Deaf Culture vs. Hearing Culture

Deaf Culture vs. Hearing Culture

Communicating with others can be done through the use of spoken language, which is part of hearing culture, and it can also be done through the use of sign language, which is part of deaf culture. Until the last half century deaf people were degraded, however once sign language became an accepted form of communication in terms of becoming educated, deaf culture began to emerge. Deaf culture allows deaf people to have pride in their experience as opposed to feeling like they are disabled.

Culture affects the way people communicate. Culture is essentially the way people behave, within their group, in terms of language, values, traditions, and rules. The culture of those who hear and speak is different than the culture of those who are deaf and use sign language to communicate. This stems from the attitudes, morals, and values that are ingrained in the learning process and community in which people live.

The body language and facial expressions used by people in a hearing culture are subconscious, whereas in deaf culture, these body movements and facial expressions are part of their conscious communication.

Culture includes the identity, norms, traditions, values, and language of a group.

In deaf culture, language refers to sign language combined with the social rules of use, facial expressions and body language, as well as the vocabulary and the grammar and syntax. This language is very visual.

In hearing culture, language refers to the spoken word, along with its social rules, however body language and facial expressions are not included as they are not essential for proper communication.

In deaf culture there are norms and traditions that dictate what is acceptable. For instance it would not be acceptable to try to get someone's attention by waving a hand in front of their face. Acceptable behaviour would be tapping on the shoulder or using eye contact.

In hearing culture norms exist that would be considered rude in the deaf culture because they can present cross-cultural differences that are unintentionally hurtful. In deaf culture, students are able to communicate effectively with each other because they all understand the expected behaviour of their peers.

In deaf culture it is normal to sign what one is thinking rather than try to hide it with subtlety, which is common in hearing culture.

In deaf culture people must look at each other while communicating. In hearing culture, it is common for people to look away and break eye contact while talking to each other.

In deaf culture people think more of pictures than they do words, while in hearing culture people think more of words than pictures.

In deaf culture sometimes cultural norms of hearing culture are missed, leaving a gap in information which can lead to limited awareness. For instance deaf people have been known to tip poorly in restaurants sometimes, not because they are cheap but because they do not hear the discussions about tipping and cultural expectations. This can happen in a similar way with hearing culture not understanding aspects of deaf culture because information has not been communicated, or understood.

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