Using wordle.com I created a wordle with terms that I thought represented my blog carnival. It focuses on words associated with being deaf or hard of hearing. Rather than nicely laid out, the words are seemingly chaotically thrown across the page. Because of the broadness and depth of a disability, I thought this better represented it since it cannot be grouped together. The words are different colors and set on a black background. The words used are: Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Cochlear Implant, Ears, Sound, Experience, Emotion, Music, Beats, Bass, Sports, Signals, Sign Language, Interpreters, Rights, Tinnitus, Hearing, Voice on, Voice off, Passing, Accessibility, Awareness, Invisible, and Appearance.
This blog carnival seeks to be an insight on the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and the accessibility issues that they face. Because it is an invisible disability, many people overlook it and do not understand the disability as well as they should. The outward appearance says very little of the issues people who are deaf face mentally and emotionally. Having grown up in a neighborhood with two deaf children and having spent a good amount of time with them, this issue is personal to me. I was initially very ignorant of their deafness, never understanding the issues they might have or overcompensating for them. Hopefully this blog carnival enlightens people to the nature of being deaf and hard of hearing as well as some of the accessibility issues that they face.
Jim raises the issue of some companies not having the necessary resources or options to assist those who are deaf and hard of hearing. These same companies sometimes refuse to talk to his wife, who is hearing, because she simply is not Jim. If these companies do not accept his wife as a relay operator and also do not offer one for him, it becomes impossible for Jim to communicate with these companies. Something must be done to ensure the equality for all deaf and hard of hearing persons.
Accessibility is often an issue for anyone with a disability. In the case of Jim, because he is deaf he is unable to communicate with many companies over the phone. In my mind, companies that do not offer alternative options for people with disabilities are simply poorly led companies. Not only are these companies discriminating, they are losing out on a large portion of the consumer base. Jim has tried other options, such as having his wife speak for him, but even then many companies do not accept that. Because of their personal relationship, there could be no better relay operator. Yet these companies not only do not accept her, but also do not offer one of their own. This impairment to accessibility is something Jim and other people who are deaf have to deal with every day. In my mind, it is a problem with human rights and equality.
Kym Bozarth breaks down some of the stereotypes that people sometimes associate with being deaf or hard of hearing. It focuses on the fact that deaf people are fully capable of speaking and many do, it is a matter of personal choice. It also debunks the ignorant belief that deaf people are also mentally challenged, something that people who are deaf take great offense to.
People often have misconceptions of people who are deaf or hard or hearing. The biggest misconception is that they are either unable to speak or that their accent signifies mental retardation. This is offensive to anyone deaf or hard of hearing. In fact people who are deaf have the capability to talk, but for various reasons some choose not to. This could be either because he or she is unable to judge their own volume, or even it makes people forget he or she is deaf. On the other hand, there are many people who are deaf who are very proficient in both lip-reading and speaking. This emphasizes how deafness is an invisible disability, because it would be nearly impossible to tell he or she is deaf. In terms of mental retardation, the assumption is unbelievably offensive. It is comparable to judging someone on the way he or she speaks a second language. It is not an easy task to train the mouth and tongue to create foreign tones. For a person who is deaf and unable to hear him or herself speak, it is even more challenging to create the same tones as someone who is hearing.
Kym Bozarth talks about her personal experience with being deaf and how she views her deafness. She was born hearing and therefore has perfected the ability of talking and holding a conversation. However even though she has earing aids as well as the option of cochlear implants, she has chosen to fully embrace her deafness. She has chosen “voice off” because she finds ASL so natural to her. She does not want to use her voice and have people forget that she is deaf, and that “deaf Kym is the real Kym”.
In this post, Kym is someone who I admire greatly and has inspired myself to be more confident in myself. Many people assume that people who are deaf would love to be hearing, or at least want to “pass” as a hearing person. Kym’s views let people know that this simply is not true. Her gradual deafness has given her all the tools to pass easily as a hearing person. But because she knows that she in fact is not a hearing person, she chooses to embrace who she is because that is more comfortable for her. Since her deafness is a big part of who she is, she prefers to use ASL and finds that it feels more natural for her anyway. This is her own take on accessibility, because while it does inhibit some forms of communication with her, it makes her much more comfortable.
Lizzie Ward talks about having “musical tinnitus”; defined as sound in your ears without any external stimuli. Throughout her blog she talks about how since she was young she had a series of ringing noises in her head. When she was young this ringing made it very difficult to sleep and affected her interactions in her daily life. Finally her introduction to the music of Michael Jackson gave her salvation from her “torture”. Because her way of listening to music involved her repetitively listening to a song, she eventually became able to turn the noises in her ears to something resembling Michael Jackson tracks. From then on, music has helped her overcome the side effects of tinnitus.
Many people, including myself, believe that being deaf means that you simply hear nothing all the time. However, as Lizzie Ward knows, that there are various forms of deafness. I wanted to share this post in my blog carnival because it emphasizes the depth and broadness of a disability. It is also interesting how accessible music can be. Even though she is hard of hearing, she is able to make out the bass and other aspects of Michael Jackson’s music. That along with other music has allowed her to evolve tinnitus to something that brings her great pleasure.
Jean F. Andrews explains how police officers state the Miranda Rights to deaf suspects. Usually delivered in spoken form, the Miranda Rights are six statements that inform the suspect of the rights they have as they are placed into custody. However deaf people do not have the ability to hear so officers resort to a signed waiver. This leads to a variety of problems such as the reading level of the suspect, or the fact that they might sign it in fear or not being cooperative. Andrews calls for an increased awareness for deaf suspects and for officers to rely less on lip reading or written communication and find ASL or other sign language interpreters.
Being a pre-law student, I understand the importance of the Miranda Rights in any criminal investigation. Those difference between stating those six simple statements and not changes the whole outcome of the case. For suspects who might be deaf and hard of hearing, it is necessary to find a better way to let them know their rights. By signing the above waiver, they sign away many of their rights. It allows the officer to interrogate them without an attorney present to defend the suspect. In a high stress environment, it is very plausible that deaf suspects would do whatever they could to cooperate and avoid conflict. This lack of accessibility is an attack on the undeniable rights of every citizen in the United States.
This is a blog post about how the election outcome could benefit or harm the deaf community. The general consensus is that another four years of the Obama administration is the most beneficial for the deaf community. The reason being that Obamacare, Obama’s health plan, offers a wider variety of care compared to those offered by Paul Ryan’s or Mitt Romney’s plan. Also Obama seems to be more pro-union than Romney or Ryan, and unions seem to be crucial in ensuring equal rights and opportunities for the deaf community.
This post has little to do with accessibility, but I thought it was very interesting to see how a disability could affect the way people voted. They take into account issues that hearing people simply do not think about. Because of the way Democrats and Republicans view the economy, I thought that people who were deaf might side with Democrats more. Democrats implement a good deal more financial aid packages, which is crucial since some of the tools that deaf people use are very expensive, i.e. hearing aids and cochlear implants. It was interesting to know that Obamacare offered a good deal more coverage than the Republican health plans. Paul Ryan’s plan in particular leaves many people who are deaf out to dry. In the end, it seems the vote of people who are deaf on average go to whoever offers more accessibility. In this case, because of the Democratic stance on health care and unions, Democrats might receive that vote. However this is only the viewpoint of a single person, it would be very interesting to know more.
Jim was a deaf high school athlete who competed in football, soccer, and swimming. In football, he was left unable to participate because the coach did not like that he was deaf. In swimming, he was able to participate and was quite good. However he suffered a disadvantage of having a late start because he was unable to hear the buzzer. He wishes that there were the technological advances as there are now that are geared towards helping deaf swimmers start faster. While this sounds like asking to be treated differently, he also claims that he loved how his soccer coach treated him as “able”. He was very successful at soccer, making varsity as a freshman, proving his athletic prowess.
When I swam in high school, there was a deaf swimmer, Jordan Jones, on my swim team. Since our lockers were very close to each other we slowly became friends throughout the season. He was usually “voice off” but would occasionally yell funny phrases seemingly to amuse the team. He was very comfortable with the team, we would spend over 5 hours together a day and maybe more on weekends, and so his deafness was never an issue. Jordan however wasn’t just any team member; he was one of our fastest swimmers. Not only was he on all three of our state meet relays, he also placed 3rd at states for the 50 free. Without a doubt in our minds, Jordan was more than capable at thriving at the collegiate level and beyond. In my mind, Jordan represents what Jim hoped he could be. With the high level technology used at every meet, he was able to start at the same time as everyone else; overcoming the disadvantage Jim faced. It shows that Jim’s wishes have come true and swimming has become much more accessible and equal with more advanced technology.
This blog talks about Marcus Titus, an Olympian level deaf swimmer. He is accusing USA Swimming of discriminating against swimmers who are deaf and hard of hearing by not allowing the necessary resources to be used to allow them to compete with the hearing not-impaired. Right now, a strobe light is used in both hearing impaired races as well as not hearing impaired races to signal the beginning of the race. However, there is no way for hearing impaired swimmers to know when to step up to the block and take their marks except for hand signals or other indicators. USA Swimming is not allowing these hand signals to be used during their trials, forcing a division between hearing impaired and hearing not impaired swimmers.
Mark Titus’ plight has an Olympian level swimmer once again reminded me of Jordan. Similar to Mark, Jordan would have to receive the initial instructions, “racers on your blocks” and “racers ready”, from his interpreter. Without these instructions, not only would he physically be slower than other swimmers, it definitely affects the pre-race mentality. So even with the advances in technology, there are still many issues with accessibility at some levels. In my opinion, the ban on hand signals makes no sense. It does not offer them any advantage, and would cause no or minimal distraction to other swimmers since they rely on sound. This is just one sport in which accessibility must be improved, because it is a shame for both parties. Mark, Jim, Jordan, etc. miss out on the competition, but the swimming world and hearing swimmers also lose out on valuable competition.
Written by an anonymous author, this blog post talks about Gray’s Athletic deaf soccer player Daniel Ailey and the ridicule he faced. At a recent match against a rival team, the opposing fans harassed Ailey for his deaf-related actions on the field, i.e. grunting loudly to attract teammates attention. It eventually escalated to the point where the police had to be called to calm them down. Ailey, who was part of the Paralympic team, bravely ignored the fans but said that he had expected more from them.
In soccer, the ability to seamlessly communicate with teammates is a necessity to win. The Gray’s Athletic team has overcome any accessibility issues that would have impaired Daniel’s ability to compete with the team. They created an offensive system which involved hand signals to communicate to him, and a mixture of grunting and hand signals for him to communicate with on the field. The issue here is the barriers created by the ignorant and harsh audience. Just because things are physical accessible, it does not mean deaf people are comfortable using them. Because of the mental stress created by the fans, it became a completely unsportsmanlike environment not only for Ailey but also for everyone involved. The general public needs improvement in the way they handle things in order to increase accessibility for everyone.