catch only one-third of what’s said on average. Read every third word and see how much sense this makes to you. Plus, with our population living longer and people losing hearing with age — they are likely not to know how to lipread.
6. I don’t use or know sign language. Just the finger alphabet and words I’ve picked up from others — just like I’ve picked up foreign language words here and there.
7. I’ll never be able to hear on the phone, so I use instant messenger to connect to the relay service.
8. When my husband was in an elevator with a coworker, the coworker asked if I could read braille. Yeah, I just rub my ear on the buttons.
9. I have a cochlear implant and I still can’t hear on the phone. In fact, the cochlear implant didn’t give me much more hearing than my hearing aids did.
10. Hearing aids make things louder, not clearer. Those who lost their hearing from aging benefit from hearing aids since they already knew how to hear and need help with volume.
11. True. I’ve got an average of 95 dB loss in both ears. Without my hearing devices, I hear nothing. But put my ear against a speaker and turn it up, I’ll hear it.
12. Just because we’re deaf doesn’t mean we can’t write well. I’ve known deaf people who write beautifully and others who don’t write well. I can say the same for hearing people.
13. Conversations move quickly. Thus, deaf people who watch captions tend to be good and fast readers. When we played captions for elementary school kids — they could hardly keep up.
14. Many of us enjoy music and we do so in different ways. I have to learn a song by heart and I’ll be able to follow it when I listen to it (pending the words come through the music — I can barely hear the vocals come through some songs.


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    • Barbara Leonard on November 5, 2008 at 6:05 am
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    How beautifully written. Do you mind if I share this with whom I work? I am a teacher consultant for infants and toddlers many of whom are getting cochlear implants. Parents have so many questions and you have answered them so well!

  1. This is very well put. I am not deaf nor extreme hard hearing, however I have had issues with my ears since I was born. As I notice now more then ever as I am getting older it is harder for me to hear. So instead of looking at people in the eye the entire time they speak, I switch between, their eyes and their lips. It puts me at ease that I may catch most of the conversation. Some people just do not understand people that are different, I loved that you just put it out there! Amazing Job!

  2. I laughed so hard about the braille comment– good one. Goes right up there with people who ask me if I have ever thought about becoming a sign language interpreter. Um, I believe you have to hear.

  3. Thank you for this info. It’s always good to have a better understanding of others.

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