Deaf Culture

Many parents of deaf children are hearing therefore they have no idea that there is a deaf culture.  There is in fact a very active deaf culture in the United States.  It is a culture of its own much like any other minority culture.  They have their own language, customs, and beliefs.  The language they share is American Sign Language.  There are schools that are taught using sign language and these children learn about all the same things children in a regular school would as well as Deaf culture. 

It is also important to note that the Deaf culture as a whole is opposed to cochlear implants.  They feel that there is nothing wrong with being deaf and that it is wrong to perform a surgery on a child when there is nothing wrong with them.  Deaf people in general view hearing people negatively because hearing people view deafness as a problem that needs to be fixed and hearing people have been trying to fix them their whole lives. 

There are two types of deafness.  Little d and big D.  Little d deafness is a medical condition.  This is Uncle Carl at the family reunion who can’t hear anyone.  Big D Deafness is a culture.  A Deaf person is one who associates with the Deaf community and embraces Deafness.  A person can be born deaf, get a cochlear implant, learn to use speech and never know about  Deaf culture.  Some people choose not to be a part of it and this is a personal choice for each individual.  Other people are born deaf, go to a school for the Deaf and live entirely in the Deaf world.  This is a decision that is up to each individual. 

However once a person has a cochlear implant they are not Deaf and they are not hearing.  They don’t really belong to either world and may find this challenging.  It is important to take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to get a cochlear implant. 

For more information on cochlear implants please visit these websites:

Deaf Culture Online

Start ASL

Another great resource regarding this issue is a PBS film titled Sound and Fury.

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