What if There is a Cure For Deafness?

I am excited and fascinated by the news of stem cell research approved by FDA in relation to treating hearing loss. I can't wait to find out what they learn.

In light of the news, I have been asked by more and more people, "What if deafness was cured tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be upset about not working in deaf education?" I usually laugh and tell them, "I would not be upset. I would be excited for those who benefit from getting their hearing restored. But, in reality, not everyone will benefit from this procedure or will want to. There will still be deaf or hard of hearing students to work with. There will still be people with cochlear implants. Even if everyone magically becomes hearing overnight and there are no deaf people, there will still be people with communication issues who could benefit from accommodations and services which I can help provide. I would just have to change my job title I suppose."

I think it would be incredibly selfish of me to be upset by the idea of a cure for deafness, because I will no longer be a teacher of the deaf. I would be thrilled if my students and their families no longer have to deal with communication issues, accommodations, special education, IEPs, small group, inclusion, speech therapy, hearing aids, cochlear implants, constantly being left out of most everyday spoken conversations, etc.

When people talk to me about cures for deafness and how it will happen any day now, I imagine truckloads of deaf and hard of hearing people lining up to receive their magical ear drops and suddenly have the ability to typically hear.

I don't think it will be this easy, as least not so soon.

Nevertheless, I can't wait to hear what they learn. How exciting!

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Stuff People Say to Teachers of the Deaf & HOH

  • "Wow, how sweet of you!"
  • "You teach deaf kids? How noble of you."
  • "You work on their speech and stuff?" 
  • "Oh, like a speech teacher." 
  •  "Must be nice having quiet students." 
  • "Why do deaf people [insert question]?"
  • "Aren't you concerned that sign language will keep the student from talking?" 
  • "Since you work with him on speech, do you have any suggestions on how he can improve his articulation errors?" 
  • "How do you teach deaf students to talk?" 
  • "Can you interpret?" [for something that requires a certified sign language interpreter, like a formal evaluation/interview with a deaf signing student].
  • "This is the speech teacher." 
  • "Do you work on other things beside speech?"  
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Stuff Hearing People Say to Deaf & HOH People

A YouTube video that has gone viral inspired me to write about the ignorant and funny comments some people make to deaf and hard of hearing people.

Instead of making a video, I will write out some of the things I have actually heard people say to deaf and hard of hearing people, including me. For the record, I don't think all people with typical hearing will make these comments. I can understand why some of the following comments were made. However, I can't help but laugh at some of them for being unbelievably silly and rude.

Stuff Hearing People Say to Deaf and Hard of Hearing People:
  • "Wow, I never would have known you are deaf!" 
  • "You don't look deaf."
  • "She was so beautiful, you would have not known she was deaf." 
  • "What's reading braille like?" 
  • "Can you have children?"
  • "You speak so well!" 
  • "You don't sound like a deaf person." 
  • "What? There's no need for captions. Here, I'll turn up the volume, I don't mind." (turns up volume on t.v. really loud, smiles and gives the thumbs up).
  • "Oh, never mind. I'll tell you later."
  • "Turn up your hearing aid!"
  • "Why don't deaf people just get cochlear implants?"
  • "Oh, I love sign language! "A. . . . .B. . . . .C. . ."
  • "Why don't you ever listen to me?" 
  • "I bet you are just pretending to be deaf, huh?"
  •  "What is your problem? You were hearing me fine just a second ago. Are you listening?" 
  • "Oh, he's probably not deaf. Selective hearing, right?" (laughs)
  • "GEEZ! I. . .SAID. . . WHAT. . .DO. . .YOU. . .WANT. . .TO. . .DO?!!!"  
  •  "Doesn't it make you sad that you won't hear your child say, "I love you."?
  •  "Can you read their lips and tell me what they are saying?" 
  • "Oh, how do you sign @#%^, *#$%, %@!*&, and !@@#$%& ? 
  •  "Can you hear me now?" (laughs)
  •  "You don't need an interpreter. We can understand what you are saying."
  • "Oh, you are deaf? Like Helen Keller! Cool!" 
  • "Gosh, you deaf people are so angry and militant!" 
  • (Whispers) "Look! He has a hearing aid, just like you!" (points)
  • "Didn't you hear? Oh- Eer, um. . .so sorry, um." (laughs nervously)
  • "Oh, you're deaf? Sorry." 

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Lipreading Mom/CCAC Internet Captions Campaign

Lipreading Mom collaborated with CCAC and started the Internet Captions Campaign; requesting television networks to provide captions for their online videos.

Details are at http://LipreadingMom.com/lipreading-mom-captions-campaign.

Several network websites have been contacted, and volunteer email letter-writers are needed to keep the initiative going.

They encourage and welcome your involvement!


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