Ask The Deaf Guy

Discussion in 'ZeeZ' started by ZeeZ, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. ZeeZWell Known MemberMember

    This was successful on another forum, a car forum, that I was on until the forum began losing members and the remaining ones already knew me pretty well. So I thought I'd start it again here in my blog where it won't be pushed down into oblivion as if I made it in the General section.

    Basically, the premise is I will occasionally post tidbits about all things pertaining to Deafness, from silly questions that you're afraid to ask to famous Deaf figures to the beginning of the language that Deaf people use, ASL, known as American Sign Language. The purpose of this thread is to further educate people that might otherwise have never met a Deaf person and never known anything about them. I want to reach into your minds and open it up to another side of the world, America, and just how diverse humanity is. ;)

    Once you come into this thread, you will not be judged. If you and I happen to get into an argument, that's okay. You have your opinion and I have mine. So please feel free to ask anything you want, add anything you'd like, or say something, no matter how stupid or ridiculous it might seem to you. After all, if you don't ask, you won't learn anything. ;)

    Let's begin!

    To start off, here are some common general questions or misconceptions:

    Q: Deaf people cannot drive.

    A: Deaf people can and do drive. The requirements for a Deaf person to get a driver's license is the same as any Hearing (That is what we call people who can hear) person. The DMV makes a point that Deaf people need a car that has all three mirrors, however, that's a requirement for everybody, not just Deaf people. Insurance companies have made studies (that I will bring up at some point) showing Deaf people can be safer drivers. I'm not one of them, even though I do pay close attention to my surroundings. ;) My driving record will prove that point. I'd have to say my worst year was 2009, when I got five tickets... Sigh.

    Q: Deaf people's remaining senses are better than other people's, like blind people have better senses.

    A: Not true. If you suddenly become deaf overnight, your other senses will not become supernatural. They'll be the same as they ever were. As with anything, you have to practice with your senses to improve any of them. Since I was born Deaf, I never had the opportunity to depend on sound. My eyesight, taste, touch, and smells have become a little bit more effective than others' but only because I've had a lifetime of training each sense. Especially sight. My eyes are my life, and I'm constantly using them to get around in the world. Sight is my most powerful sense. If you became deaf overnight, my senses would be more attuned than yours.

    Q: I noticed you capitalize the D in Deaf but sometimes you don't. Why?

    A: The capitalized D in "Deaf" implies the culture. When I'm talking about me, I am Deaf because I'm involved with the culture and everything pertaining to it. However, if you're talking about the medical term itself, then it is simply "deaf".

    Q: All Deaf people are masters at lipreading.

    A: LOL! :;laughing No, we're not. There are so many variables with lipreading! I'll list just a few:

    1. How you move your lips
    2. How similar the lip movement of making two sounds are
    3. If you have a beard or mustache or other things around the mouth or a harelip or something like braces
    4. If the lighting is dim or bright
    5. The context of what you're talking about
    6. What situation we're in
    7. How much speech therapy we've had
    8. If you're moving or I am
    9. If you're facing me or facing away or to the side
    10. How fast you're speaking
    11. Et cetera

    Take all of that into consideration, and you have one incredibly difficult task to do while remembering everything. A ton of sound movements look very similar to each other. For example, go to the mirror and mouth to yourself with no sound, "Olive Juice" then "I Love You". You'll see that they look almost identical. An average Deaf person will catch only 25% of a full conversation. Only 25%! That's a huge gap in information. There are people who have had years and training with only Speech Therapy and can hold a full conversation pretty well, provided all conditions are met. There are others who have had absolutely ZERO and have no idea what the heck you just said.

    As for myself, I can get by in normal everyday situations. I can read the common phrases such as going to the checkout or greeting a person or something like that. "Hello", "Thank you", "Have a nice day", etc.

    If you do happen to meet a Deaf person, DO NOT assume they can lipread. It's very annoying to be asked if I can lipread sometimes. Handy tip: What you can do is find a pen and paper to write your conversation down or whip out your nice smartphone and start typing in the notepad on your phone. :)

    Q: Sign language is an universal language!

    A: No, it's not. Sign language is exactly that, a language. It has dialects depending on location. Signs from the West coast may be different from signs in the East coast, just as Maine signs can be different from Floridan signs. Countries have their own sign languages. America has American Sign Language. Britain has British Sign Language. France has French Sign Language. Italy, Italian Sign Language. Japan, Japanese Sign Language. You get the idea.

    A surprising tidbit: American Sign Language didn't come from British Sign Language as you might think. It actually came from France. Arrivederci!

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  2. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Thank you for sharing this info. I found some of it comical having a Deaf aunt.

    Sent from my Motorola Electrify using Tapatalk 2

  3. CichlidSWAGAWell Known MemberMember

    Well i don't have a question at this time i just thought i would share this.

    I hired a Deaf kid at my families business his name is Chris i met him at a high school wrestling match when he was a freshman and i was a senior a few years back. He was an amazing wrestler he later went on and won a state title when he was a senior. He was also traded though many foster homes all of his life. Any way he taught me a lot in life. I use to be very very inpatient untell i hired him, It took me around 3 months to get him fully trained. It was extremely hard for me to train some one with out being able to talk to him with him understanding (this is where i started learning to be patient) We finally got a system down that was easiest for Chris to understand after about 2 1/2 months. The next two weeks he learned more then the average person would in about 6 months which amazed me! He was also the happiest person i have every met. He would make everyone laugh with his jokes. I should let you know he still had about 30% hearing left in one ear, And after being around him for awhile you could understand him pretty well. He was also very good at bringing your spirits up if you were down. Which made me appreciate life so much more, Especially after what he has gone through in life. He had some foster parents when he was around 10 years old that would hit him and do some other things to him. He told me they later went to prison. After that he went though 4 other foster families. After he turned 18 he met his real uncle that happened to be into cars, his uncle had GTO's, Mustangs, Cuda's, all kinds of cool muscle cars. Chris fell in love with cars. Thats pretty much all he every talked about .When he would get paid he would spend almost all of it on his Camaro that he had built. This thing had around 600whp. Once every couple months or so he would take the motor apart and put it back together just for fun. About a year ago he quit :( and got a job as mechanic in another town. He was one of my best friends we still text every now and then. But he is getting married soon so he is preoccupied by her all the time which is what happens :). He is one of the greatest happiest person i have every met and learned a lot from him.


  4. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning Zeez.

    How do your feel when people sign using the alphabet compared to people that actually know the full sign language?

    I've been studying the alphabet in the link below:

    Do you have a link that shows/teaches the full language with video? Is there such a thing?

  5. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    I only have half of my hearing due to structural problems in my ears. I am not a candidate for hearing aids so have done my best to become a good lip reader. I am not shy about telling people when I can't hear them. I tell them that in order for me to understand them, they must face me when speaking to me. Otherwise, I only hear mumbling unless they have good diction.

    My husband is also half-deaf. His is not structural, though, it's because of the noise level he subjected himself to with rock 'n roll in his youth. :;drum

    Living with another person who's hard of hearing is not all fun and games when one keeps forgetting the "rules". Not only does my husband not always face me to speak, but he tends to speak really fast or he mumbles. It's never really clear speech. I get such a kick out of it when he'll talk to me as he's walking out of the room and then get irritated when I have no clue that he's even speaking to me, much less what he's saying. He insists that I just don't listen to him. When he starts whining about it, I ask "where were you when you were speaking to me?". Then he'll mumble (again) and say "oh yeah". Silly man.

    When I was in my teens, I attended a summer art program at a deaf school (I went to hearing schools). It was a fascinating experience for me to watch the deaf kids communicate. I wish I'd paid more attention and picked up some sign language.
  6. jerilovesfrogsFishlore VIPMember

    you're deaf zeez?! i had no idea! i think sign language is really cool to see....confusing though. are you fully deaf? was it from birth? what are the biggest challenges you face?
  7. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    If it came from France, why say "see you again" in Italian? :p
  8. jerilovesfrogsFishlore VIPMember

    au revoir
  9. DinoFishlore VIPMember

    Thanks for putting this up, Zeez.
    All too often, people are scared of folks different than themselves.

    Growing up on Army bases, I saw different everyday. People with different color skin, who spoke different languages and ate different foods. This was the norm for me.

    Then, when I was 12, we moved to Tennessee, where I was viewed as different, because I had not been born and raised in the area.

    I wish more people gloried in our differences, as I do. Going thru life with different parameters means you see and experience things thru a different lens. And sharing your experiences of this, makes us all more informed and better people.

    Steps down off of soap box, hehehe.
  10. apple429Well Known MemberMember

    Thank You for sharing this Zeez!

    I do have two question's though (if you don't mind). When you are driving, and Fire Trucks are coming, OR you get pulled over, how do you know, do you just pay close attention in your reviews?


    Again I do not mean to be offensive, but I am just curious:
    Say you want to go to B.K., how do you order, obviously you can tell them, but what if they ask you a question (i.e: how big do you want your meal)?

    I teach karate part time, and once taught a deaf boy, it was difficult, because I did not know sign, but it made me think more on:
    A.) how else can I show him the specifics?
    B.) how do I correct his mistakes?

    and it made me a better teacher simply because I was teaching in a new form, and it made think about stuff that I was doing wrong!
  11. Lexi03Well Known MemberMember

    Lynda, your story ammuses me on a few levels.
    My hubby worked in the same factory that I work in now for a few years, and has some hearing difficulty. ( though he won't admit to it much) the volume on the tv constantly drives me crazy.

    As far as hearing eachother speak, we are very simalar to you and your hubby. While my hearing is fine now, I had a lot of dificulties as a child, I had chronic ear infections and my mother did not allow the doctor to do surgery until I was a teenager. Up until then, I had a very hard time hearing people speak, and got very frustrated with having to ask people to repeat themselves and having everyone annoyed at me for them having to do so. At the same time, I had the shoe on the other foot, not being able to hear as a child, I never learned to control the volume of my own voice, and spoke very softly( I still do, even over 14 years later, my voice sounds very loud to myself, but everyone has a hard time hearing me.). So conversations with me were difficult, people tend to get aggrivated after repeating themselves 10 times, only to have to ask me to repeat myself 10 times too.
    So there are a lot of "what did you say"s and "I SAID"s in our conversations.

    Zeez: I watched a program a while back about how the brain quickly starts to rewire itself if a sense is lost, highting the other senses. It basic showed how the area of the brain that normally would collect information from 1 sense, instead of becoming inactive after the sense is taken away( even if temporarilly), it starts to get activated by other senses( this show focused on a hightened sense of touch in people who where temperailrlly blinded) and process information for other senses.( I'm a PBS addict) I found it very interesting.
  12. Cathy BNew MemberMember

    A friend of mine wanted to learn a second language and decided it would be sign. She is so happy in her choice. She loves working with the children in her school.
  13. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    But does everything still taste like chicken?
  14. ZeeZWell Known MemberMember

    Communicating using ONLY the alphabet can take quite a long time, even though there are some words that have no signs and must be fingerspelled. It's okay at first, but definitely not for long-term. Let the person you're talking with know that you're a beginner and they will be patient with you and work with you. :)

    The only way to truly pick up sign language is to practice with someone who uses it regularly, especially a Deaf person. I've known people who knew absolutely no signs at all be very fast learners and learn half the language in two weeks. Those are the quick learners, usually children or younger adults. With others, it can take years to learn the language. Heck, even I'm still learning new signs everyday. That's the beauty of ASL, it's constantly evolving. It's NOT a static language. The signs used by older Deaf people are completely different from the signs used by Deaf people my age, and the younger generation has different signs as well.

    A good website with videos showing signs is   It's not 100% accurate, but it's the best thing I've seen online yet. It also has signed phrases, not just signs. A really great textbook I recommend is Master ASL. Keep up the work!

    I sure am! I've mentioned it a few times in other threads, once with my photographs of ASL. I think my thread with those photographs are still in the Photos section here. That's another reason why I love sign language... it confuses YOU, not ME! :p Yup, I was born deaf but my mother didn't find out until I was 2 years old. Back then, the doctors didn't have hearing tests advanced enough with babies like they can nowadays. My deafness is hereditary, coming from my father's two deaf brothers. My father was hard of hearing himself, but it didn't come from natural causes, but from working on loud jet engines in the Air Force and the Navy battleships he was on during the Vietnam War and after.

    I would have to say my biggest challenges have been ignorant people. I see them everyday. Once I was treated quite horribly at the Social Security office when I was asked to come in by an older security guard who kept screaming at me to sit down. I left and came back with a friend. The guard told her he's been dealing with Deaf people for 30 years. She asked him, "How?" His response? "By telling them to sit down!"

    To this day, I wish I had sued them and taught that guard a lesson in humility.

    Doh! You got me there!

    THAT is what I was trying to remember! Merci!

    No problem! I suspected you would enjoy this. :)

    For fire trucks or ambulances or things of that nature, I usually can see them coming in my rearview mirror or I notice the people around me pulling over, which I do too. As for the police, well, it's pretty difficult to miss those blue lights after they've blinded me so many times... I've grown to hate those blue lights...

    Everything tastes like chicken! You should know better than that.
  15. DinoFishlore VIPMember

    And indeed , I have.
  16. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I've really enjoyed this thread.
    Thanks Zeez!

    How do you deal with things that require a buzzer.
    Like a smoke alarm, stove ect?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  17. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Since my aunt passed I have had rare occasion to use sign language. It's been long enough that I doubt I could have a conversation. This thread makes me want to refresh myself on this language; but who to practice with...hmmm.

    I understand what you mean about the ignorance of others. As a teenager I had an issue with my hearing. I am not deaf, but I often have difficulty understanding others. At one time my dad had laser surgery on his eye, so he couldn't see very well. Others kept YELLING at him. It really made him mad too. He'd tell others eye surgery didn't cause him to lose his hearing.

    It is great that you are reaching out to the members and openly sharing your experiences, frustrations and answering questions to help educate those who may not have experienced others with a loss of hearing, sight or any other perceived defect in the human body.
  18. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Thanks for the link and info Zeez!

  19. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Great thread, and interesting reading zeez.

    I'm definitely with Lucy - smoke alarms?

    Stoves I'm guessing you can set a vibrating alarm on your cellphone or something? Or a light that comes on/goes off on the stove?

    I have so many questions, and don't want to ask for fear of offending. But there are somethings in day-to-day life that baffle me, and quite honestly amaze me............ things I think of,

    Alarm clocks ?
    Telephone call ? (not a vibrating cell)
    Knock at the door ?

    Just curious, it can often be hard to imagine.....

    Thanks for opening up and sharing......
  20. TigerlilyWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for starting this thread ZeeZ. My youngest son has Cerebral Palsy. When he was around a year we began teaching him some sign language. Producing speech is a motor skill... he was getting frustrated that he couldn't say what he wanted. He used signs instead... it was so cool to watch his face light up when he knew he was being understood. As his motor skills developed and he began speaking he stopped signing but it was an amazing experience while it lasted.

    Back in the "olden days" when I taught preschool I taught my classes basic signs as well as finger spelling. I found out later that several of those kiddos went on to learn ASL in college.

    As an aside... I'm an Air Force brat too :D and my late husband was in the Air Force during Vietnam.

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