Everything You Wanted to Know About Deafness - DEAF-INFO Web Site

Short Table of Contents

First of all, you probably want to know how to unsubscribe yourself from the DEAF-L list. Even if you prefer to continue to be happily subscribed to DEAF-L, you may want to find the DEAF-L listserver address or the rules for posting messages to DEAF-L. This information exists in the document DEAF-L Administrative Information.

The philosophy behind this WWW site is explained in DEAF-L FAQ WWW Site Manifest of Purpose.

If you started to look for deafness related information in my WWW site (which is plausible given the promotion which I give to it :-)) and are looking for additional deafness related Internet resources, you may want to browse the following links:

The following are good starting points for looking for deafness related information in Israel:

While the Internet contains a lot of information, there is still much more information in more conventional media such as books and CD-ROMs. To locate them, start from the bibliography WWW page. Another source of information is the various get-togethers, conferences, congresses, etc. which meet regularly at all levels and at several places. 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf contains some of my impressions from such a congress.

Do you, or does someone close to you, suffer from deafness or another form of hearing impairment? Do you hope that the 1990's technology will solve all hearing problems? The answer is - no. But there are lots of technological developments, which can be used to make easier the life of the hearing impaired person - look at Assistive Technology. There is a dark side to this: look for More information about EMI and Assistive Listening Equipment.

Do you need to contact experts? Would you like to swap experiences with other hearing impaired persons and/or persons close to them? If yes, you may need Contact information for organizations related to deafness.

There is lot of medical information related to deafness. Some of it is available in my WWW site (Medical information related to deafness). For the rest of the information, you'll have to follow links and/or perform search (two of the WWW search engines are YAHOO and Google).

If you are hearing impaired, some of the services in your community will turn out to be less than fully accessible to you. This means that you will have to take some action to regain accessibility to those services. If you live in USA, you may invoke the ADA law for this purpose. Regardless of where you live, the information in Accessibility may be helpful for you.

A subject, which is full of information and confusion, and which is critically important to parents of deaf children is Education.

Deaf children eventually grow up and become employable adults. Hearing adults, who hold a job, sometimes lose their hearing and become deaf employees. Thus, the section about The Deaf Employee is relevant to both.

Deafness is not only a serious subject. Lighten up! Have fun! Browse Deaf Humor.

Art, like humor, is what is unique about a culture. Deaf Culture has its own art, as well. For more information, browse Deaf Art.

A new neighbor has moved to a house near you. The new neighbor is deaf. How can you communicate with him?
Your cute girl baby has been diagnosed as deaf. How will you communicate with her?
Take a look at Communication methods.

Every community has its own set of issues which split it. In Israel, there is a big argument between those who think that security is obtainable by peace and those who think that security is obtainable by holding territories.
In the big world of computers, there are wars between IBM PC lovers and MAC nuts. The VI vs. EMACS war is as notorious.
In the hearing impaired world, the issues are different but not less interesting as Controversial Issues can demonstrate.

If you have inclinations toward art or community social work or other esoteric disciplines as applied to the world of the deaf, review the documents in Miscellaneous. Maybe you'll find something interesting there!

Medical information related to deafness

In addition to cultural aspects, deafness has also medical aspects. There is information for people who lost their hearing suddenly. Do you have tinnitus? If you are in hurry, look up Tinnitus. If you have more time, check out Tinnitus (longer FAQ). Did your doctor diagnose you as having Meniere's Disease? For more information about this, browse Meniere's Disease (longer FAQ).

Some children exhibit the cultural symptoms of hearing loss even though their ears work properly. They may be having Central Auditory Processing Problems.

Some cases of deafness are due to genetic causes.

Deafness attracted its share of quack doctors. For an account of their deeds, look up Quack Qures for Deafness.

Finally, parents and doctors need to decide whether a baby is likely to benefit more from Oral based education or Sign based education. One of the criteria is the amount of hearing the baby has. Hearing tests for babies are discussed in Deciding whether a child is meant for Oral or Sign based education


Hearing impaired people living in USA have at their disposal the ADA law, covered in Rights of Deaf And Hard of Hearing Under the ADA.

The provisions, which hearing impaired people need for full accessibility to the telephone system in all countries are discussed in Telecom rights taken for granted.

Suppose you are a librarian and want how your library can serve better the hearing impaired. The document Libraries and the deaf may give you some ideas.

What (if any) are the provisions made in Windows 95 for accessibility to the deaf? Look at Deafness-Related Issues for Windows 95.

Did you buy a wonderful computer game on CD-ROM only to discover that it provides all the *interesting* information via audio only? Maybe the CD-ROM follows the ideas described in CD-ROMs and the deaf. If yes, you are not completely at loss.

There are several myths about what deaf people can and cannot do. The following documents dispell those myths:

For an example of inaccessibility, read how Itzhak Rabin's Funeral Broadcast was not Accessible to the Deaf. Ten years later, a bit more attention was given to accessibility issues. See Itzhak Rabin's memorial event of Nov. 12th, 2005. A deaf-blind man met his death due to inaccessibility by Israel Railways. A month later, a demonstration was held because of this.

Are you Deaf yet you dream about making the round-the-world trip of your lifetime? Are you prevented from making your trip of dreams by concerns of accessibility to the Deaf of various accommodations around the world? You may want to take a look at Travel and Tours for the Deaf. If you wish to enjoy your stay in Israel, check also Information for deaf tourists to Israel.

Are you sleepy now? Why not close your eyes and dream a bit about what the life of the Deaf would have been if everything were to be as it should be? Compare your dream with: A Dream World.


Have there been any real improvements in deaf education methods during the last several years? Someone claims that there have been improvements. Browse Mainstreaming Then and Now.

Do you have a dream about the perfect classroom for the Deaf? If yes, compare it with Dream classroom for deaf students.

Is it true that in Sweden, parents of deaf children are forced to learn Sign Language? For the facts, look at Deaf educational policies in Sweden. For additional information about Deaf educational policies in Scandinavian countries, look at Scandinavian Deaf Education Policies

You are a regular school teacher. Your principal has just told you that next year you'll have a deaf student in your classroom. What will you do? Click here for information.

The Deaf Employee

You are an employer and are looking for qualified people to fill jobs. One of the candidates is hearing impaired but is otherwise fully qualified to do the job. To help you decide, look at Deaf and HOH Employees.

You are not an employer, but are looking for a job. Is there anything special you should do to improve your chances of finding a job? The answer is right here: Job seeking by deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Your boss is obnoxious. Your boss is not listening to you. You suspect something. Could your boss be...deaf?.

You are hearing impaired and are gainfully employed. However you have vague feelings that something is rotten in Denmark. Is it possible that you are being discriminated against?

As part of your networking efforts, you had better be member and active in the voluntary organizations in your area. Which organizations will welcome you with open arms? Look at The Deaf and Freemasons, Rotary, Lions, Roundtable, etc.

Deaf Humor

Jews, who lived in the diaspora for generations, had lots of misfortunes befall on them. They developed healthy sense of humor. To this day, Yiddish is the language of humor. Why should only Jews laugh at their life conditions? We the Deaf can and may laugh, too!

If you like tasteless, boring but not dirty jokes, Beethoven jokes may be for you.

How to tell if you are Hearing - if you feel you somehow do not fit in the Deaf world.

The Ten Commandments of the Culturally Deaf are the first things you need to know about living the life of a devoted Deaf.

A Deaf person tells us about his betrayal of everything sacred to the Deaf in: A Shocking Story Told by an Anti-CI Deaf.

People assume that a sign means the same everywhere. Sometimes this leads to hilarious Sign Language Misunderstandings.

If you are too ashamed (or bullied) to admit you do not understand what the other side is speaking, you may either tell the truth nevertheless or perform the now-famous Nod of Incomprehension.

Deaf Art

Deafness is not only a medical condition but also a culture. As such, it has its own distinct flavor in various art forms. There are theaters, which use Sign Language as their language. And there are poets who write poems about their Deaf experience.

Communication methods

A new deaf person has moved into your life, in your neighborhood or at job or in school. How would you communicate with her? Look up:

After reading the above documents, you decided to start learning Sign Language. You probably can find a course in the nearby community college. But you want also a dictionary. Look at: Books and CD-ROMs for Learning Sign.

You are a parent of a deaf child. You do not have the time to learn Sign Language and master it in few months, and you want to communicate with your child in a way accessible to him. You may want to try Cued Speech.

You are a Deaf person and have to participate in a meeting in which people will speak a lot; or to go to a lecture; or maybe you are suspected of murdering someone and are now on trial. You will need the help of a Sign Language interpreter. Look up:

However all methods of assisting deaf people in group conversations have their limitations. Look up The Challenge of Group Conversations.

Hearing people often judge that they successfully communicate with deaf people when the deaf people's speech is clear and easily understandable. A deaf person was prompted by this to ask:
What is MY OWN BENEFIT from excellent speech skills?
And answer it eloquently and forcefully.

What about telepathy? Parapsychologists overlook the implications of the fact that deaf people exist. Take a look at Deafness and Telepathy - Some Speculations and you'll no longer ignore this subject.

Controversial Issues

The following documents are a MUST READ for parents of newly-diagnosed deaf children. Those parents are faced with some tough decisions. They will find that the issues are controversial and there is no agreement about them. They have to resign themselves to learning the various points of view, evaluating them and making their own decisions.

The documents are not necessarily balanced presentations of the facts and opinions. I believe that parents can and must get more information from other sources - both on the Internet and outside of it by actually going out and speaking with specialists, teachers, other parents and adult deaf persons.

Like other politically-loaded issues, the world of the deaf has its own set of politically-correct and politically-incorrect terms. I believe that arguments about correctness of terms is rubbish and I made a list of terms and definitions in ZPIG - Zak's Politically Incorrect Glossary.

The big Oral vs. Sign controversy is raging for more than 100 years. For some opinions, look up Oral vs. Sign Debate. One of the issues raised in the controversy is that of Acceptance and Self-Esteem. This controversy is fueled by deaf people not recognizing and allowing for the differences in the way they see themselves and the effect of this difference on their positions in the controversy - see Self-identity of hearing impaired people.

A more recent controversy is whether to implant deaf children with cochlear implants (CI) or leave them alone. This controversy is usually related to the Oral vs. Sign controversy but this is not necessarily so - there are some parents who subject their children to cochlear implantation but continue to use Sign to communicate with their children, due to various reasons. For more information about the CI controversy, browse Cochlear Implants FAQ.

Another controversial issue in Deaf education is whether to educate deaf children in the same classroom with hearing children, or separately. To learn more about this issue, see what Deaf persons and experts have to speak out against Inclusion.

Do you sometimes feel the irresistible urge to praise a deaf person's speech? Read Hearing people praising speech of Deaf people to find why this is sometimes offensive.

Several deaf people use lipreading to communicate with hearing people. They use it to varying degrees of success. There are strong Opinions about speechreading (lipreading).

Some orally-educated deaf people are held out as examples and role models for parents of newly-diagnosed deaf babies. Some of those role models are not as successful in life as claimed. So parents should be familiar with the checklist for evaluation of "oral success" claims.

Deaf persons survive the school system, somehow find jobs or get self-employed. Now it is time to marry, have children and be merry. Several people mix coldblooded considrations into their romantic affairs, so they may profit from what we have to say about Marriage Between Deaf and Hearing Persons.


Deaf people have traditionally congregated in their own clubs. However during recent years, attendance at the clubs has been steadily going down. It is now asked whether we need Deaf clubs at all?.

The need for strong Deaf organizations, however, is not in doubt. In USA, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has its own ideology.

If you are a childless couple and are contemplating adoption, there are issues concerning adoption of deaf children by adults and/or adoption of children by deaf adults.

For those, who have a masochistic streak in their psyche, and love to read how the Hearing screwed the Deaf in historical times: Conditions of the deaf in historical times.

Do you want to know how many deaf people are really there in the world or at least in your country? Look over Various statistics concerning the deaf.

People venture out of their "natural" ecological niches. Deaf people are no different and some of them even venture into the world of music, as you can see in Music and the Deaf. Other deaf people deal with the challenges of the business world. Some of them even succeed!

Last update date: 
2006 Jul 17