Myths and Facts about the Deaf

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To write credibly about the Deaf community, you first need to learn some important facts about Deaf people and deal with some common myths.

It is a myth that all Deaf can read lips, in fact some of them have this valuable skill, but not all of them. On the other hand, if the Deaf can actually do it, remember to look towards him / her and speak clearly.

Hearing aids and implants sometimes help to hear, but they do not restore hearing 100%, so it is not enough to implant a Deaf person to start hearing. Another myth is that deaf people should be treated relieved because they have a reduced intellectual capacity, and therefore are dependent and helpless.

Deaf does not equal “stupid” or “mentally retarded” as some people believe. The difficulty in contact is due to communication, linguistic and cultural barriers, and not to the level of someone’s intelligence or ill will. Sometimes the Deaf also make some messy noises, but that has to do with the fact that they don’t have full control over the vocal instruments that they just can’t hear! It’s hard to tune a guitar when you can’t hear the strings sound.

Some deaf people can speak well, but it must be remembered that this is often one-way communication, which means that they may not understand what the other person suits them.

Deaf people do not differ in the least degree of intelligence from hearing people, and they should be subjected to the same requirements as others.

It is often untrue that the Deaf cannot hear anything. Among the deaf, only 2-4% of people actually do not hear at all. The others, although they cannot hear the speech of others, can perceive many other sounds from the environment, e.g. the sound of a hammer tapping or the whir of an engine in the car.

Therefore, it is also not true that they are not disturbed by noise, especially since even if they do not hear the sound, they feel vibrations and vibrations, e.g. of the floor or furniture, which may distract them. It is also not true that you should speak to a deaf person as loudly as possible.

Due to the lack of natural speech acquisition, the only problem with communication is its limited dimension, not its complete absence. Deaf people using sign language have a problem with communicating, just like foreigners – Polish is often a foreign language for them.

Many deaf people can read or write information in Polish, but – like any foreign language user – they can easily make mistakes, e.g. grammatical or stylistic mistakes.Deaf people use Polish Sign Language (PJM), which is a natural language for them, but has a specific visual-spatial grammar, different from Polish.

The spelling of Głusia with a capital letter is to emphasize that it is about a cultural group, and not about people with disabilities. The deaf have their own language, their history, their system of meanings, values ​​and norms, just like Lemkos, Kashubians and Silesians.

With a text by Anna Butkiewicz, we begin a series of articles about the culture of the Deaf, which will appear regularly on the Kultura Sensitive website in cooperation with the Między Uszami Foundation.