Deaf culture facts that might surprise you

tyistheatre7

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Hey, guys! :wave: I was reading some stuff on online and I found one that's interesting. Not trying to criticize or anything but just to let you know :)

Hearing people often think of deafness as simply “an inability to hear.” Being Deaf, though, is about more than just whether or not a person can hear—it’s about being part of a community with its own history, values, and culture. Let’s take a look at some of the more surprising facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture.

Sign Language Isn’t Universal

While American Sign Language is used in the United States and Canada, most countries have their own distinct sign languages. Just as American Sign Language is unrelated to spoken English, the sign languages of other countries have their own unique histories separate from the origins and histories of their countries’ respective spoken languages. For example, since the co-founder of the first school for the Deaf in the United States was from France, American Sign Language has many similarities to French Sign Language. American Sign Language is completely different, though, from British Sign Language. In other words, American Deaf people can often communicate easily with French Deaf people, but not with British Deaf people!


Information Sharing

It’s not unusual for Deaf people to be completely comfortable talking about personal topics like health, salary, and how much their mortgage is, even with people they don’t know well. In Deaf culture, information sharing is valued, so it isn’t considered rude to ask questions that may seem overly personal to hearing people. Why this difference? Hearing culture is generally individualist, with a lot of emphasis on privacy, personal space, and "doing your own thing." In contrast, Deaf culture is collectivist, with Deaf people seeing themselves as part of a close-knit and interconnected group. Sharing information is an important aspect of cultures that value this kind of interconnectedness.


Deaf People Can Be Very Direct

Similar to the value placed on information sharing, Deaf people can be direct with comments and questions about topics that hearing people often consider rude. For example, Deaf people don’t consider it rude to make comments such as, “You’ve really gained weight—what happened?” In fact, not commenting on an obvious change like weight gain can come across as aloof or uncaring. Alternatively, while hearing people might interpret Deaf people’s directness as rude, Deaf people can be confused by how roundabout hearing people can be. For example, when giving criticism or feedback, hearing people often “pad” their negative feedback with positive statements. For Deaf people, this can send mixed messages since it isn’t clear what message the hearing person is trying to convey.


Deaf People Are Better Drivers Than Hearing People

A common myth about Deaf people is that since they can’t hear, they must be bad drivers. However, quite the opposite is true. According to statistics compiled by the National Association of the Deaf and the U.S. government, Deaf drivers tend to be better drivers than hearing people.1 It’s not entirely clear why this is the case, but it’s probably because driving is primarily a visual activity, and the ideal driving environment is a quiet one (just think of how many hearing drivers are distracted by loud music or phone conversations while driving!). Plus, there’s some evidence that Deaf people have better peripheral vision than hearing people, which would be a great advantage when driving.


Looking At The Face, Not Hands, When Communicating

If you watch Deaf people sign, you’ll notice that they look at each other’s faces, not hands, when communicating. People who are learning to sign often fixate on the signer’s hands, which looks unnatural and can hinder effective communication. This is because facial expressions are just as important for communication in sign language as using the hands and can have a huge impact on the meaning that is being conveyed. In fact, the emotionless facial expressions of people who are learning to sign can be a source of some amusement in the Deaf community! Interestingly, one reason the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was so easily identified was not just because his signs were gibberish--he also remained completely expressionless while signing.


Getting Someone's Attention

To get someone’s attention, Deaf people might tap someone on the shoulder. Or, they might bang or tap on a table so that the vibrations cause everyone at the table to look toward the source of the vibrations. In a large group or classroom setting, flashing the lights off and on is a common way to get everyone’s attention. It’s rude to wave your hands right in front of a Deaf person’s face to get their attention. Just gently tap them on the shoulder instead. It’s ok to wave your hand, though, if you’re too far away for a shoulder tap. Here are some commons mistakes hearing people make when trying to get a Deaf person's attention. These are generally considered inappropriate or even rude.

- stomping furiously on the floor
- turning the lights on and off when you're trying to get just one person's attention, and not the entire group
- aggressively jabbing the person you want to talk to
- waving your hand right in front of the person's face
- grabbing the person's hands to force him or her to stop signing and pay attention to you (never, ever grab a Deaf person's hands--that's like someone putting their hand over the mouth of a hearing person)

Have you observed any other facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture? Leave your comments below!
 

Honeycat

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Interestingly, one reason the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was so easily identified was not just because his signs were gibberish--he also remained completely expressionless while signing.
Wasn't that awful? Personally, all I know of sign language is the alphabet but even I knew that Mandela interpreter was fake. If I see something on TV and there's a person signing, I always note their facial expressions. Closed captioning is a life-saver for me with the TV. Even watching movies, you concentrate on the actor's facial expressions as much as the dialog to get the story across.

I've heard about deaf people being better drivers. Since I've lost most of of my hearing, I rely on sight and look around so much more and am aware of traffic and potential dangerous situations with other cars. No more listening to loud music and being distracted. Luckily, I can still kind of hear ambulance/firetruck sirens but I do rely on sight if other cars are pulling over to the side. Peripheral vision absolutely comes into play when driving and in all activities.


Also about what they say that when you lose one sense, another becomes more developed. It's true for me. I have a very acute sense of smell now.
 

whatdidyousay!

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Deaf People Can Be Very Direct

Similar to the value placed on information sharing, Deaf people can be direct with comments and questions about topics that hearing people often consider rude. For example, Deaf people don’t consider it rude to make comments such as, “You’ve really gained weight—what happened?” In fact, not commenting on an obvious change like weight gain can come across as aloof or uncaring. Alternatively, while hearing people might interpret Deaf people’s directness as rude, Deaf people can be confused by how roundabout hearing people can be. For example, when giving criticism or feedback, hearing people often “pad” their negative feedback with positive statements. For Deaf people, this can send mixed messages since it isn’t clear what message the hearing person is trying to convey.

I disagree with this , I know a lot of hearing people that are very direct and can be consider rude . This has nothing to with being deaf or hoh .
 

heargirl

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never before met any deaf persons

I am a hearing young woman. I don't know any at all. I think they're just great!!
 

shel90

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I know I am great because I don't break laws, a contributing citizen who pays taxes, put my children first, and go to work like I am supposed to do.
 

caz12

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Hey, guys! :wave: I was reading some stuff on online and I found one that's interesting. Not trying to criticize or anything but just to let you know :)

Hearing people often think of deafness as simply “an inability to hear.” Being Deaf, though, is about more than just whether or not a person can hear—it’s about being part of a community with its own history, values, and culture. Let’s take a look at some of the more surprising facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture.

Sign Language Isn’t Universal

While American Sign Language is used in the United States and Canada, most countries have their own distinct sign languages. Just as American Sign Language is unrelated to spoken English, the sign languages of other countries have their own unique histories separate from the origins and histories of their countries’ respective spoken languages. For example, since the co-founder of the first school for the Deaf in the United States was from France, American Sign Language has many similarities to French Sign Language. American Sign Language is completely different, though, from British Sign Language. In other words, American Deaf people can often communicate easily with French Deaf people, but not with British Deaf people!


Information Sharing

It’s not unusual for Deaf people to be completely comfortable talking about personal topics like health, salary, and how much their mortgage is, even with people they don’t know well. In Deaf culture, information sharing is valued, so it isn’t considered rude to ask questions that may seem overly personal to hearing people. Why this difference? Hearing culture is generally individualist, with a lot of emphasis on privacy, personal space, and "doing your own thing." In contrast, Deaf culture is collectivist, with Deaf people seeing themselves as part of a close-knit and interconnected group. Sharing information is an important aspect of cultures that value this kind of interconnectedness.


Deaf People Can Be Very Direct

Similar to the value placed on information sharing, Deaf people can be direct with comments and questions about topics that hearing people often consider rude. For example, Deaf people don’t consider it rude to make comments such as, “You’ve really gained weight—what happened?” In fact, not commenting on an obvious change like weight gain can come across as aloof or uncaring. Alternatively, while hearing people might interpret Deaf people’s directness as rude, Deaf people can be confused by how roundabout hearing people can be. For example, when giving criticism or feedback, hearing people often “pad” their negative feedback with positive statements. For Deaf people, this can send mixed messages since it isn’t clear what message the hearing person is trying to convey.


Deaf People Are Better Drivers Than Hearing People

A common myth about Deaf people is that since they can’t hear, they must be bad drivers. However, quite the opposite is true. According to statistics compiled by the National Association of the Deaf and the U.S. government, Deaf drivers tend to be better drivers than hearing people.1 It’s not entirely clear why this is the case, but it’s probably because driving is primarily a visual activity, and the ideal driving environment is a quiet one (just think of how many hearing drivers are distracted by loud music or phone conversations while driving!). Plus, there’s some evidence that Deaf people have better peripheral vision than hearing people, which would be a great advantage when driving.


Looking At The Face, Not Hands, When Communicating

If you watch Deaf people sign, you’ll notice that they look at each other’s faces, not hands, when communicating. People who are learning to sign often fixate on the signer’s hands, which looks unnatural and can hinder effective communication. This is because facial expressions are just as important for communication in sign language as using the hands and can have a huge impact on the meaning that is being conveyed. In fact, the emotionless facial expressions of people who are learning to sign can be a source of some amusement in the Deaf community! Interestingly, one reason the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was so easily identified was not just because his signs were gibberish--he also remained completely expressionless while signing.


Getting Someone's Attention

To get someone’s attention, Deaf people might tap someone on the shoulder. Or, they might bang or tap on a table so that the vibrations cause everyone at the table to look toward the source of the vibrations. In a large group or classroom setting, flashing the lights off and on is a common way to get everyone’s attention. It’s rude to wave your hands right in front of a Deaf person’s face to get their attention. Just gently tap them on the shoulder instead. It’s ok to wave your hand, though, if you’re too far away for a shoulder tap. Here are some commons mistakes hearing people make when trying to get a Deaf person's attention. These are generally considered inappropriate or even rude.

- stomping furiously on the floor
- turning the lights on and off when you're trying to get just one person's attention, and not the entire group
- aggressively jabbing the person you want to talk to
- waving your hand right in front of the person's face
- grabbing the person's hands to force him or her to stop signing and pay attention to you (never, ever grab a Deaf person's hands--that's like someone putting their hand over the mouth of a hearing person)

Have you observed any other facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture? Leave your comments below!

you not told us anything we did't alreay know and could be seen as little patronizing...I think you must be very young girl
 

o0talula0o

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Well Bottesini and Robin, if nothing else it looks as tho there's a fan club of 1 if nothing else... even if there isn't an educated reason for her decision. Lol, people are cute.
 

Bottesini

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Well Bottesini and Robin, if nothing else it looks as tho there's a fan club of 1 if nothing else... even if there isn't an educated reason for her decision. Lol, people are cute.

Sometime though, I really wish one of them would answer and I could get to the bottom of this.

I think Frisky said it best when asking if we are like pets?
 

o0talula0o

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Yeah I thought friskys comment was awesome. Cuz seriously... when people say things like that I would imagine that one would not know whether to take such a statement as a compliment or just feeling singled out. Hmmm... and she still hasn't clarified. Anxiously awaiting the response?
 

TrippyMoods22

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I picked up on the patronizing edge, however unintentional it may have been.

Personally, when people attempt to use loud noises/abrupt shouts/unwelcome physical contact, i pretend as if i'm going to lunge toward them but stop myself short with a smile, saying "Please don't do that" in a voice that is dripping with thinly veiled condescension. Probably should work on that.. lol
 
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