When we talk about the Deaf Community, our perceptions are the one shaped by the media. Deaf people are people. They are capable of everything else just like hearing people. There is a multitude of misconceptions about Deaf people and the community itself.
Our Everyday Girl, Wai Ling is here to set the record straight and discuss the truth behind these misconceptions/debunk the misconception that people have about the deaf community.
1) DEAFNESS CAN BE CURED
No, there is no cure for hearing loss. Traditional medicine and western medicine do not work. So, hearing aids is one of the solutions that help people with hearing loss to hear but it is not completely perfect because the sound that Deaf people hear is not so clear especially when they are in a noisy environment. To approach people with hearing loss, do not speak to them in loud voice. Tapping on their shoulders or waving hands gently would make them notice you.
2) DEAF PEOPLE ARE A BURDEN
They are certainly not a burden to society and their families. They have eyes, legs and hands to work and able to find a living. Family play an important role to support and allow them to be independent and to spread their wings. Some of them are able to buy their own house and car with their savings and effort. Some Deaf people start their own businesses after working and save enough money. Many of us work alongside with hearing people in many industries. They are also a contributing member of society.
3) DEAF PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE VOICE
Deaf people are not mute. They laugh, shout and scream just like you and me. Some Deaf people are able to speak quite fluently while some don’t. To be able to ‘talk”, it requires a lot of effort, time, patience, and perseverance. They require a lot of guidance and help from their family members, friends and speech therapists to make it a meaningful session for Deaf people. However, some of them choose to not use their voice in public because they feel embarrassed with their “unusual” voice. (I was told that I laugh like a crow. I stop laughing since that time).
4) DEAF PEOPLE DO NOT LIVE LIKE HEARING PEOPLE
Truthfully, Deaf people have similar lives just like the hearing except that they can’t hear! Deaf people can drive their cars because their peripheral vision is more highly developed than hearing people. They are more visually aware and cautious. On the other hand, they enjoy social recreational activities like going to the cinema, shopping mall and many places just like hearing people. They even enjoy travelling and dining. Lastly, they fall in love, get married and have children like hearing people.
5) DEAF PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Deaf people DO have access to education. There is a school for special needs children (Deaf) in every state. After Deaf children completed their primary education, they would continue at a special class for Deaf at some secondary school. The first Deaf school was set up in Penang and it’s called Federation School for the Deaf (SMK Pendidikan Khas Persekutuan). After they complete their secondary education, some of them further their studies at college and university. There are a number of Deaf who have completed their bachelor or master degree in local universities and abroad.