Lou Ferrigno: An Inspiration
Due to ear infections suffered soon after birth, Ferrigno lost 75 to 80% of his hearing and has been using hearing aids since the age of 5. Ferrigno says his hearing loss helped shape his sense of determination in his youth, saying, “I think that if I wasn’t hard of hearing I wouldn’t be where I am now. Early on, as a youngster it was difficult, but I’m not ashamed to talk about it because many people have misconceptions about hearing loss; like who has hearing loss and what it’s like not to hear, so I do talk about it. I think my hearing loss helped create a determination within me to be all that I can be, and gave me a certain strength of character too. Anytime I do a movie or a TV show, I make them aware of my hearing loss at the beginning, and that makes it much easier for all of us to communicate and get the job done.”
This was posted on a deaf community Facebook page via cochlearimplantonline.com. I really like the information and can totally relate. I am CONSTANTLY explaining why we do not sign consistently, just as a supplement in extremely difficult listening environments (pep rallies, sports games, the pool, etc.).
“The solution for “Switched at Birth” was to make sure every scene included a deaf character: ‘The truth is, when you’re around people who are deaf, it’s considered rude not to sign if you know how,” Weiss said.’”
This quote by Lizzy Weiss from an article about Switched at Birth’s upcoming all-ASL episode has really struck the cord. As a deaf person who speaks and hears with cochlear implants and does not know sign language, I find this quote to be very misleading because a large number of deaf people do not communicate in sign language. This quote, which implies that all deaf people communicate in sign language, is also an example that creates a myth that continues to be perpetuated.
For instance, when I am out in the public and wearing my hair in a ponytail and my CIs are visible, I have been in situations where some people come up to me and sign to me. My response is always, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know sign language. I hear and speak.” This is a perfect example of a situation where individuals who know sign language need to be cautious about assuming which deaf individuals communicate in sign language. While I understand that they do mean well, I would appreciate more if individuals ask me first before starting to sign because I do not understand sign language.
With 2 deaf/hard of hearing youth athletes playing, training, and working hard to be their very best, I went looking for some deaf athletes online. Here’s an article I found to be pretty awesome!
How deaf athletes deal with noise as part of game strategies
Last year, 76 deaf and hard-of-hearing students played NCAA and NAIA sports, according to Deaf Digest Magazine, and 39 played in Division I. That does not account for those who do not wish to be identified. Those figures have steadily risen since the 1973 Rehabilitation Act mandated interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at universities and provided against discrimination based on disability. Click here to read the full article on ESPN.