Continuing along the same theme as my Crab Theory post. I'll be sharing my feelings on an old phenomenon that happens in the Deaf community plus one recent one that has popped up.
What is Deaf Identity?
I know the Deaf Identity involves more than just the three I showed, but it is the simple explanation. So, let's take a quick look:
American Sign Language is our shared language in the United States and in some parts of the world.
It is NOT "English on the hands" or "gesturing" as the misconception goes.
It is its own valid language with grammar, syntax and all the linguistic rules. Deaf people use ASL not just to communicate but also to tell stories, poetry, jokes, visual vernacular, and SO much more. In short, we cherish our ASL.
Culture is "defined as patterns, traits, products, attitudes, and intellectual / artistic activity associated with a population".
Some Deaf Culture aspects are:
Deaf pride is calling ourselves Deaf - Capital D, as opposed to deaf - Little D.
We do not see ourselves as "broken", "disabled", or "handicapped".
As Dr. Bill Vicars of LifePrint puts it "So we renounce the label of disability and shun patronizing attempts to categorize us as having a "challenge." Not because we don't have a challenge, (we do), but rather because it is psychologically much more comfortable to avoid thinking about it and focus on other things. We go about our lives engaged in the process of "living" and are then confronted by certain Hearing people feel the inexplicable, irrational need to "help" us come to terms with and/or "realize" or "admit" that we have a "problem.""
Now, let's go to the phenomenons happening:
"Not Deaf Enough"
This has been happening for generations, where one feels "too deaf for the hearing world, not deaf enough for the Deaf world". Where one may have been mainstreamed, grew up orally (speaking not signing), late-deafened, deaf but don't sign, have a cochlear implant or whatever reason the Deaf "elitists" feel. (My word choice). These "outsiders" are then rejected, black-listed, or even attacked.
My personal opinion? It's bullshit! Everyone with a strong hearing loss struggle to communicate and participate in the outside "hearing" world. We face the same rejection, oppression and patronizing attitudes from ignorant people. We all face been left out and isolation in a busy crowd at one time or another.
New Labeling - DDBDDHH
Recently there's a "trend" that's going around stating that the word "Deaf" is not inclusive enough and "we" should be calling ourselves DDBDDHH. Which stands for Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing. Here's a captioned video explaining more:
First of all, that's a lot to memorize and fingerspell (and say). Look, I call myself DeafBlind because it's my identity as well as being a lot easier than saying "Deaf and legally blind", or to be more PC "I have a combined hearing loss and am visually challenged". Sheesh! Now you want me to say "I am DDBDDHH and have vision loss"? No. Just No.
Think the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) will now have to spend more on bigger business cards and letterheads to change it to National Association of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing.
Let's stick with Deaf.
Cherish Who YOU Are!
No matter where you are in your Deaf identity search - still "d"eaf, learning ASL, have a hearing aid or a C.I., or already deeply involved in the Deaf community - whatever, be PROUD of who you are!
Never apologize for who you are as a Deaf person and never apologize for where you are in life. You're responsible for yourself (and your family).
Ignore the naysayers and other crabs (remember crab theory?) and keep learning, keep evolving and stay happy and productive.
I was asked to test out a new iOs App for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people called MyEar. It's a speech-to-text App to help in communication.
MyEar came about when a CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) saw how much his Deaf father was struggling to lipread day in and out. He decided to create an App to help his dad.
I think this is a great App! Even if you're a skilled lipreader - you'll still only catch about 30% of the conversation. Not fair is it? MyEar will help transcribe what's being said - it's not perfect - and they state that clearly - but I've found it to be much, much better than other Apps available out there.
This will help in various situations:
Here's a video demonstration on how it works:
Pretty simple right! No advertising,, no asking people to download the same app, no popups, no more buying "minutes"!
One drawback I found with it - you need an internet connection for it to work, so sometimes it won't work on my iPad. But, very few places don't have public WiFi these days.
So, check out their Facebook Page or download it yourself with this link:
Many times when people find out out someone is deaf or hard of hearing, the first question is usually:
"Can you read lips?"
Why? Why do people assume that all of "us" can lipread? Maybe you don't realize how hard it is to lipread and master it?
Let me explain:
Only 30% of what is said can be seen clearly on the lips. (And that's by skilled readers too). That's 3 out of 10 words! Most of it is guesswork.
Here's an example of how it's done.
Photo Transcript can be read here.
Pretty difficult right?
Don't forget there's eye fatigue and headaches that goes along with heavy lipreading.
How to Help
You can help ease the strain and stress by helping us out by:
How did you do? Harder than it looks eh?
One final suggestion:
Instead of asking:
I'm still looking for writers, bloggers, and vloggers to join my site!
Want exposure for your writing, teach others, or share information, but don't have the knowledge, or don't want the hassle, of running your own website. Leave that to me!
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Contact me and let's open a discussion!
.I’ve recently been asked by Sonic Alert to review two of their products.
I was given the Sonic Boom Travel Alarm clock and their NEW Bluetooth Sonic Boom Super Shaker Alarm.
Sonic Alert is a company that specializes in alerting systems for people with hearing loss and for those who are hard to wake up. They sell alarm clocks that have extra-loud ringers and "bed shakers" which are small pods that vibrate for you to feel. They also sell amplified telephones and home alerting systems (visual alerts to important sounds).
Now the products:
The Sonic Boom Travel Alarm Clock
The picture shows the clock portion upright, but it actually can fold flat.
I tried the alarm in several scenarios:
- Tucked under two pillows.
- Between the mattress and boxspring.
- Clipped to the fitted sheet in between the pillows (on a queen bed).
- Clipped to the fitted sheet, but dangling over the side (in case you knocked it off)
- Clipped to the end of the bed in the middle (by my feet).
It didn't work in only 2 scenarios - dangling off the bed and clipped to the sheet in the middle between the pillows. I figured out why - there was no resistance to the vibrations, meaning there was nothing on top to enhance the vibrating. If it bounced freely, the vibrations are lost - so using a blanket or pillow helps.
In all the other situations - Man did it ever work! You could be in a coma and still wake up on time. That's why the name "Sonic Boom" fits it perfectly.
It was very easy to set up, Just install the batteries, one look at the diagram bof where buttons are and I was done setting the time, the alarm & the vibrate alert. It also has a snooze button, night light and options such as vibrate only, buzzer only, and both vibrate and buzzer.
The only suggestion I have for improving this product is having a pocket in the storage case for the batteries, (as they advise removing the batteries while not in use).
Sonic Bomb Bluetooth Super Shaker Alarm
So whenever you receive a new phone call, text, a new e-mail on your smartphone - it sends an alert to the sonic boom.
The vibrations can be adjusted - short bursts, long vibrate, and so on. Sadly it cannot be set to different vibrations to different alerts. (short bursts for texts and long vibration for email). I don't really care for that option but thought some users might.
I really thought this would be AWESOME for Deafblind people like myself! Why? We often lack peripheral vision and miss seeing the visual alert flasher or the smartphone's own light. Sure, we could just have the phone vibrate in our pocket - but that gets uncomfortable when you're in a chair or on the couch watching TV, reading, or other activities. Stick the Sonic Bomb alert in your couch or chair cushion and you'll never miss anything else.
Another bonus I liked - the Sonic Boom alerter can either be plugged into a wall socket (with included plug adapter) or a USB port. The bonus is that the USB adapter has another USB port for you to plug in your smartphone or tablet into. So only one plug outlet is needed for the vibrating alert and to charge your phone How cool is that?
Both of these great products and Sonic Alert's other products, can be found on their website, on Amazon, and in my Store.
So never be late for anything while away from home, or miss any more notifications with Sonic Alert.
American Sign Language (ASL) has steadily gained more exposure through television, movies and social media. It’s the third largest language used in the United States.
People are eagerly taking classes, watching videos, and downloading Apps to learn ASL. They’ve even created signing Holograms and included ASL in a new video game.
So, the more people that know ASL, the less communication barriers we, Deaf, will face. Deaf people will be able to be more involved in the community around us.
Or that’s what everyone thinks……
No matter how many times Nyle DiMarco posts on Twitter, how many PSAs Marlee Matlin makes, or how many episodes of Switched at Birth there are – people still have negative bias towards Deafness and low-set standards towards them.
We constantly fight to get:
Let me explain further:
Whenever we need to go to the doctor’s office, or to the Emergency room, we constantly fight for our communication rights in getting an interpreter. I’m not talking about the portable video relay interpreter (VRI) unit mind you!
You wouldn’t expect someone speaking Spanish to forgo an interpreter and be forced to communicate in their broken English and understand everything clearly? Why are Deaf people subjected to this discrimination and stress.
So, we constantly fight for communication access that WE choose, not something forced on us by administrators because it’s a cheaper alternative.
There are only 48% of the Deaf Community that are employed. Some of those who are employed are woefully underemployed. I know several that have degrees but can only get employment in unskilled jobs, like in a factory or retail.
Firstly, this change has to start early in High Schools (whether it’s a Deaf institute or a mainstreamed school) where the tendency is to steer Deaf students towards vocational training instead of higher academic goals.
Secondly, higher education institutes need to provide better accessibility to their colleges and universities (this goes back to the interpreter issue).
Thirdly, employers need to provide adequate access as well. Many just skip over potential candidates just on the disability issue alone (can’t prove it, but it’s been done).
So, we battle an unfair war to gain respectful employment.
There are State schools for the Deaf all across the U.S. and Canada who primarily teach in ASL. But even then the sign language competency is inadequate! There was a State review of the Florida School of the Deaf and Blind that revealed 82 of the teachers didn’t meet proficiency requirements. This is widespread across a lot of schools.
I attended a Deaf High School, the rumor was that some of the teachers weren’t qualified enough to teach in the Public sector so they were assigned to a Deaf School.
So, we get second-rate teachers who can’t even communicate well with us?
I see and read so many stories, as well as experienced it myself, that as soon as someone finds out that a person is Deaf – their expectations of that person drops dramatically.
Forget about the awkwardness of trying to communicate, that’s understandable if they’ve never met a Deaf person before, I’m talking about people’s instant opinion of that Deaf person. The majority of the time that opinion is that Deaf = Mentally Deficient and we’re treated as such. “Where’s your caretaker”, “Can you get someone else to sign this for you?” “How will you look after your child?” and the list goes on.
So, no matter how much exposure Deaf people get in the Media, we still encounter people who don’t believe that we can be scientists, business owners, teachers, actors, and everything else!
Putting all the above aside, we just want to be accepted for the way we are and that we don’t need to be cured or fixed in order to be a productive member of society.
We have a beautiful, vibrant, and healthy Culture that is thriving and we cherish and are proud of. We have art, poetry, movies, stories, humor, history and socialization that is unique from any other Culture in the world.
So, we continue to strive without “hearing” intervention and oppression. We just want people to stop asking about our hearing loss and whether “they” should fix it for us.
One glaring example of everything I just discussed is summed up in this video:
Now I think it’s awesome that more people are learning to sign, but we also need to get rid of the stereotypes and attitudes towards Deafness and the Deaf community.
So please, along with learning ASL - become involved in changing mentalities too.