Deaf Culture #11

Most deaf children have deaf parents?

False.  Only 10% of deaf children have deaf parents.  The remaining 90% have hearing parents.  These children are more likely to attend a public school with a mainstream program, have an amplification device, and rely on oral skills, or Signed Exact English, as opposed to ASL.

Working with a deaf person requires an interpreter all of the time?

There are many day-to-day activities that do not require an interpreter.  Often the deaf person will communicate with pen and paper in order to ask general questions, order fast food, go to the pharmacist, and other mundane tasks.  Though many Deaf use an interpreter for on the job training, staff meetings, and other important work functions, there are very few who have an interpreter with them at work at all times.

If you do not know sign language, it is acceptable to write back and forth with a deaf person?

True!  This is one of the most acceptable and often used methods of communicating with a deaf person, if you don’t know ASL.  Many members of the Deaf community developed a tendency to carry a pen and notepad with them so that they are readily available when needed.

Deaf people don’t mind working in noisy environments?

You may find it surprising to learn that this is false.  The word “deaf” is an umbrella term that may refer to people of many different degrees of hearing loss.  Some people may be bothered by high tones, others by low tones, and still more by mid-tones.  Even people with complete hearing loss can be sensitive to “environmental noise”, which are the vibrations caused by sound waves.  Working in a noisy environment can be just as distracting for a deaf person as it is to a hearing person.

Deaf people tend to be more sensitive to the light?

This is true.  It is not uncommon for people who experience sensory deprivation to have their other senses compensate for the one that is lost.  Deaf people may be more sensitive to light, vibrations, smells, or even tastes.  Light is also an important issue to consider when signing too much, too little, and reflections can make it difficult to see the other person.