The Shocking Truth About ASL #2

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Get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about Deaf culture and get the truth about ASL.

Here are two more frequently asked questions!  You can read #1 if you missed it.

First we'll address a question that I received in the comments,

Renae said:

That is a great question.

Short answer:

Get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about Deaf culture and get the truth about ASL. What causes people to go Deaf?

Snarky answer:  I've got nothing.  It's a good question.

Detailed answer:  There are multiple genetic factors, not necessarily hereditary.  There are several diseases that can be a factor in deafness as well -- prenatal and postnatal. Trauma would be perforated ear drums, head injuries, and other traumas.  Some have degenerative hearing loss.  They may start out Hard of Hearing and then as they age become Deaf.

95% of newborns are screened for hearing loss, but may not be caught.  A few of my babies failed their hearing tests in the hospital, but was told by the nurses that it was probably just fluid in their ears.

While my kids are not Deaf (although, my oldest had bad hearing due to ear infections and had tubes put in and speech therapy afterwards) they didn't ever get their hearing checked again outside of the hospital.

Because of this, I can see how easy it would be for parents to not know.

I have a good friend who has a Cochlear implant, and knew ASL, but was mostly oral (her family didn't really know ASL). As she has gotten older her residual hearing disappeared and she is now profoundly Deaf, and her vision is gone as well.  She is now blind and uses a cane and seeing eye dog.

Conductive hearing loss could be the bones in the ears don't vibrate, the hairs in the ears don't vibrate, or other mechanical issues.

Nerve damage is just what it sounds like.  The majority of deaf (not Deaf) are over the age of 65 and is due to aging and excessive loud noises.

I won't go much more into that unless you want more information. There is a ton of information about the causes of deafness and the types of deafness.

I know Deaf people are proud of their Deafness and are proud of their culture.  I agree.  Their culture is awesome, the Deaf people I know are amazing.  They have great reason to be proud.

I know none of you are questioning that, I just think it's important for people to know that they don't view Deafness as a handicap, something to be ashamed of, something to be fixed, or a disability.  I mentioned this briefly in 13 Things to Never Say to a Deaf Person.  Review that if you need to.

Don't tell a Deaf person they're disabled or handicapped.  Unless you want to get slapped.

Can you read those people's lips and tell me what they're saying?

Short answer: No.

Snarky answer:  Yeah, they're talking about how ugly your shirt is.

Fun answer: Yeah, they're talking about how ugly your shirt is.  Oh wait, I already said that.  Um, no, that's rude.  I think I'll mind my own business.  Unless I can find out gossip about you.  Ha!

Reading lips is actually harder than you think.  Once, there was a kid in my history class, Aaron.  I had the biggest crush on him.  Of course... he didn't return the favor.

I was pretty awkward looking in middle school (and elementary... and high school).

He was *gasp* talking to me one day in class and he mouthed the words "I love you"  I nearly died.  My 5th grade life was now complete.  I turned away and giggled into my notebook.  Seriously, this kid was cute.  And mostly nice.

Before I could utter those dumb words right back to him (hey, in middle school a crush = love) he spared me by spilling the beans.  He was saying "alligator shoes"  and "olive juice."

I'll wait while you mouth those phrases....

Looks like I love you, doesn't it?

Thankfully I didn't make too much a fool of myself... even if my heart broke a bit inside. The joys of childhood.

Now try having a conversation with that.  Every word and phrase could mean something else.

  • Then add in that some people don't enunciate.
  •  Some people do not move their lips (have you seen Pitch Perfect?)
  • Some people are crazy all over the place with their mouths.
  • People move around, look around, turn their heads, have hair in their faces, and have their mouths full of food.

Can't read their lips?  I wonder why.

30% of the words we speak (in English) are able to be easily lip read. That is if the person isn't mumbling or obscuring their face in any way.

Some people ask me, as an interpreter, if I can read lips.  Um... no, why would I?  Sure, if you're mouthing the words as you sign I can read your lips.  Other than that I won't be able to read everything they're saying if it's just someone I'm watching from across the room (and they're not signing).

Deaf people tend to be better at it than others, specifically those that rely on it in many conversations with non-signing hearing people.  But don't ask them to eavesdrop for you.  That's just juvenile. Reminds me of that Monk episode, where the guy was lip reading for insider trading information.  It was a good one.

Round #3 will be up next week!

If you have a question you'd like answered, please ask me!  I promise I'll be nice to you!

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