MoonByTheSea is passionate about Deaf rights and American Sign Language.
Hearing people often think of deafness as simply “an inability to hear.” Being Deaf, though, is about more than just whether or not a person can hear—it’s about being part of a community with its own history, values, and culture. Let’s take a look at some of the more surprising facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture.
Sign Language Isn’t Universal
While American Sign Language is used in the United States and Canada, most countries have their own distinct sign languages. Just as American Sign Language is unrelated to spoken English, the sign languages of other countries have their own unique histories separate from the origins and histories of their countries’ respective spoken languages. For example, since the co-founder of the first school for the Deaf in the United States was from France, American Sign Language has many similarities to French Sign Language. American Sign Language is completely different, though, from British Sign Language. In other words, American Deaf people can often communicate easily with French Deaf people, but not with British Deaf people!
It’s not unusual for Deaf people to be completely comfortable talking about personal topics like health, salary, and how much their mortgage is, even with people they don’t know well. In Deaf culture, information sharing is valued, so it isn’t considered rude to ask questions that may seem overly personal to hearing people. Why this difference? Hearing culture is generally individualist, with a lot of emphasis on privacy, personal space, and "doing your own thing." In contrast, Deaf culture is collectivist, with Deaf people seeing themselves as part of a close-knit and interconnected group. Sharing information is an important aspect of cultures that value this kind of interconnectedness.
Deaf People Can Be Very Direct
Similar to the value placed on information sharing, Deaf people can be direct with comments and questions about topics that hearing people often consider rude. For example, Deaf people don’t consider it rude to make comments such as, “You’ve really gained weight—what happened?” In fact, not commenting on an obvious change like weight gain can come across as aloof or uncaring. Alternatively, while hearing people might interpret Deaf people’s directness as rude, Deaf people can be confused by how roundabout hearing people can be. For example, when giving criticism or feedback, hearing people often “pad” their negative feedback with positive statements. For Deaf people, this can send mixed messages since it isn’t clear what message the hearing person is trying to convey.
Deaf People Are Better Drivers Than Hearing People
A common myth about Deaf people is that since they can’t hear, they must be bad drivers. However, quite the opposite is true. According to statistics compiled by the National Association of the Deaf and the U.S. government, Deaf drivers tend to be better drivers than hearing people.1 It’s not entirely clear why this is the case, but it’s probably because driving is primarily a visual activity, and the ideal driving environment is a quiet one (just think of how many hearing drivers are distracted by loud music or phone conversations while driving!). Plus, there’s some evidence that Deaf people have better peripheral vision than hearing people2, which would be a great advantage when driving.
More about Deaf people and driving...
- Can Deaf People Drive? Some Surprising Facts
If deaf people can't hear, how can they drive? Plus, find out which countries allow deaf people to drive and which countries still deny this fundamental right.
Looking At The Face, Not Hands, When Communicating
If you watch Deaf people sign, you’ll notice that they look at each other’s faces, not hands, when communicating. People who are learning to sign often fixate on the signer’s hands, which looks unnatural and can hinder effective communication. This is because facial expressions are just as important for communication in sign language as using the hands and can have a huge impact on the meaning that is being conveyed. In fact, the emotionless facial expressions of people who are learning to sign can be a source of some amusement in the Deaf community! Interestingly, one reason the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was so easily identified was not just because his signs were gibberish--he also remained completely expressionless while signing.
ASL Flash Cards
Getting Someone's Attention
To get someone’s attention, Deaf people might tap someone on the shoulder. Or, they might bang or tap on a table so that the vibrations cause everyone at the table to look toward the source of the vibrations. In a large group or classroom setting, flashing the lights off and on is a common way to get everyone’s attention. It’s rude to wave your hands right in front of a Deaf person’s face to get their attention. Just gently tap them on the shoulder instead. It’s ok to wave your hand, though, if you’re too far away for a shoulder tap. Here are some commons mistakes hearing people make when trying to get a Deaf person's attention. These are generally considered inappropriate or even rude.
- stomping furiously on the floor
- turning the lights on and off when you're trying to get just one person's attention, and not the entire group
- aggressively jabbing the person you want to talk to
- waving your hand right in front of the person's face
- grabbing the person's hands to force him or her to stop signing and pay attention to you (never, ever grab a Deaf person's hands--that's like someone putting their hand over the mouth of a hearing person)
Have you observed any other facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture? Leave your comments below!
 Dennis Cokely and Charlotte Baker-Shenk, American Sign Language: A Student Text Units 1-9, Gallaudet University Press, 1991, page 79
 Codina, et. al., "Deaf and Hearing Children: A Comparison of Peripheral Vision Development."
roblox on May 11, 2020:
ASLStudent19 on December 02, 2019:
Waving your hand is a way of getting their attention, but never do it right in their face...that IS rude! The same way that if someone is putting their hand in a hearing person's face...it is rude. It's the same concept. Except to wave hi/hello/hey is different as you're not waving directly in someone's face. You're correct...it IS the ASL sign for "Hey/Hi/Hello" but it is not the proper sign for it...that is more of a gestural sign that is common
Greg Lima on October 22, 2019:
I've read at multiple other sites that waving a hand at a Deaf person IS the way to get their attention. It's also the ASL sign for "Hey."
Lisa Harris on June 14, 2019:
Hard of hearing BETWEEN TO WORLD’s finding myself isolated
Milou Grelle on May 13, 2019:
Im deaf. I hear you better when i cant hear your voice at all !!
Maureen Murphy on March 21, 2019:
Thanks for posting this. Hearing people will find it helpful.
DTHOMPSONOCHOA on December 03, 2018:
you are very welcome
raven on December 03, 2018:
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on November 29, 2018:
DThompsonOchoa - Thank you so much for your answer to my question. I just noticed your reply today that you left 3 months ago.
DThompsonOchoa on August 20, 2018:
Glenn Stok to answer you question, at least for me, yes I do think in ASL - American Sign Language in my mind when I am thinking about many thoughts and actually sign out loud (at home) which could be similar to a hearing person talking to themselves. That is only for me, other Deaf it may depend on which language they are more comfortable - spoken English or ASL.
Damon on August 07, 2018:
I'm completely deaf and I just want to say, when you speak to us, please don't seem so surprised. I mean yes, surprise is natural, but please don't be obvious or rude. We are deaf not dumb.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 15, 2017:
I've been studying the Deaf community in an effort to research how people think without spoken language. Many of our thoughts are verbalized in our heads as we think. But for those who were born deaf and never heard spoken language, I was wondering if they think in sign language.
The conclusion I came to is that they utilize visual thinking. You mentioned in your article how they look at each other's faces while signing. So this demonstrates how important other visual clues are, besides signing.
Assassin_Wolf306 on July 15, 2017:
I'm Hoh (Hard of hearing) and the doctors say I have to learn ASL and the deaf culture so I looked this up, I was actually surprised by some of these.
Sahara (Coda) on June 27, 2017:
I have noticed that when it comes to acting, deaf actors/actresses are far more skilled than hearing people. Specifically in the way a person's mannerism becomes real. I have even seen deaf performers become animals, objects, etc. It really is amazing.
If you have never gone to a deaf performance before, go. You will be in for a treat.
dog on April 08, 2017:
Deaf and hard of hearing people are the same culture only one can hear a little and speak a like while the other can not but in a deaf culture, even deaf people can hear and speak but the only difference is, is choices. Hearing people would not understand because being deaf and hard of hearing mean in a hearing society as a sign of weakness. I think if hearing people truly want to understand deaf and hard of hearing should visit a deaf school as we understand the hearing schools.it would create an understanding of how we all can live side by side in two cultures
Emily on January 30, 2017:
I am deaf i think this is funny and yet I understand, I also look at my friend's face when I sign in ASL.
Mara on August 29, 2016:
My baby is 2 months old our doctor suggested CI but I prefer learning to sign instead of risking my child life's with an invasive procedure when she is old enough she can choose for now she will go to a Deaf school and I'll make sure they care about ASL and deaf culture and it's their priority because I've seen deaf kids who sign and they are so smart and happy
Micah Joel on August 27, 2015:
I also recall having a hearing sense. I don't know about others but I am able to still use my imagination to create sounds. Without my hearing aids I can change the way I hear sounds. I create my own sounds of what things sound like. Men sounding like women, dogs barking being something more of a squawk. I think it all relates back to visuals - they way i read the situation influences the sounds I create. Dog's body contract when they bark - so do some birds so you can imagine how I am switching sounds.
There is so much more I can contribute. What I am pointing out is that it is always an adjustment and that in changing the way we respond (on a positive note), it promotes a more optimistic outlook on life and constitutes towards unity between the two "worlds". I agree that there is not enough interaction/merging but the question that poses is, where is the mindset of the majority? A paradigmatic shift for more inclusive society? I am pro for inclusion over marginalisation but that requires a serious insight on what the social barriers are.
I am just one voice among millions and billions of people yet that one voice will remind you to enjoy life and grow, grow to learn to understand to accept, to understand.
Micah Joel on August 27, 2015:
This has been extremely amusing. I have Profound - Severe Hearing Loss. Suppose one would categorise (I'm South African) this as HOH. I am seriously amused by what has been brought up.
Let me introduce my context - Discovered hearing loss at 2yo, started out with education at a school established for hearing impaired individuals. Went main-stream from middle school right throughout. I am the only member in my family who is hoh. My exposure has been a very interesting mix of hearing and hoh/deaf culture. I have often found myself caught between two worlds. Interesting fact 1: I was part of a teaching system where sign language was not taught because there were concerns over whether it made learners become more lazy with pronunciation of words. I can't hear myself speak unless I record myself (often find this amusing) but I am told I speak fluently and it appears as if I am not deaf - that's when I have to sometimes intervene. This has just made me see things a lot differently. However, at one point in my life, a hoh/deaf person approached doing sign language, (My mind shifted from ninja attacking me to acknowledging someone trying to get me attention probably because they saw my hearing aids and wanted to make a point of enthusiastic association.) Due to some intro on sign language with friends who are born and brought up in deaf/hoh families I was able to respond in SASL (South African Sign Language). I said,"Hello, I can't sign much" but in sign language what I said interpreted as "I sign little" to which the person responded in saying I was dumb. Of course I was bitching in my head on the spot because what started as a point of association become a moment of dissociation. I guess that was a reminder on the challenges within both "worlds".
The hearing world is awfully noisy haha - social settings (This is just my nature - ending up in noisy backgrounds. It is always a challenge but you really learn to see and accept how the world moves. The best part about being deaf is shutting out noise, choosing what you want to hear (Now hearing aids make it possible to select sounds based on radius distance - I was like wow!) The best part about backgrounds with loud music/club scenes - I suddenly feel like the only person who can really communicate properly. Just a 'gooiby', I answer my cellphone in the middle of the dance floor and hold a very normal conversation (Probably thinking im screaming on the top of my lungs hey - no, you simply cup your hand around your mouth and phone mic - that's awesome :D. Interesting fact 2: I can speak over cellphones without my hearing aids. Land lines suck with/without hearing aids. Audiologist still don't know how. This is where I wait for someone willing to explain the technicalities of frequencies
Speaking of cochlear implants - to severe the cochlear means you will not be able to wear hearing aids again. With the visions and direction of technology today in 3-D Printing, I suppose we can look at restoring some part of hearing losses - broken vibration bones? Then "irreversible" damaged tissues? I had this discussion with my audiologist - I simply said I'd rather take a chance in believing in technology of today than to severe the cochlear nerve and never experience the change technology brings. Let's hope that technology promotes opportunities instead of more separation within the hoh/deaf 'world'.
Being hoh/deaf is a constant adjustment. Before I just wore hearing aids, now that I can adjust my hearing to suit different back grounds - its a constant reminder of having to do it. I am generally a positive person so I don't mind much but there are a few technical issues - having to wait 7 secs for my hearing aids to switch on -.- so you can imagine what its like to constantly switch off to speak on the phone and then to return to hearing world with a 7 sec pause in life - literally - I've stopped meetings/conversations for 7 secs before (its flippen hilarious - just to hold up the wait/hang-on finger for 7 secs - and people actually are polite enough to wait).......right where were we? XD everytime
Hoh/Deaf people do often click together and that's ok. I always understood it based on the type of conversations that are shared. It's very much around visual description of scenarios/events/people...ample reflection. They can share a deal lot about themselves and I guess this is what contributes towards the 'click'. Wouldn't you rather stick with people who get you than have to work extra hard at keeping up with conversation and trying to follow? Conversation with hoh/deaf people is very open and visual - you can read body language, expressions, hand gestures amongst all the noise. The reading of conversations is much slower. In the hearing world you have to be alert and attentive at all times. I work very hard at trying to follow and yet I still miss out 50% of the entire conversation. What do I do? Oh well, no need to feel like I must contribute. Ignorance? No. Awkward to ask to have that entire conversation repeated from where I got lost? No. I am very present in the conversation by being attentive and trying to catch what I heard, I do miss out on a lot of content and detail but that's ok, suppose you would like to know what part of the conversation I 'heard'. I tell you what I heard and what my eyes 'heard'. I guess we all have our advantages and disadvantages. So in mentioning all this - whether there is some level of discrimination between the two "worlds", possible - we are all human beings at the end of the day - just like the lady who said I was dumb -.- (That was probably the thickest comment I had to swallow in life - peanut butter thick). Sore excuse for being a human? That's your opinion to make, my view is that I know what it feels like to be discriminated against and I accepted that people are often very aware and that we get to choose the way we respond. I could simply feel awful for not following/ feeling part of an entire conversation but I choose not to beat myself up about it - I just read a lot to ensure that I am informed at the same pace that the globe moves. I am quite happy with having to do the extra work.
Here's some insight:
Radios? Hate them. Can never follow. Hologram radios? Now that's an idea but then you have tv which is still awful without subtitles.
Movies? Deaf/hoh have different ways in watching a movie - visuals alone - building up a story based on body language/action/expressions (If the person's face is out of view...like I said-oh well). Subtitles for content and then watching both at the same time - the last being a talent - you have to read/look/concentrate very fast.
Comics - South Park/ Archers/ Futurama/ Family Guy/ The Simpsons - Imagine spending your entire life not hearing the content and suddenly subtitles are available and your world suddenly changed. Happened for me - I became more informed lol.
I often hear hearing people make reference to actions/quotes from series or movies. That does not happen in hoh/deaf world as far as I am concerned. To get them to be on that same page you will have to make them remember that scene before you can start making that comment/phrase and I am sure by then, you're out of time and the crickets are already emphasising awkwardness.
Never ever shake a person with hearing loss out of their sleep...no matter how often I try to remind myself, I always get shocked and that is not nice.
No matter what anyone says, I will always say people with hearing loss are very/highly sensitive. Always make sure the person understand you properly when you are communicating. It is very easy to be overwhelmed when you are trying to concentrate but there are distractions - remember visuals and emotions are strong enough to distract hearing.
pat lambert on May 26, 2015:
We have several people within the family who are deaf. Although I have been around the family members for 50 plus years I learned so much from this post. Thank you and God bless. I appreciate it.
wayne on November 11, 2014:
I am learning ASL on my own since I can't find a class nearby. I do meet with a signing group through MeetUp, a combination of deaf, hearing,HOH and students of ASL. I have found all the deaf members of the group to be nothing short of accepting, supportive and patient with me and the other "students". I am learning for personal (I am gradually losing my hearing) and professional (medical professional).
Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on November 02, 2014:
To hub author
Could you please enlarge the info in this interesting hub.
We want to know more.
CODA Girl on November 01, 2014:
Please please DO NOT ask deaf people questions like, “can you drive? Can you have kids?” etc. I’ve heard of too many hearings asking those questions. The most often asked hearings have asked me is how I learnt American Sign Language. This always makes me laugh as the answer is quite obvious, how do THEY learn English? Same goes for me. I’m proud that my parents are deaf, and that I learned ASL before I learned to speak English.
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on October 20, 2014:
Very insightful hub into the deaf community! Voted up, useful and interesting. Having had extensive ear problems, I have thought about learning to sign just Incase... I can already lip read, although I'm not sure I could do it if I was completely deaf- my brain matches the sounds with the lip movement... I think this will definitely come in handy later in life. Thanks!
Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 20, 2014:
I have always wanted to know more about this topic. Thanks.
Can you add a little more info?
Do many deaf people see themselves as vulnerable?
Also, there seems to be an urban myth/prejudice that depicts deaf people as less mature, more naïve etc.
When I see people use sign language it looks interesting and quite artistic.
Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on October 19, 2014:
Fascinating hub. You dispelled some myths that I had about the Deaf as well as supplying me with information that would make me more sensitive to the culture. Thanks
Andy on March 04, 2014:
"Hearing parents see deafness as a defect to be corrected of hidden. They don't understand that its ok. They see Cochlear implants as a miracle that can 'heal' their children and enable them to have a normal life."
I think hearing parents see deafness as a challenge that's introduced to their child's life and want to do whatever they can to open up all opportunities for them.
The idea that the vast majority of parents DON'T understand that cochlear implants are not a miracle cure is ridiculous.
iadan on March 03, 2014:
Dear Sam and others:
Most deaf babies are born to Hearing families. Hearing parents see deafness as a defect to be corrected of hidden. They don't understand that its ok. They see Cochlear implants as a miracle that can 'heal' their children and enable them to have a normal life.
I agree that Hearing parents should learn ASL and use it, as soon as they learn they have a deaf child. Can you imagine your parents not saying a word to you as a child for five to six years? That's abusive.
Studies have shown that the earlier a deaf child learns ASL or other signed language, the better educated and more 'normal' they will be.
To the Deaf (many, not all), a cochlear implant is a violation, a Borg-like intrusion, if you will.
Both sides need to understand each others views. I tend to recommend that babies from Hearing parents go ahead with CIs, and deaf children of deaf parents should not. But all should learn ASL as well.
But its not mine or anyone else's decision except for the people involved and no one should pressure them one way or another.
Sam Damiano on March 03, 2014:
Hello to Hearing People, We the Deaf wants you learn American Sign Language if you have Deaf babies in your family. PLEASE do not put Cochlear Implants on innocent Deaf babies. Their eyes are listening to hands not by ears. Deaf can do everything except hear. We are all same human being. Same with dogs or cats are Deaf too. They don't have CI. Doctors are abused and made lot money. How do you feel if Deaf doctors make Hearing babies to be Deaf. Please respect everybody's human rights. All Deaf babies are normal with ASL. You have to accept Deaf and Hearing are different culture because of communication. That is simple and truth answer. PLEASE accept and love your Deaf babies. ASL is beautiful and unique. All we need is RESPECT. Cheers.
Becky on February 27, 2014:
I am hearing and learning Asl i think
As long as you make an effort and are trying to communicate with the Deaf
Person they will be grateful
Geordie girl on February 27, 2014:
When my sister and I were little and argued, we would either turn our head away and refuse to look at each other, or else when the head was forced around for eye contact, we would close our eyes. Thankfully we stopped this at about seven or eight years old. Much to the relief of my mom, it drove her crazy.
superheart2000 on February 27, 2014:
I am deaf, i have read some of your post thinking some deaf people do not like hearing people, to answer this, it isn't true. we have grew up into a deaf community where there arent many hearing people in our small isolated community, sometimes it just is hard to be around them even though we very much want to. for some hearing people..they try to communicate with us vocally or try to write down what they want us to know without even wanting to make an effort to learn sign language don't consider being a true friend. a true friend as a hearing person means making an effort to communicate whatever language you try to communicate. when a person who hears try to learn sign language to start a friendship means a whole lot to a deaf person....its hard to be around the hearing community feeling lost, feeling isolated even if a hearing person tries to involve a deaf person. its just different because we can't hear what's being spoken or hear what's going around. i have always feel isolated in my family or friends who can hear. they will say what was being said abbreviately but i know theres more to the communication among them, its like they don't want to make an effort to explain everything. we live in a silent world....having hearing friends or family who learned sign language in order to really communicate and have good relationship makes a big difference for us. we love hearing people, it just is how they are towards us if they don't want to even try to communicate with us then theres no good communications or a relationship. hope that helps.
firstname.lastname@example.org on February 24, 2014:
I had a TIA which hit my nerve in my left ear. So I only hear in right ear. Some time even that is not clear. How true People can be SO Rude. They igonire you. Or scream at you. I Am GOING TO LEARN TO SIGN. Thank you for imfornation.
Jimmy Hoague on February 24, 2014:
My parents were deaf, and I would always tell people that being deaf is the same as Chinese, Spanish, French, any other culture. Kids speak their born language until the enter the world in starting school and find out that the speak and in English verbally, Then they go home and and speak the language of their parents and if you are lucky, you become the interpreter in the family. This goes for all languages when like myself i am from the USA and born deaf and then spoke English. And you are right, the are more aware of their surrounding's because their peripheral is more acute.
Kim on February 24, 2014:
The deaf culture is much more supportive of each other than in the hearing world. I am referred to as CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) being deaf and unable to sign even if you are skilled at lip reading is limiting. You may not see it but it is. Generally throwing things at the deaf is considered rude, that being said my dad has tunnel vision so we do tips things at him if we can't get his attention. But it is always soft and always after we have tried most everything else. Inclusive very exaggerated jumping jacks. He just laughs. The cochlear implant is not as taboo as it once was. Both my parents got them. My mom wears hers more than my dad but my dad was very deaf all his life. So he had difficulty tying the sounds together. Mom was HOH and finally has lost most of her hearing. I sign and interpret at church for my mom regularly, as well as other hearing impared at bigger meetings. My husband took classes when we were dating we also taught our kids to sign. My son has a lot of difficulty grasping it though. My daughter signs pretty well. My brother also signs my niece and nephew took asl classes in high school. My sister in law had tried to learn but has had more difficulty. She can finger spell and a few signs she tries. Generally if you try to communicate with the deaf even if you are extremely limited or don't know asl the fact that you are trying is very respected and they will help you. Home signs usually work too. DO NOT REFER TO THEM AS DISABLED. They just can't hear with their ears they listen with their other senses. They will usually catch things hearing people don't because hearing generally do not pay attention to the whole picture. As a side note closed captioning on the tv will help improve the reading skills of those who use it. Plus it picks up things sometimes you can't hear and you will get a clearer picture of what you are watching. It takes time to get used to it but once you are used to it you don't realize it is there until it's not.
Tanaya Ropp on February 02, 2014:
In the hearing community an acsent is just that an acsend. In the deaf community if I sign a word slightly diferent do to regional differences (acsent) I am corrected and expected to change to that regional dialect for the duration of the visit. This my because I am hearing I am not sure. I have lived and signed in 4 different states and have had it happen in all but the state I learned to sign in.
GGIMPRD2BDeaf on February 02, 2014:
greeneyedblondie, The reason why the Deaf Community is against cochlear implants because in my view of point the deaf people feels like it you made a child, teenager, and an adult to become "hearing" and strip off deafness from them and not showing the world that people are proud of them being Deaf and also to me it looks like people are "Playing being God" and try to take control from Him and "make" them being hearing in their own images not accept them being Deaf in God's own image. I'm not trying to be religious or something it's my own view of point. I believe that may make Deaf people upset and offended if somebody "makes" a child, teenager, and an adult being a "hearing" person. I'm speaking from my own experience and my knowledge about Deaf Culture I'm deaf and I have a Cochlear Implant and I'm the only person in my Family who is deaf and all people in my Family are hearing. My Family does accept who I am and I'm deaf 100% !! The reason why I have a Cochlear Implant because my Mom felt like she wants to give me an opportunity to be able to hear and my Mom doesn't want to make become hearing and she accepts me that I'm deaf and my Mom just want to give me an opportunity to be able to hear and my Mom does not care how much I will able to hear with my Cochlear Implant and my Mom wants me to hear at least some background noises and if I can hear speech great but if not that's great. I can hear pretty well with my Cochlear Implant. But I do ACCEPT that I'm 100% DEAF and I already identified myself a DEAF person and I tell myself and hearing people who I know and who I don't know that even though I have my Cochlear Implant on and off I'm 100% DEAF and I 100% ACCEPT that and I ACCEPT that God made me deaf for a reason! I HAVE 100% DEAF PRIDE in ME!! :) GOO DEAF PRIDE!! :)
iadan on February 02, 2014:
Hearing people vastly overestimate the efficiency of lip reading. To begin with..60% of English is not visible on the lips. At best 30% of lip reading is intelligble to the deaf. Those that are only taught oral speech and lip reading are at a severe disadvantage. Deaf that are taught ASL from an early age have a higher cognitive understanding of English and do better in school than oralists. (there are a lot of good articles at this site).
Hash Pereira on February 02, 2014:
My wife is dead and i don't know how to sign (just a few ), however i would love to learn how , i try a few times but it seems like that it does't work . i would live to go to a deaf school but the city that we live don't have one and we are too far away from one that does . As we get older i am afraid that in the future we would not be abble to communicate with each other. My wife is a wonderful person but when we go out to family and some hearing friends we find thast most of them ignoring her completely. There have been times when we invite them over or we go to their home that their not even say one word to her , then we come home and she is very disappointed with the visit . just saying .............
John Ross on February 02, 2014:
Wow. Most of the things described here I knew but the overall message is alien to me. You see, I live in St. Louis where we have Central Institute for the Deaf, one of the premier such schools in the nation. CID teaches lipreading and speaking (to those who can master it), and falls back on sign only for those who can't. The three deaf people I know all went to CID at different times, none of them know how to sign, all are married to or dating hearing partners, and their friends and family all have normal hearing. They are not part of any "deaf community," at least not since they graduated from CID. The deaf person I know best came to my high school in 8th grade in 1974. It was a private school with the highest academic standards in St. Louis. She needed no special attention other than reminding the teachers not to lecture with their backs to the class while writing on the chalk board. Another CID grad (19 year old daughter of my contractor) is so good at speaking that NO ONE who meets her realizes she is deaf until she tells them not to turn away from her when they're talking as she won't be able to lipread them. Jaws drop when she explains she is deaf.
Ivy on February 01, 2014:
I have a cochlear implant myself and I hate it. I grew up with hearing people and in their world for a long time. I much prefer the deaf community. Everything just becomes clear then. It's not that we don't like hearing people it just depends on who. Often, hearing people will discriminate us, thinking that we are also mentally impaired. And being unable to do such beyond our hearing. Also a lot of hearing people meet one deaf person that does awful things then assume we all are the same. That's the problem as well. It just depends the situation and who as well not all of us dislike hearing people, it just depends on their experiences.
iadan on February 01, 2014:
Basically many Deaf view it as cultural genocide, a disconnect from Deaf society and their own parents and family. Children with cochlears tend to not learn sign and not interact with the Deaf community. This may be fine if you have hearing parents, but if your friends and family are Deaf, you can become estranged.
Another issue is planting ugly machines in the head. Robo-deaf. Dehumanizing.
But attitudes are changing. I don't know how much.
greeneyedblondie on February 01, 2014:
From all the things I've read about Deaf culture is that they don't seem to like hearing people. I'm no expert. I'd just like to know if it's true. I guess it depends on the person but for some reason if you say they have a disability then it's like you're completely insulting them. The words colh clearimplant (how to spell?) come off as condesending against them. I don't understand this, maybe someone could explain?
email@example.com on February 01, 2014:
I live in Frederick, MD, where there is a school for the deaf. One thing I have noticed is that there are many interracial couples, which I think is awesome. I think it makes sense in such a close-knit community.
greg on February 01, 2014:
If they threw something at me to get my attention..I throw it back at them twice as hard and yell at them " do you like that".. They never do it again after.
Shane on February 01, 2014:
Devon, you are darn right. I am tired of being thrown at to get my attention. It is startle me crazily and it's beyond the most rude way to do!
iadan on February 01, 2014:
Millionaire-the Deaf culture is rich and varied. They have beautiful poetry, songs, theater...its wonderful. Google You tube "Party in the USA" signed. The guy who signs it is fabulous. Actually, her it is. Watch first without captiosn. Then tirn on the captions. The upper lowercase is the English language lyrics. The All Caps under that is transliteration of what he's really signing. I just love it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmKnQjBf8wM
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 01, 2014:
I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this. Although I do not personally know anyone who is deaf, any credible information that can help people treat one another respectfully is certainly appreciated. Voted up +++ and pinning this excellent hub.
iadan on February 01, 2014:
Larry, did you say your wife doesn't sign either? If so, you both should try to learn. It will add so much to your conversation. My mom is going deaf and she is getting more and more isolated. We no longer go out because she can't understand conversations or movies. Hearing aids are not covered by insurance and they are very expensive. *We* can understand each other because we've been together so long, but even I weary of repeating myself so much. The volume of the TV is so loud its physically painful to me. It's a shame Hearing aids are not covered (and viagra is!) How would you like to never be talked to again...that's about how it is.
Shasta Matova from USA on February 01, 2014:
This is interesting and valuable information. I wouldn't have thought that the culture would be so distinct but it definitely makes sense.
Carlos on February 01, 2014:
Larry, learn ASL (America Sign Language) now if you are really love your wife with your heart so much, otherwise your divorce will be on road to end your marriage. I don't mean rude to you. It is just a fact.
Larry on February 01, 2014:
I have been married to my wife Cheryl for 22 years neither me or our children sign. Cheryl reads lips. I feel it is a disservice to her that we do not sign. I feel if she didn't read lips we prob would be signing. I took classes years ago but never really grasped it. As we get older I fear if I don't learn to sign it will be harder for us to communicate.
Devon on February 01, 2014:
They should have added one more thing to the list of wrong ways to get a d/Deaf person's attention: throwing objects at them... Especially hard ones. This has happened to me multiple times unfortunately.
Marie on February 01, 2014:
It does matter if you are hearing deaf or h o h if you are friends with a deaf or h o h person you are friends with everyone cuz that is how my hubby deaf friends are with and they will not let none hurt you
JV on January 31, 2014:
I have a friend who I met 15+ years ago. When we met I was only around her for short periods at first. Honestly I thought she just had a speech impediment when we fist met. I found out she was Deaf. She was really gifted when it came to reading lips. We became very close friends, she is like my sister. I knew no sign language, and dragging out a pen and paper at times just was not possible. I learned a little ASL, but with her ability to read lips it was not really necessary. When I was a teenager my friend and her baby came to stay with us. By that time we had been around each other so much that I could just mouth/whisper whatever I wanted to say and she would respond the same way. We would have long conversations like that, I think it drove people around us nuts at times. This was a completely different way of communication then when she was with Deaf friends. Although interesting to watch I was always completely lost. She would try to keep me in the conversations but I could never keep up. She has since moved away and I miss her. But the internet it wonderful and does make conversation so much easier over the miles. I am thankful for her and our time together. Over the past few years I have been gradually losing some range to my hearing. Between being in the habit of reading lips from years ago and the range I still have, I get by fine for now. The only time people notice anything is off is when they are next to me trying to talk. From my experiences with my friend no matter what happens, I know I will be ok.
iadan on January 31, 2014:
There is a big difference between Deaf, deaf, and Hard of Hearing (HoH).
Deaf refers to the culture (one can be hearing and Deaf). Small *d* deaf refers to one who cannot hear. Actually they might be able to hear, but not usefully.
Hard of Hearing refers to just that. One who is hard of hearing. They may not be part of the Deaf culture at all.
Also, sign language is a distinct separate language, as viable as English or any other oral language. It is NOT an interpretation of the oral language. It involves facial expression, hands, body position, spatial relations, etc. And deaf people can be *very* noisy!
Lip reading is very ineffective as a total means of communication. Most people over/ under enunciate. Beards? low lighting? back lighting? Forget about it!
Many countries have several official signed languages, but seem to be consolidating them now.
The younger and earlier deaf learn sign language, the better their communication and education skills. Hearing parents do a disservice to limit their children's signing.
RTalloni on December 23, 2013:
Interesting to learn more about deaf culture differences. A friend recently told us of his experiences in learning to sign and getting certified as an interpreter. This information helped round out his explanation. Thanks!