Deaf culture

Quick facts

  • There are multiple communities: Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, etc.
  • There is no universal sign language; each country have their own sign languages                                                      (ex: American Sign Language, Brazilian sign language, etc.) and they are generally                                              vastly different from one another
  • Eye contact is a must (for Sighted Deaf people)
  • Several (not all) Deaf people are very expressive or show animated facial expressions
  • We usually need lights to communicate, not restaurants or rooms with dimmed light 
  • Some ask a lot of questions (even some sensitive topics, such as finance)
  • Being blunt considered to be a part of our cultural norm but it varies upon them
  • “Hearing Impaired” is considered to be incredibility offensive to some Deaf people
  • Our Deaf communities are so small → with some particular Deaf friends, we may have up to                                    200 mutual friends, even few mutual friends in other countries – I’m not even kidding!!!

Our Deaf Population

To the eyes of the Hearing society, we are considered a marginalized community due to the stigma associating with deafness or hearing loss. Hearing people* is the term that we use when referring those who can hear at the medical norm; basically, someone who don’t have a hearing loss. Deaf sign language users are linguistic and cultural minorities, although some may or may not perceive themselves that way. Some may instead (or also) perceive as being part of the disability community. Not every person knows sign language or is involved with the Deaf community. There are those who are involved in the community, take pride in their identity and do not see themselves broken but rather a person of a linguistic-minority community. They are considered culturally Deaf people.

Within the Deaf population, there are multiple communities: Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened (DDBDDHHLD). Sadly, some of them would identify as “deaf and dumb” or “deaf and mute” in some countriesI implore you to please do not use these terms, it’s incredibility offensive and ignorant.  Some people may not identify within these identities (DDBDDHHLD) and may say hearing impaired. Some do not perceive it as an identity and may say “I have a hearing loss/hearing impairment” instead. There are unique perks, challenges, and privileges within these communities, such as for DeafBlind and DeafDisabled communities. For example, I am a Deaf person who can see. I have the privilege to see, therefore I am considered Deaf Sighted. As a culturally Deaf sighted person, some of my posts do not apply for the entire Deaf population. 

There are will be some terms that I may use that you may not be familiar with (i.e. "Hearing person"). You can find definitions at the bottom of the page.

More info in my highlights on instagram

Posts about Deaf Culture

Although these posts are just the touch of the surface, you’ll have some basic ideas about our Deaf culture worldwide.

want to learn American Sign Language?

I can also teach!

Posts about Deaf Travel

There are couple of resources, stories and discussion about Deaf travel!

Terms to know

I may mention these terms on my blog. If you’re unsure what the term means, you’ll find it here below.

  • Abled: one who have full range of physical or mental abilities; do not have physical or mental disability 
  • Audism: discrimination or prejudice that is based on a person’s ability, or lack of ability, to hear.
  • Cochlear Implant (CI): oppose to hearing aids, it is an electronic device that is surgically implanted on one or both side(s) of their head
  • Culturally-Deaf: involved in Deaf community and Deaf culture
  • Deaf-Friendly: Accomdating their needs based upon communication, environmental setting, and more (ex. communicating via gestures or writing, providing subtites and/or sign language interpreter, having bright light to see, etc.) ; it may be perceived as emotionally or technologically. 
  • Deafhood: “The cultural experience of being Deaf (as opposed to audiological deafness); to be understood as akin to racial identity and in opposition to the characterization of the Deaf as ‘disabled.'” and “a way of gathering together and framing what we already know of Deaf culture, life, politics etc.”
  • Hearing: a person who is not Deaf or Hard of Hearing – or any type of hearing loss
  • International Sign: comprised of variety of sign languages around the world and international gestures where it aim to the gap between different sign languages in order to communicate and understand each other
  • IP Relay: an online operator service that allows people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafblind, or speech difficulties to make calls to standard telephone users via a keyboard or assistive device
  • Late-Deafened: one who became Deaf/Hard of Hearing at later stage of their life
  • Oral Interpreter: a person who works for the Deaf/HH individuals and mouth the words of the speaker’s, or can speak directly to Deaf/HH individuals for lip-reading
  • Oral: one who learn to speak due to speech thearpy or practices; usually communicate by using lip reading
  • Signer: a Hearing person who knows sign language but not necessarily mean they are fluent in it
  • Video Phone: enabling Deaf and Hard of Hearings to communicate with Hearings* through a qualified sign language interpreter on television, computer or mobile more about here
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