For Hearing People Only – Volume 1

I went suddenly deaf almost three years ago and have been learning about Deaf culture.  I saw the book, For Hearing People Only advertised in Deaf Life magazine, thought that it would be a good guide, and bought it.  A few days later, two volumes, each two inches thick, arrived at my door.  

“Whoa,” I thought.  These are big books!  There is a lot to learn.  Are there cliff notes?!

A month later, the books still sit unopened.  Their thickness glaring at me – intimidating me. There is too much too know!  Where does one get started?  I am already learning sign language and speech reading. I attended and out-of-state conference.  How much more do I have to learn?  -And this is for hearing people, only.  

A year later, I picked up Volume 1.  I spent several hours scanning and reading the content.  In the beginning of the volume, the articles are about the different signing languages – the difference between ASL and Signed English, for example.  The explanations are quite detailed and included more information that I have been able to find online about these topics.

The second half of the volume is mostly concerned with audism – systematic discrimination against Deaf people.  The book tackles the dumb questions that hearing people ask.  Most answers referenced the rampant, consistent audism that Deaf people face daily.

Reading the book left me saddened and feeling helpless.  Although, I am working very hard to learn how to sign, it will never be my native language, and I am late-deafened.  I am not part of Deaf Culture.  Where do I fit in?  There is one chapter about late deafened persons.  How can I become involved in Deaf Culture when I am still learning to sign?

This book clearly expresses a strong Deaf Culture prospective, one that does not view deafness as a disability and one that does not support cochlear implants and pure oralism.  ASL is crucial to supporting Deaf Culture and has many benefits for the hearing as well.  The main take-away from the book is to proceed with respect when communicating with the Deaf and learn ASL!

Get the book here.