Sunday, 16 February 2020

There are no Deaf and no Hard of Hearing

Image result for I am not deaf!There are only statistics.  This is a well-trodden area by ATR who has pursued the truth and the real statistics about hearing loss for years with little success.

E.G. The NHS does NOT keep records of the deaf in regards to their communication usage so there are none to be quoted, clinical records of deafness exist but again degree is recorded randomly and devolved areas of the UK see stats recorded differntly.  Deaf in Wales can be recorded 11 different ways, with disabled, with the blind, as Hard of hearing, as sensory impaired, with the mental health stats etc, so presumably charities are putting 2 and 2 together to create 6 or 8 by aggregating all of them as being different when they are one and the same.

It hasn't prevented the BDA et al suggesting everyone deaf signs.  While records list people with hearing loss, it rarely if ever mentioned degree or impact.  3m need hearing aids never wear them or ask for support.  The only way to validate numbers (And support needs of course),  is by actually assessing people/asking them basically,  but, ensuring the right questions are being asked.  The last UK census was a pig's ear of a 'survey' it asked a loaded question without any accuracy or detail.  

Now the UK is dropping the census and relying on NHS/DWP or social media.  The USA recent census never asked the 'Deaf' question.  In essence, the UK deaf did NOT even use the D/d criteria but reverted to hearing loss and 'adding' sign use, then, listed signers only who had declared after who could not be identified including 1,000s of hearing who said they signed.  What ATR found was the BDA, the AOHL, and the NHS/DWP saying no stats are recorded because to do that would put them in breach of the Data protection act.  

They cannot ask a deaf or HoH person for the details to clarify either their degree of loss, the impact of it, or the communication approaches they use, either on a daily, or occasional basis, or, to what degree support was needed or asked for as this would mean actual identification. 

If AOHL claims 11m with hearing loss that may be accurate as regards to people clinically recorded with a hearing loss, but inaccurate in that they all require support they aren't getting, that can only be defined by Social Services/NHS/Educational areas etc who have lists of people who are claiming help and need support with it, but, it may well NOT list the type of support or regularity of it and if a child or adult, identification is illegal.

The BDA can make no claims as regards to BSL use as this doesn't come under NHS criteria only in as much as those who have asked for BSL help.  What stats emerge suggested 86% of deaf need no BSL support. ATR asked social services for stats of local deaf, they sent me a basic list of 300 as a number with no other detail, further checks brought that down to 80 because people had either died or moved away and the SS DBASE isn't geared for recording it, or it is never reviewed and updated.  Of the 80 they said only 16 asked for support. 

Until compulsory assessments are required for all only those who ask exist.  The DWP demands such an assessment in clear breach of the DP Act and decides who is deaf or not on that assessment and has names and records but is refusing to give anyone the results. 

Social media hearsay response suggested 63% of all deaf and HoH thus assessed, failed to qualify at all for welfare support.  Deaf or disabled ? not even that sorry.  We wouldn't claim there is no demand for deaf help or little demand for HoH support, but what facts exist, suggest they simply are not requesting it, or unable to qualify for it as a need, there are few if any records of increased demand either.

No No Rikki

Rikki gets sniffy about captioning, but let us examine her own vlog which has captioning errors too and is a pretty obvious vlog using deaf awareness to make money itself.   A few countries outside the USA are actively opposing advertising in certain areas (Celebs etc), capitalising on its fan base, but Rikki does the same.  As to her 'celeb' status that is up to others. In offering up criticism on captioning she advertises too so her own imaging seems as important as the deaf issues she opines.

Yes it is annoying those who start captioning then stop again, we suspect that is mostly commercial areas looking for deaf customers, and finding out the deaf customer base doesn't warrant the expense of giving that access, cruel I know but a commercial decision, use it or lose it springs to mind.  We have two TV programs for the deaf in the UK hardly anyone watches.  

Expecting every area to caption (Or even offer sign language), is unrealistic anyway, we only have 24hrs in a day to peruse them all.  Access has to be justified and a need and not just a right to be had, (then ignored after), or as Rikki states it gets removed again.  Too late to moan after.

Many ASL deaf it has to be said actually oppose captioning entirely and remove speech from their output also, on cultural grounds, but mostly it is fear-based and a recognition ASL/BSL et al cannot compete with text.   Some deaf that will caption may well have limited English grammar academically or use crap google captions that are littered with errors.  Criticising them not a good idea.  

ATR was at the start of deaf doing own captioning on youtube and own signing output in the UK, but was under constant attack from purists of the BSL variety who (A) Said some signs were wrong, and (B) Deaf don't read so they didn't want captions included (I became puzzled as to what deaf watched or how!) times have changed but some attitudes still haven't, ATR then stopped producing any individual accessible youtube output for them.  Life is too short for deflecting petty criticisms, these people are driving access away.

Most deaf will take what they can get, but I would want access directed where it counts and priorities set.  Statistics suggest most older deaf aren't even online so accessing their TV or phoning their friends is all they want.  Many areas of support and need urgently want this access and personally, I don't give a damn if some commercial areas caption or not until that is sorted and a norm.  

Rikki never challenges cultural opposition to captions, or the ASL/BSL extreme view, she could claim a moral high ground if she did.  Do as we ask and not as we do etc  ...  has to be confronted. There can be no excuse for deliberating blocking access by us or the mainstream.  The commercialism of the deaf and hard of hearing people and their communications (and them being sold as some commodity!), is not a good image or direction either, as regards to it being awareness, only time can tell.  Online I would suggest is not an accurate reflection or representation of us on the ground, just the more extreme elements. Access and inclusion is now worse than it was 25 years ago, despite all these online claims to the contrary or the leading deaf campaigns.

Interpreters are getting less, education is still a mess of Culture versus hearing loss, and deaf schools continue to close...  The reality is sign is losing (Lost really), the battle against text and always will.   I would not miss signed access at all, but text certainly.