World Day of Deaf: Know How Deaf People Learn to Speak

World Day of Deaf: Know How Deaf People Learn to Speak

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
September 23rd, 2022
7 mins read

Synopsis

Building Inclusive Communities for All is the 2022 theme for World Day of Deaf. Learn about hearing loss and band together to create awareness; it can help us connect better with deaf or hard-of-hearing people.  

Key Takeaways

  • Hearing loss has levels of severity categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound
  • Not all deaf people communicate via spoken words. Some people choose to use a nonverbal language like ASL
  • You should know that deafness can happen at any stage due to injury, exposure to loud noise, or underlying disease

On World Day of Deaf, learn more about deafness and its challenges. Deaf people hear very little, or they do not hear anything at all. Some are born with hearing issues due to maternal infections or genetic factors; others develop deafness during their lifetime. Hearing loss has levels of severity categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Hearing loss occurs due to several factors like an injury, continuous exposure to loud noise, or underlying disease. 

Deafness is usually a result of damage to the inner ear or nerve. Hearing loss can happen to all age groups. If you think about how deaf people learn to speak and communicate with others, you will get a few of the answers you are looking for here. Over 466 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss, including 34 million children, according to a WHO estimation. [1] Continue reading and learn about this year’s theme for the World Day of Deaf as we explore the world of deaf people in detail. 

Additional Read: Benefits of a Full Body Check-up During Winters 

World Day of Deaf 2022 

It is a worldwide holiday that acknowledges the rights of deaf people. World Day of Deaf is on the last Sunday of September every year. International Week of Deaf People is also part of the initiative, which runs from 19-25 September this year. 

Learn what you can do

You can learn more about deafness, hearing loss, and how to cope with it on World Day of Deaf. Engage yourself in learning sign language as it will promote the use of nonverbal languages like ASL among people and help make things convenient for people who are deaf. You can also create awareness about deafness and celebrate people who have accomplished great things in life by overcoming challenges.

how Deaf people learn to speak

How do deaf people learn to speak? 

Young children absorb several auditory cues, including different tones of voices and sounds from the surroundings, and respond to them. By the time they reach 12 months of age, children with normal hearing start to imitate their parents vocally.  

World Day of Deaf 2022 presents an opportunity to get a sound knowledge of deafness. When a person becomes deaf after learning to speak, it gets a little easier for them as they are already familiar with the pattern and have acquired some speech skills. Speech training for these individuals focuses on reinforcing the language and speech skills that they have already learned. It includes the practice of using different sounds while controlling the volume and the tone of voice. 

When it comes to deaf people from birth or people who have acquired deafness from a very young age, it gets more difficult for them to learn to talk. It can be a tedious process for them to learn to speak and requires a lot of practice. Intervening in the early stages can benefit. Assistive devices like cochlear implants and hearing aids can help these individuals by boosting their residual hearing. But the recipients still need to practice and learn a variety of speech sounds. With the help of such devices and regular practice, words will eventually become sentences. 2022’s World Day of Deaf theme is to build inclusive communities for all, and in this case, deaf people. 

Additional Read: 10 Tips for Aging with Better Health 

Strategies  

Speech-language pathologists use several strategies to help deaf people learn to speak. However, learning is not a one-way street as it requires effectively understanding people, which is why these strategies focus on teaching deaf people how to talk while learning to understand speech patterns. On account of World Day of Deaf, learn about them here. 

  • Speech training: The first part of the training focuses on teaching deaf people how to make different sounds. It eventually transforms into words and then phrases. It also includes instructions on controlling volume and tone of voice
  • Assistive devices: Hearing aids and cochlear implants help people hear and perceive sounds from the surrounding environment
  • Auditory training: Listeners get various sounds in this training, including syllables, words, and phrases. People then recognize and differentiate the sounds from one another 
  • Lip reading: Lip reading is as the name suggests. People notice the movements of a person’s lips when they speak to understand what they are saying. Over 40% of English speech sounds are visible on the lips, according to CDC [2] 

Not all deaf people communicate using spoken language 

On World Day of Deaf 2022, you should know that each deaf person adapts to different ways of communication as many of them choose not to use spoken language. American Sign Language (ASL) is the nonverbal option that many deaf people use to communicate with others. 

Just like spoken languages, ASL also has grammar and rules. People familiar with ASL use their hands to perform gestures and make shapes, with the accompaniment of body language or facial expressions, to communicate with others. 

It is important to understand that speech training can be long and tedious on World Day of Deaf. In addition, it could still be difficult for others to get what a deaf person is trying to say even after spending years in speech training. Considering all these factors, individuals choose to learn and use ASL in their daily life instead of a spoken language that works for the benefit of people who can hear. 

ASL proficiency and achievements in academics 

World Day of Deaf promotes the use of ASL. It is not difficult for people who use ASL to learn academic skills and other languages. A study done on hard of hearing and deaf students in both English and ASL states that ASL proficiency has a positive outcome with the use of the English language, reading comprehension, and mathematics. [3] 

Cochlear Implants 

It is time for a World Day of Deaf fact. About 80% of children who are born deaf are estimated to have cochlear implants. [4] It is a type of assistive device for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Cochlear implants apply direct stimulation to the auditory nerve, while hearing aids help amplify the sound around us. 

Cochlear implants have two portions, one that is external and sits behind the ear and another that is inserted inside surgically.

Cochlear implants work like this on a basic level:

  • The outer part helps collect the sounds around us and converts them into electrical signals
  • The electrical signals reach the internal portion. The transmission stimulates the auditory nerve 
  • With the help of the auditory nerve, we experience the signal to our brain as a sound

The effectiveness of the implant varies greatly. It does not lead to full or natural hearing. The recipients still require lots of training to learn and differentiate the sound.

Additional Read: International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Importance of This Day 

On World Day of Deaf, remember these eight tips when communicating with deaf people:

  1. Treat it like any other conversation
  2. Have face-to-face communication
  3. Write things down if it is necessary
  4. Use a normal tone of voice when speaking
  5. Your speech should be clear and concise
  6. Use body gestures and body language
  7. Be inclusive and patient
  8. Ask if you can improve

Being proactive and mindful of your surroundings can help you keep a healthy ear and nerves, not to mention taking a healthy diet prevents infections and diseases. World Alzheimer’s Day falls in September so keep yourself engaged by reading articles in the health library section on the Bajaj Finserv Health website, which has several articles like one for World Marrow Donor Day. Learn something new every day in September. More awareness is needed to understand hearing loss. Making an inclusive community for deaf people helps them achieve further in life. 

Over a billion people from all around the world are at risk of hearing loss. Seek treatment if you cannot hear anything suddenly or if your hearing is getting lower and lower by the day. September observes World Pharmacist Day along with World Day of Deaf. Try seeking prompt treatment and medication to save our lives. Get a doctor consultation with a few clicks on Bajaj Finserv Health app for an online appointment. Get immediate medical help for a head injury, as it is one of the primary causes of hearing loss. On account of World Patient Safety Day, start taking the best care of your health!

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