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Unread 01-10-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
musher
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Hearing-Deaf Etiquette

Hi all!

I am hearing, and I am in a class in college with a woman who is deaf. She has an interpreter, can lipread somewhat and has a clear speaking voice. I've not had much interaction with those who are deaf/hoh, coming from a small farming community, and so I am unsure what might be considered offensive or insensitive that I may be unconsciously doing, or things that make it harder for us to communicate. She seems *very* nice, but she is there to learn and not educate me on deaf culture/etiquette, so I'd rather not bother her with these questions unless she mentions it first. But that's what you wonderful people can help me with!

Do you have any "Deafness/HOH for Hearing Dummies" tips or rules for me?

Also, would you consider it okay to communicate via laptop? I'm a very fast typer and I usually communicate much clearer via type rather than speech. I feel bad for her (and the interpreters!) who have to translate all of my umm's and ah's. I don't know if it is considered to be an impersonal method of interacting, though.

Thanks everybody!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
DeafCaroline
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Why don't you just ask her directly what's appropriate and not appropriate? That's a good conversation starter. I remember a time someone came up to me and said they had been dying to ask me a question for years but was afraid to ask thinking I would think it' stupid or offensive.

the questions were "can you hear in your dreams? does it distract you lipreading people who have food in their teeth?"

don't be so afraid of being politically incorrect, just be direct and ask direct questions. if she gets irritated or offended, ask her to explain why.

and get around the interpreters for pete's sake, write down what you want to say and hand it to her.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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From what I've read, deaf people are pretty up front and don't beat around the bush. Maybe she won't mind if you're the same to her?
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Unread 01-10-2012, 10:59 AM   #4
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Thanks Caroline. I didn't know if it was considered very rude to ask questions like that.

And yes, the interpreters sometimes seem to hinder the communcation more than they help. They sign their personal conversations while we are both trying to work in a group, and my classmate looks over to see if the conversation is relevant. It's a bit distracting, for her and for me!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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Thanks Caroline. I didn't know if it was considered very rude to ask questions like that.

And yes, the interpreters sometimes seem to hinder the communcation more than they help. They sign their personal conversations while we are both trying to work in a group, and my classmate looks over to see if the conversation is relevant. It's a bit distracting, for her and for me!
Keep in mind that most hearing people, when they learn you are deaf, apologize and walk away.

believe me, we'd rather you'd stay, and make an effort to meet us halfway, by writing things down if you don't know sign or we're having trouble lipreading you.

like howag said, deaf people are forthright and blunt, so don't worry, just talk, er, write to her forget all the PC crap.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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Keep in mind that most hearing people, when they learn you are deaf, apologize and walk away.
Which is so disturbing. I've noticed that the other students make a point of not involving themselves with us. The other groups have four/five students, our group is just us two. Maybe they are intimidated, but it must be extremely frustrating as a deaf person to have to deal with that constantly.

And the teacher (an English teacher, nonetheless) seems to think she can't read. What?!

P.S.: I will promptly dump the PC crap, lol! Thanks!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #7
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Which is so disturbing. I've noticed that the other students make a point of not involving themselves with us. The other groups have four/five students, our group is just us two. Maybe they are intimidated, but it must be extremely frustrating as a deaf person to have to deal with that constantly.

And the teacher (an English teacher, nonetheless) seems to think she can't read. What?!
welcome to our world. i remember in high school a student got so upset pairing up with me for a debate in advanced economics class. It was very satisfying when my partner asked what grade I got for the debate.

Me - 96%
him - 65%
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:15 AM   #8
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Keep in mind that most hearing people, when they learn you are deaf, apologize and walk away.

believe me, we'd rather you'd stay, and make an effort to meet us halfway, by writing things down if you don't know sign or we're having trouble lipreading you.

like howag said, deaf people are forthright and blunt, so don't worry, just talk, er, write to her forget all the PC crap.
I get the impression that the PC is already out for note taking in class and might actually be faster that handwriting. I know I type faster than I write.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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welcome to our world. i remember in high school a student got so upset pairing up with me for a debate in advanced economics class. It was very satisfying when my partner asked what grade I got for the debate.

Me - 96%
him - 65%
It's really is an eye-opening experience. I came from a pretty homogenous place so people in general didn't have much confrontation. Why? We were all exactly the same - a bunch of white farmkids. It's amazing how terrible people can get when they encounter someone who is not the "norm". I feel like slapping everyone upside the head, and I don't even have to deal with it once I leave the classroom!

Your story about the grades is great, too. Gotta love those eff you moments!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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I get the impression that the PC is already out for note taking in class and might actually be faster that handwriting.
Hey Jane, I think she meant political correctness (maybe?). I could see where it might be misinterpreted, though, given the context.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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Oh, just find a common ground and start a conversation. Who knows what it will lead to. I know that a lot of deaf people like cars with turbocharged engine. Feel free to bring up that topic. I know I like to talk about turbos. I am sure others will too.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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Oh, just find a common ground and start a conversation.
Always good advice, thanks. Now, if she likes '69 Chevelle's or eating way too much sugar then I'm sure we will be instant best friends!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:50 AM   #13
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Smile Laptop ok for me!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by musher View Post
Hi all!

I am hearing, and I am in a class in college with a woman who is deaf. She has an interpreter, can lipread somewhat and has a clear speaking voice. I've not had much interaction with those who are deaf/hoh, coming from a small farming community, and so I am unsure what might be considered offensive or insensitive that I may be unconsciously doing, or things that make it harder for us to communicate. She seems *very* nice, but she is there to learn and not educate me on deaf culture/etiquette, so I'd rather not bother her with these questions unless she mentions it first. But that's what you wonderful people can help me with!

Do you have any "Deafness/HOH for Hearing Dummies" tips or rules for me?

Also, would you consider it okay to communicate via laptop? I'm a very fast typer and I usually communicate much clearer via type rather than speech. I feel bad for her (and the interpreters!) who have to translate all of my umm's and ah's. I don't know if it is considered to be an impersonal method of interacting, though.

Thanks everybody!
I have only been deaf 8 months. I don't know enough ASL to communicate yet. However, even if I did my college children have not learned it yet.
I LOVE them bringing their laptops over to talk to me. Just like you they are very fast typers. Right now it is a very good way for me to have a "real" conversation with them. If they had to write everything down, our conversations would be limited. I do try to lipread but I always have to ask them to repeat themselves. So as a mother to 3 young adults, I'll take a laptop conversation anyday!! Good luck.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:56 AM   #14
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Thanks angle! Yeah, the conversation does seem really stilted when we have to use the interpreters. I too was thinking that the laptop might make active discussions a bit easier, since our class is very groupwork-oriented.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 12:26 PM   #15
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I'm hearing, too. My boyfriend and I started out talking online, and he let me know he was deaf. Other than some finger spelling, I didn't know any sign language, and I was comfortable enough with him to say, "I'd love to meet you in person, but I don't know any sign language, like, at all. How can we communicate?" He explained to me that he lip reads, and he told me to bring a pen and a pad to our first meeting. It went fine, and the rest (as they say) is history.

I used to be intimidated to approach deaf people, because I did not know sign language, but I'm glad that I took that step and met my boyfriend. Since then, I've met some wonderful people, and I realize how much I would have missed out on, had I not tried.

Things I've learned: Always make sure you are looking right at the person. Don't rush in your communication (don't talk to fast.) Don't cover your mouth. Don't be afraid to ask questions and/or let them know you don't know sign language (if you don't.)

The first thing that my boyfriend taught me--I'm SO embarrassed about this...--was "Loud doesn't help." LOL! (I don't know what I wast thinking. I was clueless.)

The most important thing is to try. You may end up making a life long friend.

Jen M.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 12:30 PM   #16
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Thanks Jen for your insight! I am a serial mouth-coverer. It's a weird tic that I have. I've been literally holding the bottom of my chair to stop myself from doing it. It's like a compulsion! I never really noticed it before, but it'll be good to get some practice with not doing it in a conversation.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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Thanks Jen for your insight! I am a serial mouth-coverer. It's a weird tic that I have. I've been literally holding the bottom of my chair to stop myself from doing it. It's like a compulsion! I never really noticed it before, but it'll be good to get some practice with not doing it in a conversation.
LOL! That's OK. I range from fast-talker to mushmouth to looker-away. We've been together five years, and I'm STILL working on these habits!

At least I know some sign language now. I hope to take an acutal ASL class soon. We use signed English, but most of HIS friends I've met use ASL, and I just think ASL is less clunky then signed English.

Thinking back to when we first started dating, I remember our conversation about "if you had seen me just out in public, would you have come talk to me?" He said he would have approached me, but I said that while I would have thought he was really attractive, I would have been afraid to try to talk to him for fear of embarrassing myself and annoying him with my cluelessness. I'm glad we met online first!

Jen M.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 01:48 PM   #18
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Thanks Jen for your insight! I am a serial mouth-coverer. It's a weird tic that I have. I've been literally holding the bottom of my chair to stop myself from doing it. It's like a compulsion! I never really noticed it before, but it'll be good to get some practice with not doing it in a conversation.
just keep reminding yourself deaf people can't understand you if you cover your mouth and they will lose interest fast if you don't stop. I had a boyfriend who kept covering his mouth - it was his asian background and modesty thing - it got a bit tiresome after a while to keep asking him to move his hand and it got on my nerves that he kept forgetting that his deaf girlfriend actually needs to lipread. gave me the impression he wasn't being very thoughtful or considerate.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 01:50 PM   #19
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Thanks Jen for your insight! I am a serial mouth-coverer. It's a weird tic that I have. I've been literally holding the bottom of my chair to stop myself from doing it. It's like a compulsion! I never really noticed it before, but it'll be good to get some practice with not doing it in a conversation.
hmm... serial mouth coverer? are you asian? or self-conscious about your teeth?
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:03 PM   #20
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hmm... serial mouth coverer? are you asian? or self-conscious about your teeth?
Is mouth covering an Asian "thing"??
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:07 PM   #21
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Is mouth covering an Asian "thing"??
when they laugh, yeah yet they never cover their mouths when they cough. noticed that in thailand, very odd.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:10 PM   #22
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when they laugh, yeah yet they never cover their mouths when they cough. noticed that in thailand, very odd.
I cover my mouth when I yawn and for obvious reasons when I cough and sneeze. Did your boyfriends laugh and talk at the same time?
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:13 PM   #23
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I cover my mouth when I yawn and for obvious reasons when I cough and sneeze. Did your boyfriends laugh and talk at the same time?
can't really remember.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:15 PM   #24
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Is mouth covering an Asian "thing"??
yes because it's polite. Asian people especially girls cover their mouths when laughing or while talking if they're showing much of their teeth.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #25
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yes because it's polite. Asian people especially girls cover their mouths when laughing or while talking if they're showing much of their teeth.
Oh, I see,thanks.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 03:03 PM   #26
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hmm... serial mouth coverer? are you asian? or self-conscious about your teeth?
I think it's a holdover from my braces phase, now that i think about it...

Caroline - I could see where it would get really annoying, it could probably be compared to a hearing person talking to someone who mumbles severely, except about a hundred times worse. Guess I'll have to sit on my hands when I get the urge!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 03:06 PM   #27
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I think it's a holdover from my braces phase, now that i think about it...

Caroline - I could see where it would get really annoying, it could probably be compared to a hearing person talking to someone who mumbles severely. Guess I'll have to sit on my hands when I get the urge!
I know how you feel pal, braces for 3 years and after they were taken off I still mumbled to cover my teeth.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 03:19 PM   #28
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I think it's a holdover from my braces phase, now that i think about it...

Caroline - I could see where it would get really annoying, it could probably be compared to a hearing person talking to someone who mumbles severely, except about a hundred times worse. Guess I'll have to sit on my hands when I get the urge!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 03:21 PM   #29
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@ Jiro- Oh, yeah, laugh! But I rocked the foil, honey! lol
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Unread 01-10-2012, 07:30 PM   #30
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Which is so disturbing. I've noticed that the other students make a point of not involving themselves with us. The other groups have four/five students, our group is just us two. Maybe they are intimidated, but it must be extremely frustrating as a deaf person to have to deal with that constantly. And the teacher (an English teacher, nonetheless) seems to think she can't read. What?!

P.S.: I will promptly dump the PC crap, lol! Thanks!
Welcome to our world as others have posted. This behavior is sadly not uncommon and I had the same thing happen to me while I was in college. In fact it still does, even at work. No one bothers to actually include me and when I speak up I'm brushed aside as if what I've said really isn't as important as the hearing folks comments, opinions. As if I were a child to be ignored. It hurts. Thankfully there are hearies out there such as yourself who are intelligent enough to see that underneath the silence is a human being that has a heart and most important of all an actual brain. It's nothing short of amazing how people treat the Deaf. You would think the more intelligent a person is the better they'd be able to um, understand that Deafness is just that. Deafness. Not so. I work with doctors and although most if not all are very intelligent I get the same behavior and attitude, well..not from all of them. Maybe one or two have seen past the hearing aids and my voice to see that I'm more than I appear. Regardless...I wanted to thank you for coming here and trying to befriend this lady. If it were me you were trying to befriend It'd be the best part of the day for me to actually have someone to talk to.
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