In Oscar-winning “CODA”, the deaf do not use their voice to speak. Some listeners are likely to perceive this negatively; They can imagine the silence and wonder how they will feel when they are not speaking, even when they see that American Sign Language (ASL) is used abundantly and well.
However, I am deaf and have “ideal” language (which means “deaf don’t play”). and what I want To stop Speak up.
Wherever I go, people praise me and tell me not to say I didn’t know I was deaf. They say it in good faith, but it’s like they’re giving me a cake in a way I didn’t realize had a shaving knife.
Here’s what they don’t understand: Their compliment is an insult to many of my deaf friends who don’t know – or don’t speak – and who are the best, most successful, funniest and smartest people I know. It’s also an insult to me because it’s an implied message of not knowing I’m deaf, it’s good; So being deaf is not okay.
By the time I became deaf at age 10, I had learned to speak. I came alone even later Deaf identity with capital D And when I got married – and made friends – I listened to people. I use a hearing aid that works to amplify sound and read lips on some level, especially with close friends. They can speak clearly on my behalf and I know what they will say. Context does a lot, as do many other factors. But to strangers, it’s surprisingly hard to understand what they’re saying. Sometimes I get from 50% to 75% of what they say, but more often it’s from 0% to 5% and it also takes time.
But this is a completely inevitable dynamic. Because with my voice I create expectations that then I will come back and not give myself up. In public, my relationship with strangers is basically like this:
Another person: “Ooofa gimmabee imopoe? Orfaa wumpus room? “
Me: “Look, I am deaf. I do not understand you. “
Another man: “Oh, you’re reading your lips, aren’t you?”
Me: “No, no.”
Yes, me Finished Just read your lips and understand what they said. What they don’t understand is that their question is easy to understand because they have asked me it a billion times. Now they are questioning me and trying to decide if I am poor or a liar.
“But you have good language,” they replied.
“Look, yes, I can talk,” I told them, “but I can No. You listen. No, I will not read you. Please write it down or indicate if it is important. “
But they did not give up easily.
“Oofa Barampa king Itobin. Or Akopa Karoma. Alias Mina Puto. And instead I saw Kakà Ilumpita, Imagi.
“Okay then – let the video Kaka Ilumpitah Impag!” I think so, but I didn’t say it out loud. I know they try and want my same good result, but this kind of dating is irritating.
When I have the energy, I try to enlighten people so that they do not express their assumption that the deaf will speak and read after the deaf they meet. “I was deaf after life – after learning to speak,” I would say. Here other people often tell me about a grandmother, a childhood friend, a neighbor or a colleague who “was completely Deaf, but he can read lips Aba! “ Telling them to gently read the lips is very difficult and 55% to 70% of English has not yet been read from the lips because many sounds can be heard deep in the mouth or throat.
Here are some things going on. One is the ethnocentric reaction: the message people inadvertently receive from my “good” speech I understand. There is also an important judgment: speaking and reading lips is better than signing and not reading lips.
I have been teaching deaf and hard of hearing students for several years in a regular school. In 80% of the deaf and hard of hearing. Children attend public schools where they are surrounded primarily – or entirely – by students and reading staff. The emphasis is on ‘adaptation’ and speech therapist therapy often involves – and is often more selective – the proper teaching of language (which is often best accessible through ASL). However, for many employees, deaf and hard of hearing speaking students are viewed as success stories and may subconsciously be considered smarter than just ASL users, regardless of their intellect.
Some respond to this type of educational experience by not using their voice, no matter how good it is. For others, especially if they live with the deaf, speech becomes dysfunctional and incomplete as a means of communication compared to ASL.
When I go out with deaf friends, I put my hearing aid in my bag. It removes all listening skills, but most of all it removes the ambiguity that often annoys me.
We indicated the restaurant menu and made a gesture to the waiters. Order receiving servers also respond with gestures. Are these pantomime “drinks”? And tell us they learned small grades in kindergarten. Somewhat embarrassed, they signed “Rain, Rain, Go, Come Another Day” while demanding our salad dressing. We smiled and gently moved them to the menu. My friends are professionals at this task and ordering is easy, even fun. There is an unusual difference in how I feel outside of my husband.
When my friends and I receive the order, we write a storm, talking about everything and being ashamed of nothing. What will this mean? People are still watching. Our language is luxurious, our faces are alive. My friends talk about food, but food is not that important to me. I like the smuggling of communications – the luxury of chatting in a language I not only understand 100%, but a self -satisfaction. I take nothing for granted, I enjoy everything and everything is fine.
Until I accidentally said the word “soup” out loud.
Defining the menu, I ran the word on the server. And our delicious food went straight down. Suddenly the waiting man turned around; The beautiful, moving and visible parts of their brain die, as if they were dead.
“Whadda payu dictorom danu?” Looks like the server says. “Buddica taluca sailor?”
“Not me Deaf“You’re talking. A friend hit the server and pointed to the coffee, pantomime dairy cow. But the damage was done. The server moved next to me and simply looked at me with laser fire. His pen was ready, moving. his mouth like a fish. Show amazing speed, Taking our order together. “Duvana Diser Vida Coffee Anmik? Or widabeeaw fayuh-mow?”
Austin “Avti” Andrews (a deaf adult child, often spelled CODA) Describes a similar situation.
“Everything went well,” he said. “The waiter was signaling, he was wonderful. Then I just spoke and puwe !! “It’s like a bullet hit a waiter directly on the head,” he said, slowly pointing the bullet, hitting it in the air and slapping the waiter on the forehead. Oh.
Hearing may be surprising because of this, but the deaf laugh out loud, catharsis.
“Devil! I only said one word!” I say to my friends: “But why are you doing this?” They asked me, looking at me with astonishment and regret. Off, first and foremost? ” They said.
Listening to people is likely to make you think I am Lucky – a success story – because I can speak. But I agree with my friends.
One in four people has a “hearing impairment” in the United States, but only a small percentage of these people are related to the community of the deaf, who can be smarter and more difficult to navigate the world. Many of them are convinced that they are not part of the deaf community or that they do not need it, and this leads to alienation from them. But sometimes I find that deaf people have decisions to make.
“The best thing is this,” said a deaf friend as I described my frustration with the store that day. “Before you hear what he has to say: can you read lips? You will sign them “Can you sign?” I tried it the other day and was really amazed at how it worked. The employee immediately turned pale and apologized for not signing. Then he looked at the counter and took out a pen and paper. The load will move – no, it will jump! – Directly off my shoulders and on his shoulders. Amazing.
Another simple but powerful thing to do in such situations is to send a text message. Hearing aids can also use a voice text app on their phones. For easy communication in most daily meetings, this is a game changer. I caught up for this adaptation, but now my goal is to make sound and communicate via text app or a good pen and paper when dealing with strangers. It will be wonderful.
If you are a hearing -impaired person who is accustomed to lip -reading – and especially if you are discouraged by how difficult it is to wear a COVID -19 mask, or if you are Tired On this dance page, use the solutions right there, courtesy of deaf hand (or pocket). You’ll be amazed at how it changes the game, returns items, and gives you control, instead of touching that painful, thrilling, butterfly -like needle like a regular lip reader. And for some it may be hard to accept, but if you really want to stop the pain of lip reading like I did, think about deafening yourself and stop using your voice entirely.
If you’re a listener, take your suggestions when you encounter someone who says you don’t understand. Their. Want to write down what you have to say? Do they want to remove their masks and speak softly? Do you like pantomime? The deaf and hard of hearing are experts in how to communicate with them. Ask them openly and diligently and respect their decisions, which they will surely have.
As for me, I can speak, but can I walk and really stop talking? We see. I will do everything: public speaking only causes a lot of problems.
And I promise I won’t say “soup”.
Rachel Zemach has taught deaf students in both traditional and deaf schools. She is obsessed with books, dance and helps her former students navigate this fascinating world. She lives in Novato, California, listening from her husband, who calls her a “hamburger” and not a “husband” (because the signs are the same). It is now considered a memoir.
Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see posted on HuffPost? Find out what we are looking for here and send us the presentation!