Saturday, 22 February 2020

Lip-Reading is it too hard?



I think most agree it is a modus too far.

What deaf should NOT do.

Image result for be like dad keepReading a jokey vlog in the UK from a BSL signer who mocked hearing annoyed at aspects of hearing loss, 'what hearing do, what deaf do', a reader once hearing hit back.

'I have been hearing and deaf and everything else in between for 50 YEARS, the vlogger does not know what she is talking about, perhaps this fabled 'intuition' they claim visually doesn't really exist.  Born deaf do not know there are things hearing do and do not like about the deaf way of life, that has less to do with loss or discriminations, but deaf ignorance of the 'hearing way.' 

What I did find on going profound deaf myself, (Apart from the fact I was in the top 5% who really were deaf in a deaf club!), was deaf people completely unaware that invading hearing people's 'space' was a no-no, much the same as hearing should not step between deaf people talking etc.  Also, deaf signing is an issue, being too widely accessible to other signers.  Obviously, despite the fact I am deaf, I am not 'Deaf' or cultural.

Deaf people had little or no privacy of conversation from what I could see.  Topics of conversation were quite limited, and without a life-long background of deafness and schooling, it became difficult to widen conversations to interests I had, as I had no background at all to anything like that.  They also displayed little interest, in interests I pursued as an ex hearing person, they were quite dismissive at times. 'That's what hearing do, we do...' etc I also found deaf topics quite repetitive from one week to the next.  I became quite bored. 

I found it restricted my social interaction even within the deaf club circuit.  I made deaf friends but was not really 'socialising' WITH them.  E.G. If you want to 'talk' to another deaf person privately then, you have to leave the room or move away from other deaf visually or they all know your business.  I did turn my back once or twice to avoid others 'reading' what I was saying and was accused of being disrespectful, they did not understand it was for privacy reasons.  They said I was ignoring people.

I found this as an ex-hearing person very off-putting and it made me uncomfortable, absolutely anything you sign is seen or watched by other deaf and is around the club or social area in minutes, even to deaf you had never met.  I hated that.  Even meeting up with deaf friends outside a club, was no real guarantee of any privacy, back at the clubs after everyone knew what went on because talking about what you do and who were with is a deaf 'norm' of some kind.    It's OK to a point, but NOT to discuss what was said.  If I want deaf to know I'd stand on a platform and tell them.

Hearing discuss what they do also but they don't 'distribute' widely after, if they do it causes very real problems, and 'listening in' to other people's discussion is asking for trouble.  It would seem even the deaf interpreter or carer/mentor did much the same thing so quite personal issues are being widely discussed about you and apparently to a large degree is acceptable, I think you can forget the official secrets act within deaf support!

I was actually shocked at the level of personal information deaf tell each other too, anything from their sex lives to their friend's sex lives, to own parents and family issues, and without ensuring only real friends knew and respected that.   Trust became an issue of how much do you say? even to 'friends'. 

Deaf don't 'do' privacy and it is a huge drawback.  Since I realised how the deaf operated socially, I took active steps to keep a private conversation private.   I can slip into the speech-only mode or turn away my face from them, and stop signing, so they cannot keep up.  

Very few signers are decent lip-readers so I can talk without being watched all the time, and I know which deaf can lip-read.  I've even used my phone to text my partner when I want to say something privately.  Deaf need to respect hearing etiquette.  We don't like being watched and talked about, it is your norm but it is not ours. The level of knowledge about other people without the privacy respected is a worry and I have to keep self-monitoring what I say all the time, it is draining, it creates issues of socialising, but the only real answer would be to avoid other deaf people.'