April is the month to celebrate National Deaf History every year (anything that’s related to Deafness, including American Sign Language, history, culture and so on). I thought it would be a good time to raise awareness about the Deaf community and their struggles. Let’s start with this amusing topic: crazy & dumb FAQs (Frequent Asked Questions) Deaf people receive often.
Important Note: this is not a rant or accusation about anyone, who’s hearing for asking inappropriate questions or comments. This is to give you a better picture on what makes us, Deaf people, tick and to appreciate us, too.
There are so many silly questions and omg-related comments out there but here is the list that’s the most common:
“Oh you’re Deaf? That must be so hard.”
Life can be hard for anybody, not just for the Deaf. Mainly, it’s the access that’s limited the Deaf, such as communication barriers or lack of subtitles/captions. We deal with those. ALL. THE. TIMES. 🤷🏻♀️
“I’m so sorry!” (when told they’re deaf and/or can’t speak/lipread)
When someone says that, it often makes me wondering why are they apologizing and are they pitying me? 🥺
“Why are you Deaf?”
If the question comes from a 5-year-old child (and I’m sure it’s on most people’s minds), then I’d be amused and answer that. If it’s from an adult, I don’t know how to answer that. Maybe I shrug if I don’t run away (more likely fighting against the urge to run away). 😳
“Is doing [this activity] harder or different because you’re Deaf?”
When I’m asked by that question, I’d be mystified and wondered where the question is going. Like if I answer that, would they ask questions that’s more personal than before, such as do I have sex with someone or can I drive and so on? 🤔
“Can you read my lips?”
I dread and expect that question every time I meet someone new. Often, it’s at one of the business appointments when there is no interpreter. 😥
“I’ll pray for you to hear again (!)”
Deafness is not the main focus or concern. Deaf people rather to be focused for who they are and what they can bring to the table. There’s a saying: treat someone the way you want to be treated. Treat the Deaf people the same way as you would with anyone else with respect and acceptance. 😏
Deaf people are experts on communication modes since they grew up dealing with all kinds of communication. They adapt to what works for them. To start off with the right foot, ask them how they would like to communicate with you. They would tell you those options, such as:
- writing on paper with pen
- texting and/or typing on the computer
- using an interpreter
- lipreading/speaking (some can speak and lipread pretty well but not all of them do and it should be the last resort)
As long as you allow the Deaf to choose how they would like to communicate, you might appreciate them the more you know them. Sooner or later, you’d forget that they’re deaf and seeing them as just human beings we all have something in common.
Until next time, ta ta! 🤗