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Because I can't hear, but that's not why I am mute.
I have been deaf since I was born, my parents are deaf too. I wear a hearing aid and I can hear a little with it. I grew up using sign language. The Austrian sign language is my mother tongue.
My hearing aunt and my hearing grandma didn't want me to grow up with only sign language. They were of the opinion that it would be better for my education and my professional future if I could speak spoken language. My parents followed their advice and so I had to live with my aunt for a while to learn the spoken language.
I went to a kindergarten where there were only hearing children. It was very difficult for me because communication with the hearing children didn't work at all. So I went to a kindergarten for hearing impaired children. There I was again not allowed to speak in sign language, because all children were supposed to use and speak spoken language. Even so, we children often used to sign secretly. I then had the same experience at school. The reason why hearing-impaired and deaf children (even today!) Should not use sign language but only spoken language is the prevailing opinion that the use of sign language has a negative impact on learning and the use of spoken and written language.
Today I am happy to speak both languages, but I would have liked to have learned the spoken language with less pressure and compulsion. For this reason, I hope for the future that it will become completely normal for deaf and hearing children to be taught together in spoken and sign language. It would be ideal if a separate subject, e.g. for foreign languages, was created in which the deaf culture is taught in addition to sign language.
This is the only way to create a common basis so that hearing and deaf people understand each other better.
Hearing impairment and deafness
There are different types of hearing loss:
- Hearing loss (from 0 to 99% residual hearing)
- CI (cochlear implant) - wearers
No hearing impairment is the same. Deaf people use sign language as a means of communication, but they also speak - some well, some less well. For example, people who are hard of hearing can communicate very well in spoken language, but they cannot sign because they never had access to sign language. Other hard of hearing only use sign language. It is similar with the CI wearers: some need both languages because they grew up bilingually, others had little success in hearing and speaking with the insertion of the implant and feel more comfortable with sign language. As different as people's character traits are, the way they deal with hearing impairment and deafness can be just as different.
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