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Understanding Deaf Culture

People have a variety of conceptions regarding deafness and those who are deaf. The first paradigm is the “medical/pathological” model. Those who hold this perspective imagine a deaf person to be someone unable to hear, who was born without the capacity to hear, and who is damaged because they are unable to “talk” or “listen.” This perspective considers solely what deaf people are unable to do, which is hear, and makes no mention of the many other qualities and abilities that they possess. People believe that deaf people require assistance, and that “deafness” requires treatment.

 The alternative way of thinking is called the “cultural model,” and people who are deaf, activists, and experts all agree with it. It states that a person or group’s inability to hear shouldn’t be the only thing that defines them and that it’s better to focus on what a deaf person can do rather than what they can’t do. In other words, it’s better to focus on what a deaf person can do than what they can’t do.

Deaf activists argue that the communication capabilities of deaf people are not restricted because deaf people can utilise American Sign Language to communicate straightforwardly and articulately. Instead, “hearing” norms, like getting and giving information by talking, are seen as limited. People who are deaf can argue that hearing people are disadvantaged because only a small percentage of hearing people can utilise American Sign Language (ASL) at the same level as a native user.

 Examples of Deaf culture include American Sign Language (ASL) as well as the social norms of the Deaf community, which are distinct from those of the “hearing” society. Deaf people tend to congregate at events that prioritise communication in their preferred language.

When there are other means of communication available, such as sign language interpreters or video relay services, people who are deaf will also avoid speaking and writing. These make it possible for deaf individuals to communicate with one another in their native sign language rather than relying on text-based systems based on English.

Deaf people hold jobs in all three branches of the nation’s government, as well as in the public and private sectors of business and our communities. The only time they won’t work is when the medical or pathological view is deeply rooted, and people judge them based on ideas or biases that aren’t supported by the facts.

What does the deaf community think about cochlear implants?

A cochlear implant is a device that is surgically implanted into a patient to stimulate the eighth nerve electrically. Signals processed by the hair cells of the cochlea stimulate the 8th nerve in hearing individuals.

The most severe hearing loss is defined by the death of all hair cells in the cochlea, resulting in a loss of sensitivity and frequency resolution. Cochlear implants bypass hair cells that are damaged or don’t exist. Instead, they send tiny electrical currents (CI) directly to the auditory nerve fibres.

Cochlear implant recipients can experience frequency resolution due to the device’s capacity to divide sound into various frequency bands. Then, these bands are related to various electrode sites, which trigger nerve fibres that create “high pitch” and “low pitch.”

A new-born, who is born deaf, experiences auditory stimuli differently than those who are born with normal hearing. Infants with cochlear implants whose triggers they choose to create their own distinct library of auditory experiences. It is the job of the infant’s parents, siblings, teachers, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists to turn this audible signal into meaningful language so that the infant’s brain, which has neural plasticity, can process this unique sensory input.

According to the Deaf community, hearing parents cannot make a “best interest” decision regarding their child’s cochlear implant because they lack sufficient knowledge of the Deaf culture. Because most hearing parents of deaf-born children are hearing, they lack the perspective necessary to make an informed decision. They argue that hearing parents’ decision to implant their hearing-impaired children without first consulting the Deaf community is “ill-informed, ill-prepared, ill-advised, ill-founded, and ill-fated.”

They want to add a member of the Deaf community to the list of interested parties, which includes the parents and the state, to keep the decision from being influenced by the parents and to make sure that all possible solutions are looked at.

Benefits of the deaf culture to parents

Usually, medical professionals are the ones who break the news to us that our child is hard of hearing or deaf. In most cases, they have expertise in diagnostic and medical procedures and relevant knowledge and skills. If you are looking to get yourself or your child checked, it will help if you search for “free hearing tests near me“.

However, most medical professionals may have little or no knowledge of Deaf culture. Additionally, it is possible that this medical professional does not appreciate or value sign language or participation in the Deaf community. Before making decisions and weighing the pros and cons of advice, it may be necessary for us as parents to get help from a third party to fully understand all of the communication options and weigh the pros and cons of the advice.

To show proper deference to a community that has been there for a long time, one must be well-versed in its culture. A significant number of works have been produced by Deaf authors who, as youngsters, did not have access to the Deaf community or to sign language. Some pupils remember “coming to life” in a residential school after being raised their whole lives orally.

There is a possibility that your youngster is having identity issues. The formation of your child’s identity can be aided by his participation in the community of deaf people and by your family’s use of sign language at home. You have the choice to either sign or attend events geared toward the deaf community. Your youngster may one day question your decisions. It would be best if you answered your child’s queries. You will meet Deaf people regardless of whether or not your child participates in Deaf social activities or attends Deaf schools. The utilisation of appropriate grammatical structures and terminologies is a manifestation of respect.

The benefits of the deaf community to the deaf culture

Participation in the activities of the Deaf community can have numerous benefits. These might consist of the following:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Respect for one’s background and history
  • A commitment to sensitivity and the use of sign language emphasises one’s benefits.
  • Acknowledgment within the community
  • Fellowship

 Several political, social, and religious organisations serve the deaf population. Your knowledge of the activities offered by such organizations, or your child’s participation in such events, can provide your child with sign language modelling by native users, adult mentoring, and a sense of support from people with similar backgrounds. Many people in the Deaf community know a lot about the latest developments in assistive tools and technology because they use them so much in their daily lives.

 Independent of the parent’s level of involvement in the Deaf community, adults who serve as role models for children can have a major and positive impact on their lives. Every child must be reassured that they are not alone. Parents who expose their children to positive adult role models are more likely to feel optimistic about their children’s future.

To help their kids feel better about themselves, parents are strongly encouraged to find people who are willing to share the valuable gift of their life experience with them.

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