What if deaf people could hear?

Communication between hearing and deaf people
(MH, 05/98)

Life in society is just about that Exchange with other people (Communication) possible.
Hearing people use spoken language to do this. Deaf people almost always use the Sign language when they among the deaf are. It mostly falls to them heavy, the To learn spoken language wellbecause they can't hear themselves. It is difficult for the deaf to converse with the hearing, so there is hardly any closer contact with the hearing.

Hearing people can rarely sign, so they use spoken language. Most of the time, they try to speak clearly and with simpler words so that the deaf can more easily read from the lips.

When deaf and hearing people want to communicate, usually only 'the most important things' are communicated. The listeners limit themselves to what is most important to them, although the 'unimportant' rest can be important for understanding. The tone of voice and the speech melody are also lost: For example, hearing people know immediately from the tone of voice what a certain remark is meant - for example, whether a speaker is joking or whether a speaker is angry. When hearing people talk to deaf people, they usually forget to express these feelings with the help of facial expressions.

The quick one is also difficult Change of subjectwhen hearing people suddenly speak of something completely different. The deaf person is often still with the old topic and then understands it Connections no more.

It can also be used in communication between hearing and deaf people easy toMisunderstandings come: the hearing person is sure that the deaf person has understood everything. The deaf person pretends to have understood everything, even if he did not understand everything. If the hearing person knows some signs, or at least uses their hands and body while speaking, that doesn't happen that often. It would be good if more hearing people could learn sign language!

When the deaf die Spoken language need to use them very much often repeat everything. Most know that they are difficult to understand by the hearing. You have already got used to it. You have also learned to cope with little information. Deaf people usually stick to familiar things. At the doctor's or in the office, they hope that the hearing will already know what to do. They try to make their problem understandable in a few words or otherwise write it down. The hearing then do something or give instructions. Little communication and what you can see is enough for that.

Deaf people often only understand a few words of what hearing people are saying. Scientists call it 'reconstructive understanding'. "A vague process of opening up meaning that starts from individual, fragmentarily perceived linguistic elements and is based on weighing up possibilities against the background of the respective context and world knowledge or even simple guesswork" (Ebbinghaus & HeƟmann 1989,115).

Since hearing and deaf people usually find each other difficult to understand, deaf people are very often excluded. You are there, but you cannot take part in the action. That is why it is difficult for them to take their place in the hearing society or, for example, to participate in politics.

In the deaf clubs and associations of the deaf, the deaf people who have the best command of spoken language usually have the most important positions so that they can communicate with the hearing. Especially on official occasions, spoken language is often preferred because it was previously believed that sign language was not a 'real' language.

Deaf people often use one when talking to hearing people Mixed language from spoken language and sign language, which however contains more spoken language. This should make it easier for the hearing to understand them. Many deaf people do not want the hearing to learn sign language too well: sign language and the deaf culture are the only things that belong entirely to the deaf.

difficult to learn the spoken language well:

If a child is born deaf, the spoken language initially considers it to be a game that it cannot understand: people look at each other, their mouth opening and closing again and again. Later, the child finds it difficult to learn spoken language because they cannot hear their own voice. It is easier for children who are hard of hearing with hearing aids or children who do not lose their hearing a few years after their birth.

The voice of deaf children sounds strange to the hearing. Deaf children usually know fewer words and read much more laboriously than hearing children of the same age. When deaf children write, they use shorter and simpler sentences, which they usually string together without connecting words.

Most deaf children have hearing parents who are often unsure how to help their child learn and navigate the world of the hearing. In schools for the deaf, children often only learn spoken language. Hearing and sometimes hard of hearing children with hearing aids can then learn other things by listening at school. Deaf children cannot. You therefore need your own schools or teachers who can also teach sign language. Deaf children need sign language to learn; Sign language can sometimes make it easier for children who are hard of hearing to learn.


Ebbinghaus, H. & Hessmann, J .: Deaf. Sign language. Interpreting: Chances of integrating a linguistic minority. (International work on sign language and communication of the deaf, vol. 7). Hamburg 1989.