to think that being deaf is not a disability?

(432 Posts)
manicinsomniac Sun 12-Jan-14 17:10:15

I have a friend who is deaf. Her child is also deaf. Her child's father is not deaf.

My friend has a rich and diverse life among the deaf community. BSL is her first language (she also lip reads and is oral) and she feels most at home when using it. She works, she goes out, she watches tv/films, she volunteers and in general has a perfectly normal life, bar the fact that 85-90% of her time is spent with other deaf people. She feels that being able to hear would make her life worse (I can't pretend to understand but I accept what she says - stuff about never being able to experience peace and total focus, not have the ability to make instant friends with others because of a huge commonality, a loss of identity as a part of a very special community etc). She loves being deaf and it is who she is.

She doesn't even use terms like 'hearing loss', she calls it 'deaf gain'.

Her child is 9 and in a deaf unit within a mainstream school. Her ex partner wants the child to have a cochlear implant (I think that's what it is - an operation that would vastly improve the child's hearing anyway) but my friend is very against it as she feels it will take the child out of the community in which they belong and not properly make them a member of any other community. I don't know what the child wants, they are confused and trying to please both parents I think.

Most people have criticised my friend saying things along the lines of, 'why wouldn't you want to cure your child's disability' 'why not make a disabled child's life easier?' etc. I think they are wrong to think in those terms.

AIBU to think that being deaf is not a disability but in fact just a different language and culture?

hatchypomagain Thu 01-May-14 22:56:26

Wow this thread is full of opinions - being deaf changes lots of things but modern hearing technology such as digital hearing aids and cochlear implants change a deaf persons choices hugely. Here is a fact to consider, 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents so for most deaf children, they are not born into Deaf culture and Bsl is not the language of their family.

I have 3 children, two of whom have bilateral implants and both of them have age appropriate speech and language. The human brain, astonishing technology and good therapy have helped them to make the most of the choice I made to give them hearing.

Happy to dispel myths ....ask away

maryhare Mon 28-Jul-14 15:15:12

hatchypomagain very good points made. Oral deaf education enables children to access the hearing community in later life. Happy to answer questions on deaf education...

Bigglesfliesundone Mon 28-Jul-14 15:17:58

Of course, aids are only available if you live in the right area. My daughter has a unilateral hearing loss (and YES it IS a disability- I also have it) and the pct ( or whatever they call themselves now) will not fund it. 20 miles down the road they will .

Having previously been a hearing person on the edge of the Deaf community I can completely see your friend's point. ITA with the poster that said that some deaf people gain far more than they have lost. I can see that if you are one of those people that calling it a disability could be insulting.

I have also seen that for some deafness is a disability, that their lives have not been enriched by it, but diminished by it.

2old2beamum Mon 28-Jul-14 15:50:39

May I just add a cochlear implant does not always enable a child to hear clearly. DS was implanted at 8 but it was just for environmental sounds even if he had sight I would still class him as disabled.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 28-Jul-14 15:54:13

old thread

Greyhound Mon 28-Jul-14 16:01:47

There is definitely a strong community amongst people who are deaf.

I suppose a disability to one person might not be a disability to another.

I have bipolar and am technically disabled by this. Horrendous though the illness can be, there is the other side of it - I feel I have had insights and experiences through bipolar that other people might not. There is a flip side to most things in life.

I once went temporarily deaf due to a severe ear infection and I have to say the experience was horrendous - I felt claustrophobic and panicky until I could hear again.

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