Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Personal Goals." A good little read on what I have done and the goals I continue to pursue. Although I am not currently trying to raise money for a new piano via my blogsite, as reported in Hands and Voices. I advertised my donation request via buying my Ragtime products was done as a lark just to see what kind of reaction I'd get from people reading my blogsite. I'll get my piano of choice in due time and get back into practicing 2 to 3 hour everyday once again honing my ragtime piano skills. How many deaf/hh Ragtime pianists do you know anyway?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Now, with this story we have Oswaldo Martinez, 36, who is charged with capital murder, rape, robbery and forcible sodomy in connection with the murder of a 16 year old girl, Brittany Binger, in January 2005.
Martinez, a deaf-mute illegal immigrant, has been learning American sign language at Western State since late 2005.What makes this so unique is that Martinez lacked any effective communication to offer his own defense after investigations found his DNA in the form of scraped skin under Brittany's fingernails when she tried to fight him off. The culpability is there with the DNA evidence to charge Martinez with murder and more.
Experts have said that at the time Martinez was arrested in February 2005, he could not read, write or use sign language.
During a competency hearing in May, it was revealed that after a year and a half of instruction, Martinez could effectively communicate with doctors and staff at Western State.
Williamsburg-James City Circuit Judge Samuel Powell III ruled that during the next six months, Martinez's attorneys, Tim Clancy and Beau Webb, begin meeting with him in an effort to determine his ability to aid in his own defense. The move to the regional jail will make those meetings possible.
These things shouldn't happen. There are millions of legal immigrants who came to America using proper and legal means to enter and eventually become American citizens in Newark, NJ. Americans deserved to be protected from illegal aliens who break laws or committ murder against American citizens.
So, how many deaf illegal immigrants are out there in the United States? If there are an estimated 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States, I'd say the number of illegal deaf immigrants may be around 60,000 based on my own earlier population study. It could be much more than that since there are no real credible studies in this area as far as I know determining the number of deaf illegal immigrants in the U.S. Yet we do hear stories from time to time on how illegal deaf immigrants were captured like the ones reported here, here and especially here.
Regardless of how they got there, illegal immigrants simply need to be deported back where they came from. From the countries where these deaf illegal immigrants came from it is that country's responsibility to address the plight of these deaf individuals rather than have them foisted upon American soils because they don't want to address the problem. There are ways where countries can collaborate to help fund or offer expertise to help make lives better in the country from which those deaf illegal immigrants came from.
As a side note, Michelle Malkin is active in this area reporting on our illegal immigrants problem in the United States and how they have murdered and killed American citizens. Her latest story is about an illegal immigrant in connection with the triple slayings of three young people.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Suppose ten years from now you will see that headline, seen above, blare across the front page of every major newspaper across the United States and even the world, what would your reaction be? With that discovery of a cure for nerve deafness (ie sensorineural deafess) for babies, kids, teens and adults, I'm sure parents would show a collective sigh of relief as they stampede toward the nearest audiologist or doctor office to get this newly available yet easy to use biological cure for their deaf babies. Should hearing parents go ahead and use this cure to help restore 100% of their baby's hearing loss and become that hearing person? Click on the poll survey below. There is only a "yes" or "no" answer. There is no "maybe" to choose from for obvious reasons.
UPDATE: Remember, this vote is about hearing parents of deaf babies. But by voting "No!" when a cure is readily available for deaf infants would that be construed as "child abuse" by limiting/denying that deaf baby that option to hear? In other words, are you suggesting to hearing parents that their deaf baby should, under no circumstances, be allowed to hear like any other hearing children when he/she grows up?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
ASL Videos include:
Preparing for a Hurricane
Preparing for a Hurricane: Prescription Medications
Evacuating the Area of a Hurricane
Staying Save in Your Home During a Hurricane
Keeping Children Safe from Drowning in Flooded Areas
Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During a Power Outage
Preventing Mold After a Disaster
Handwashing After a Disaster
See these videos and more at: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.asp
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Stay tuned to Kokonut Pundit for breaking news on Greg Gunderson while Greg pushes forward to become the first ever Deaf professional driver on the NASCAR circuit.
By the way, have you looked at UbiDuo lately?
UPDATE: Check out this first historical event ever to take place in the ARCA/NASCAR industry to bring the first deaf racing driver to the racing scene. See photos of this historic news.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Who is responsible to ensure that their deaf kids not be exposed to these foul language?
Below are some examples of which words that were used often in Deaf/Hoh blogsites.
Example #1, the use of the "F" word one time too many.
Example #2, the use of the "F" word with "You" just because it's "OK" to say it.
Example #3, when people like to use the stinky excrement word much too often.
Example #4, a word used often to describe a person as the puckered hole of a rear end.
Example #5, another word for intercourse in the active sense.
Example #6, another word of a person who doing the intercourse.
Example #7, using the "G" word in vain.
And so on. And so forth. And so on. Well, you get the idea.
And these blogs are supposed to be "family friendly" enough? Those profanities do appear in Deafread from time to time. Would you want your deaf kids read those blogs knowing it may contain foul words not suitable for them anyway? Would you even say the same foul words in a vlog?
Do Deaf parents of Deaf kids allow them to read such foul use of a word on other deaf/hh people's blogsite.
Frankly, there are many deaf and hoh people who are proud and thankful of the fact that they can hear and understand spoken words or be able to play a musical instrument properly and for their own enjoyment. Others are not afraid to test their hearing senses like the time a piano tuner came over to tune my neighbor's piano and I asked the tuner fellow if I could try tuning the piano with his tuning forks. He showed me how and I gave it a shot, confidently so. With some concentration I was able to tune a few strings a few octaves apart adjusting the pitch of one piano string and harmonize that pitch to that of a tuning fork much to his satisfaction, and surprise. I am certainly not tone nor pitch deaf. Though doing so did present a challenge to my own hearing senses. I am sure there are many others out there who can do these things just as a hearing person can, even tuning a piano. Hearing loss does not equate as total loss of frequency. These things can be done and have been done. I have shown many examples of such stories throughout my blogs.
Bloggers should not be afraid to ask questions, set up polls, provide their own insights, do stories, talk about theirs and other people's skills and abilities or their experiences involving the hearing senses. Bloggers should not be afraid that they might offend some deaf readers' delicate sensibilities. Just like what Allison Kaftan did in DeafDC. There are many reasons why readers get offended, sometimes all too easily, about a blog entry. It could even be as simple as a picture like the one I have above because it supposedly "promotes" oralism. I laugh at such a thought when people just simply go to far with their imaginations running wild accusing me of such inanities when it was the impressive graphic that got my attention. Let's leave those conspiracy theories at the door shall we?
Still, these responses could range from legitimate concerns to outright petty jealousy. Or perhaps some lash out because subconsciously they are bothered by it because of their inability to exhibit that same skill or ability. I don't know. Calling names along with personal derisions in the commenting page directed at the blogger, guest bloggers or other commenters are by no means equivalent to a well thought out argument. If people believe that a blogger must try and please every readers' satisfaction then they certainly have rocks in their heads. It is just not humanely possible to do that. People have different viewpoints, opinions and perspectives just as bloggers do. What makes blogging great is that you get a variety of views, opinions, experiences, and perspectives to choose from the many bloggers out there. Just like television shows, if you don't like what you see, don't watch it. Flip it to another channel if your prefer the more sensational or the more mundane shows.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work at a pizza joint like, for example, Dominos Pizza? Ever wonder if you think you could do the job working the phone line taking orders on a busy Friday night while some 120 pizzas are cooked every hour? The constant but loud ringing of the phones while order takers answer the calls when accuracy of orders are essential for a business to survive. Do you think you can do the job working the phone line? Have you ever worked as one or something similar?
Well, I worked both as a Dominos Pizza driver and phone order taker when I was 19 years old in a town called Duluth, Georgia. Worked there for about a year or so until I found a better paying job. About when I was 27 years old in 1992 I worked as a manager for Dominos Pizza in the Maryland area like Edgewater, New Carrollton, and Bowie whose pizza stores were owned by one owner. I ran the stores, manned the phones, hired/fired people, ordered food and sodas for the store's walk in refrigerator, did my daily accounting, made the pizzas, cut the pizzas during peak periods (120 to 140 pizzas per hour), barked out orders to drivers, helped new drivers with the map on where to take the pizza. I even made a few trips to unsatisfied customers when I would deliver the pizzas myself while the asst manager ran the store. And so on. My hearing loss is between moderate and severe. Though all that work was an iteresting experience that went on for almost two years until finally I got accepted into graduate school at University of Idaho to get my M.S. degree in Geophysics. It was time to move on and move up.
Do you think you could do that job? Handle phone calls from many different strangers?
Now, what got me thinking is what would be a good litmus test to rate how well one can converse over the phone and with who. I figured I'd use the Pizza Joint Litmus Test. If you say you can use the phone would it be only with voices you'd recognized. Or with certain members of family only? Or it can be with anybody, even strangers and even those with a heavy foreign accent? Would you be that confident enough to take orders through the phone knowing that the pizza joint depends on accurate orders for their business survival, would you be able to do it?
Below are two polls. If you are profoundly deaf (anything greater than 90 dB loss) and wears a hearing aid, please answer the poll.
The other poll under the "Severely Deaf" caption are for those who have severe hearing loss (70 to 90 dB) and wears a hearing aid then please answer the poll there.
UPDATE: For those who are in the profoundly deaf category and clicked on "I could easily take phone orders while working at a pizza joint" or "I may be able to take phone orders but only under limited conditions while working," I would very much like for you to contact me, via email (see address at top of blogpage) so we can exchange cell phone numbers and talk this over the phone. Thanks.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
During his time as a municipal judge, Carson has come across at least three defendants who were deaf. In those cases, the deaf judge and deaf defendants communicated in sign language.It wasn't too long ago I reported on the rising number of deaf judges and deaf attorneys but amazingly so there are some Deaf people who actually believe that (even bluntly to little Deaf girls who want to become a Deaf judge someday) having a Deaf judge just wouldn't be possible.
"The deaf defendants seem pretty surprised the judge could use ASL (American Sign Language) and, of course, there was nothing for the captioner to type because there were no words spoken," Carson said, adding that his municipal court is not a court of record where transcripts are required.
Miguel Matos has been Cibolo city prosecutor for about a year and wasn't sure what to think when told he would be working with a deaf judge.
"I was a little apprehensive about that and because I am a pretty new attorney," Matos said. "But from the moment I met Judge Carson I found him to be warm and pleasant, and I am incredibly impressed with his ability to read lips in court and he uses the coolest technology to help him.
I suppose my blog piece about this deaf judge wouldn't count because he's not "Deaf enough"?
Try explaining that to this little Deaf girl, whose dream was probably crushed horribly, that there is in fact a deaf judge who knows ASL and have signed to Deaf defendents in his own courtroom! In fact, this deaf judge is so remarkable many look to him to study how he runs his own courtroom.
"Judge Carson is one of the best judges you will find because he is so professional, and other cities in our area are studying the way he runs his court to look for ways to improve their courts," Parton said.
Now, it doesn't matter whether these judges are culturally deaf or not. What matters is that we have the communication technology to make this evidentally possible for all judges (and attorneys) from mild to profound hearing loss to function just as well as any hearing judges sitting at the bench.
Now, who will fetch this little Deaf girl and introduce her to this remarkable deaf judge and help reset her path to her dream of becoming a Deaf judge someday? I hope somebody would be smart enough to do something about it.
Hattip: Chuck McCollough from Express-News contacted me about this story he wrote a few days ago.
UPDATE: I guess I was right. According to some people it's all about whether one is "Deaf enough" or not. Thereby disqualifying the judge even though he knows sign language proficiently well despite becoming deaf later in his adult life. Nice to know there are still militant Deaf people out there who don't mind squashing little Deaf girls' dream of becoming a Deaf judge someday. I thought that was the job of hearing people to squash dreams. I guess I was wrong, folks.
UPDATE II: Read Frumious Bandersnatch's comment in DeafDC in response about deaf judges. an excellent response to those who must insist on using the "not Deaf enough" route when it comes to deaf judges. Scroll down about 2/3rd of the way to get to the deaf judge part.
To be a successful deaf lawyer, above all, you do need to be proficient in English. You need strong communication skills, which means, frequently, being able to speak comprehensible English with your clients. You also need to be able to parse complex transactions and events and reduce them to readable English for your clients as well as for the court.
In addition, if you want to be a judge, then you need to show some record of public service, legal and professional qualifications, such as bar membership and pro bono activities. You also have to interact with a lot of politicians and brown-nose them for appointment to judicial office. This all requires a good sense of English and good verbal skills (and most definitely, good people skills!), which probably (I don’t say that it’s impossible) rules out a “pure” ASL user. I would venture to guess that the powers that be that appoint judges will not give a second (or even first) glance at someone who uses ASL only and uses an interpreter to voice only to communicate.
So, in order to become that Deaf judge he or she must have a solid grasp and skill in the English language. After all, you have to go to college and take bar exams before you step foot into the area of law. And for anyone who believe differently then their "expectations with respect to deaf judges are rather grandiose and unrealistic."
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
"...great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."
Oh, forgot to tell you. That was from the November 2, 1992 edition of Washington Post newspaper. But interesting to read what the Washington Times had to say about this.
This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."
So, whether you believe in global warming as caused by human beings or that oil came from dinosaurs, you're certainly on the wrong side of things. People have been saying about the great warm ups using the same old gloom and doom scenarios back during in the 1920s and 1930s, even before after those decades, and then we had the global cooling gloom and doom of the 1970s fearing the return of the ice age and massive ice sheets covering parts of North America. And now again in the 2000s we have another round of global warming gloom and doom.
Make up your mind you journalist idiots. Or concede that all this is the natural dynamic changes caused by Earth with the help of the Sun's energy fluctuations. And none from the help of mankind.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I think using the color-of-your-skin “cure” analogy is flawed on so many levels because hearing loss range from mild to profound and people have a variety of experiences regarding sound and how they deal with it makes this particular pill analogy more problematic than it is not. Even from a Deaf culture point of view. The color of your skin is not the disability in question but rather it’s about discrimination, bias and even acceptance. Disability affects all people regardless of skin color.
Let’s take this a bit further by saying that there is a “magic” vision pill that can help restore your vision to 20/20 perfect vision would you take it if your vision is 120/20? 80/20? 40/20? Would you take it if you have Usher Syndrome and get the full peripheral vision back again? What if you were blind for awhile would you take it to have your vision restored again? Honestly now, would you take that pill? How many of you wear glasses wished your vision was 20/20 and not wear glasses or contacts anymore? And so I ask this question, how would this “magic” vision pill be any different from a “magic” hearing pill that can restore hearing loss for people with mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss?
I can imagine that most Deaf people would very well likely not take the “magic” hearing pill for a variety of reasons with one of them being the cultural and identity connection. This is completely understandable. After all, taking one would indeed put that deaf person into a brave new world not yet experienced. But that doesn’t mean a Deaf person would not take it. And if one does take it, would he still be considered as part of the Deaf culture or Deaf world even if he continues to sign in ASL?
Now, you’re probably wondering if I would take that pill.
I certainly would. Why should I not given the fact that I have the gift of being able to hear and enjoy a variety of sound, music and people talking?
Why would people even have a problem with that?
What about if hearing parents gave that “magic” hearing pill to their deaf baby? What about if deaf parents gave that “magic” pill to their deaf baby? Would you have a problem with that? Why should any of that be a concern to you at all?
Now, many people have their reasons on why they would want their hearing loss restored just as the many reasons why people would want their vision restored. Some would say it’s because of music. Others would take the pill in order to finally hear all the small and enjoyable sounds in the great outdoors. Or be able to converse more freely and without any impediment.
Today, we’re already progressing in the field of hearing loss where we have powerful digital hearing aids with built-in Artificial Intelligence programming, cochlear implants that continue to improve and get smaller to neural hearing implants that’s better than cochlear implant that may likely be available in about 5 years after FDA review. This is not to mention the growing field interest in the use of stem cells to treat and cure nerve deafness such as sensorineural hearing loss. And that one might be about 10 years away before it is finally applied. Those are amazing technological and biological developments. What they have done and are doing is almost like magic itself.
The “magic” hearing pill. Would you take it?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Now, I don't know what the mother's definition of what constitutes a normal phone coversation but it certainly does not entail repeating everything constantly or even loudly. Or even avoiding conversations with other strangers over the phone whose voices are not familiar to begin with. But color me skeptical on believing a person with profound hearing loss who wears a hearing aid can have normal conversations over the phone. Certainly those with moderate to severe hearing loss have a better chance on having normal phone conversations while wearing a hearing aid than those who have profound hearing loss. If one can converse normally over the phone also means he/she has a high word discrimination ability and that would generally be into the 90s percentile range.
Does anybody who knows someone who is profoundly deaf, wears a HA, coverses easily over the phone and understands clearly the other person's voice?
And if so, send him or her my way and I'll call that person up myself.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
A new law requires candidates who use public matching funds to provide captioning for their televised campaign ads. The law is designed to help those who are deaf and hard of hearing to participate in the political process.
Besides captioning on TV ads, candidates will have to provide a written or text format for radio ads -- if requested by the listener. The law, which was signed by Governor Carcieri, goes into effect on January First.
It's a start.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Chicago O'Hare and Midway airports plan to install 11 videopohones for the deaf and hard of hearing. Through a live sign-language translator, users can request airport services and receive tourist information. They can also call friends and relatives who have videophones.Now, that takes care of one segment of the deaf and hard of hearing society, we still have the other 29 million people with hearing loss to deal with who don't know sign language. I'm sure that'll change quickly someday soon.
The first kiosk will be installed later this month at O'Hare in Terminal 3 near gate K-1. Eight
more kiosks will be installed at O'Hare in the upper and lower levels of the
terminals and at the shuttle center. Midway will have two kiosks
Michael the gorilla(the late signing silverback companion of Koko's) signs in one video about his memory of his mother being killed by poachers in Africa. Startling to even watch and see how he relates his story for humans to hear.
Anway, there's a recent study about orangutans to see if these primates have the ability to use gestures and play a type of a charade game in the hope that caretakers would understand any requests by these primates. It was successful to a degree that orangutans were able to communicate their intentions or wants with the researchers. The article ends with,
The researchers conclude that further studies of communication among apes could provide insight into the pre-linguistic devices that helped construct the earliest forms of language.
Which brings me to my first blog, "So Easy, A Deaf Cavement Can Do It," where I asked the question whether early cave people had the tendency to use gestures over crude vocal responses to communicate. Seems likely that this would be the case since these particular primates could be seen as the de-evolved human form, even the Cromagnum people, when it came to on communicating with other members.
Next, we get around to the question about deaf cave people. Did they even exist? Did they even survive on their own? I would probably agree that they did exist way back several hundreds of thousands of years ago. Even a million years ago. Thinking about my questions I seriously doubt they even survived long enough due to the fact that the ability to hear played a huge crucial role on improving odds for surviving outdoor. I think that sooner or later the ability to survive would have already have been well spent by the time a cave person reaches past puberty. I would even be so bold to say that among those hearing cave people once they figured out that one of their own is deaf they would either abandon that deaf caveboy/girl or even kill him/her knowing that they didn't want unproductive clan members to begin with who cannot even hear to even save his own hide which would put the rest of the clan members in greater perile on trying to survive and hunt outdoors.
Or were these cave people much more caring when it came to taking care of their own disabled cave people? But then again we're talking about a time when surviving was paramount for the safety of the whole clan. I could suppose they wouldn't want to waste their time or valuable resources just to take care of a deaf cave person. I believe they would have been somehow killed off a long ago time ago by their own members once they figured out they had a deaf member among their pack.
Survival of the fittest?
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Now, with all the latest seizures over the s0-called lack of bonafide Deaf actors in television shows perhaps these people ought to write to ABC and suggest that they also include a deaf caveman character into the script somehow. I could only imagine what this deaf caveman may turn out into. Perhaps desperately trying to be just as sophisticated as his hearing cavemen while trying to sign but probably end up doing a lot of pointing anyway. You know how those hearing producers are like anyways on what they think is right.
While I'm on the topic of cavemen how did those cavemen communicate some "one million years" ago?
Both sign and speech communication have certain advantages and disadvantages for the general population; therefore, linguists theorize that vocalizations came into free variation with signs (meaning you could grunt or point, whichever worked best at the moment). For a time, man used two different modes of communication: sign and speech.
As the millenniums went by, man moved from the open plains to the woods. Once there, sign communication no longer had the advantage over spoken communication. At that point in time, linguists believe that spoken languages became the "prestige" languages -- simply and solely because they were more efficient "tools" for the majority of the population.
However, in spite of the diminishing popularity for sign languages, sign communication continued to exist ... as movements in ritualized ceremonies, or covert forms of communication, or simply because there was a segment of the population which couldn't -- or wouldn't -- access spoken languages.
Did they sign more often than use their vocal cords to communicate? Did they really grunt alot or did a lot of pointing instead which may have been the first ever universal sign language by a hearing caveman? Did deaf cavemen even exist back then or were they left to die or fend on their own grunting unknowingly in silence? Or did those deaf cavemen even develope their own archaic and weird signs in the effort to and communicate? Or were they actually a bunch of mute cavemen who didn't do much but used their hands and maybe a few grunts to communicate? Or was it the "language gene" that catapulted those primitive cavemen in their ability to use their vocal cords to communicate more effectively?
Something to think about.
But before you reply, note the rules first.
UPDATE: Like I said, don't read too much into what I wrote just like when people read way too much into the upcoming 'Cavemen' show.
UPDATE: I am putting the rules here because people with cell phones may not be able to link to my .png image that describes my rules. The "rules" link in Haloscan will be linked to here from now on.
A very, very simple guide to posting comments on Kokonut Pundit
Kokonut Pundit welcomes all points of view but unlike some sites this blogsite does not permit people to greet those who disagree with by way of personal attacks, name-calling, or profanity. So, if you want to avoid having your comments edited or deleted, or getting yourself banned (either for a short time or longer, take your chance) then please follow these simple guidelines:
No profanity. There is no reason to resort to foul language, regardless of how badly your arguments have been shredded or that you are befuddled by your own stupidty you'd resort to profanity thinking it replaces well thought out arguments.
No personal attacks. If you want to call names, you know where you will be welcomed. But here, please conduct all discussions with at least a modicum of intelligence and respectability. Personal attacks on other posters will not be tolerated. This goes double for personal or ad hominem attacks on the people who post blogs on Kokonut Pundit.
No off-topic ramblings. If you think a comments thread is meant to be a free-for-all smorgasbord for anything that comes into your head, you are in the wrong place. Try to maintain at least a tenuous connection to the subject matter at hand.
No abuse. Post the same message over and over, especially in multiple off-topic threads, is not a good way to ingratiate yourself.
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And most importantly of all, comments are to be made in English only. Anything other than English will means automatic deletion.
If you disagree with my policy then you are certainly a lot dumber than I thought. This is a place where all can present arguments, facts, ideas, and opinions about the subject matter at hand. This is so that we can learn about certain topics and other people's perspectives.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
That job will be in the hands of Randy Enwright, a veteran Florida Republican who is widely respected and also once ran the GOP in Iowa.
Newsbusters has details why this isn't the case about Fred Thompson supposed hiring of Spencer Abraham as the campaign manager.
People, both deaf and hearing alike, need to remember that it's open season on presidential candidates (and soon to be announced candidates) and that the MSM are all too willing to go after the most visible candidates. Even if it means putting out disinformation.
The problem is the use of “2 Million Strong” in the video title as if it were a fact. I question Lauren’s use of that figure in the attempt to make the Deaf population sound bigger when it is not. The claim of “2 million ASL users” or Deaf people in the United State came from Harlan Lane and Ben Bahan:
“ASL is the language of a sizeable minority. Estimates range from 500,000 to two million speakers in the U.S. alone. There are also many speakers in Canada. Compared to data from the (U.S.) Census Bureau, which counts other language minorities, ASL is the leading minority language in the U.S. after the "big four": Spanish, Italian, German, and French.” (Harlan Lane, Robert Hoffmeister, and Ben Bahan in A Journey into the Deaf World. San Diego, Calif.: Dawn Sign Press, 1996, p.42)Although Lane mentioned “speakers,” this was not clarified exactly on the status of what constitute as ASL “speakers” in the United States. Was it to mean Deaf people who are native ASL signers? The range of 500,000 to 2,000,000 speakers is a sizeable jump in numbers - an order in magnitude jump. We can easily choose to discount the possibility of having 2,000,000 ASL (fluent and Deaf) speakers in the United States. Or we can blindly accept this large range without further questions, however. The existence of 2,000,000 “speakers” is highly doubtful and most likely an overblown (way, way overblown) one according to Thomas E. Allen in his 1994 Gallaudet Research Institute website on the number of native ASL signers in the United States as well as my own 14 page research into this population question I did a few years ago which I will put some of it in my blog here.
Now, if we take a look at what the current Deaf population in the United States might be like in a more pragmatic approach one could see how the 2 million Deaf population figure used is likely to be an overblown one. If the 50 largest cities in the United States have an average of 40,000 Deaf people in each city (not including surrounding suburban areas), noting the fact that the top 50 largest populated cities have over 1,000,000 people (2000 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates), this would come out to 2,000,000 Deaf people exactly. Now, name a single city in the United States of over 1 million people that have the potential to have 40,000 Deaf people. If you already figured it out you may have realized that there are only a few possible places that may have a Deaf population close to that size. Some of the largest concentrations of Deaf people are in some of the largest cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, and so on rather than in some city with barely a million or so people. To make matters worse, there are very little data from each state on Deaf population counts.
Most states have a deaf and hard of hearing population count with very little references concerning the Deaf (ie culturally deaf) population. In the city of Chicago, for example, there is an estimated number of 26,000 Deaf people out of 2,900,000 persons according to the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. This Deaf population represents 8.9% of the total population in the city of Chicago. Even for the city of Chicago, it could not even come with a 40,000 Deaf population count.
(see http://www.idhhc.state.il.us/familyInfo/demographics.htm )
Then we have the Pennsylvania census. According to the 2000 U.S. Census count for Pennsylvania, the state had a population of 12,281,000 persons. Statistics on people with hearing losses taken in 2002 conducted by the SHHH chapter in Pennsylvania are as follows:
Total number of people with hearing loss in state = 1,221,914 (9.9%)
Number of people who are prelingually or culturally deaf = 21,820 (0.2%)
Number of people who are hard of hearing = 1,134,634 (9.2%)
Number of people who are late deafened = 65,460 (0.5%)
Number of people who are deaf/blind ~ 800 ±
The number of culturally deaf people or Deaf people in the state of Pennsylvania is believed to be about 21,820. That is a ratio of 1 Deaf person for every 560 hearing people for the state of Pennsylvania. This figure or ratio should not be extrapolated to other states since population and the concentration of Deaf people can vary enormously from state to state, and from city to city. (see http://www.pa-shhh.org/profile/demog.html )
A more accurate figure on the Deaf population number in the United States could be estimated using figures found in the “McGill Study of Deaf Children in Canada” (MacDougall, 1990). In the study a ratio number was established on the prevalence of deafness in the 0-21 year range. The generally accepted number “rule of thumb” for the prevalence of deafness which precludes the use of speech and hearing without special intervention, aside from sign language, is 1/1000 (MacDougall, 1990; MacDougall, 1999).
In applying this “general rule of thumb” using the 1/1000 ratio (or 0.001) to the United States population figure of 280,000,000 people produces a comparative number of people, ratio-wise, with hearing losses to that of Canada’s (2000 U.S. population census at 280 million versus Canada’s population of 28 million). This ratio produces a Deaf population result of 280,000 (or 280,000,000 * 0.001) Deaf people for the 0 to 21 year old age group in the United States. Using the McGill study in Canada “rule of thumb” to help estimate the 0 – 21 age group Deaf population count in the United States should make no difference statistically. The large population gap between the two countries ought to be statistically insignificant when already there was a large enough sample population to begin with in Canada in the McGill Study.
The United States population is significantly larger than Canada with the population ratio being 10 to 1. We now have a reliable Deaf population figure of 280,000 for the United States in the 0 – 21 age group only. This still leave the older Deaf population greater than age 21 to be added into the equation. With the help of the U.S. Census 2000 population result we can use those data to help infer on what the actual Deaf population number is likely to be.
According to the U.S. Census 2000 total population study the ratio of people by age group starting with people in the 0 to 18 year old age group is 73 million or 26 percent of the U.S. population (or approximately 30 percent for the 0 to 21 year old age group). The total population figure for the 18 to 64 year old group is 174 million or 62 percent of the population in the United States. This leaves 35 million, or 12 percent of the U.S. population, for people aged 65 and over. Using the same age groups seen in the 2000 U.S. Census figures to that of the Deaf population should make no statistical differences (i.e. age group 0 – 21, 22- 64, and 65 years and over) in estimating on getting the total Deaf population number in the United States.
Total U.S. population by age group according to 2000 U.S. Census figures:
Age Group.........Population Count.........% Total Population
0 – 18(21) ......73,000,000 (84,000,000)....................26%(30%)
18 – 64....................174,000,000....................................62%
65 and over...............35,000,000...................................12%
The Deaf population number for the 0 – 21 year age group should account for nearly 30 percent of the total Deaf population in the United States. That is if 280,000 Deaf people aged 0 – 21 years old represent 30 percent of the U.S. Deaf population then it means that 70 percent of the older Deaf population is over the age of 21 years old should account for another 650,000 Deaf people. This leaves a total Deaf population of about 930,000 in the United States for year 2000. The 930,000 figure comes startlingly close to the 973,000 figure given by the 1994 National Center for Health Statistics (Data from the National Health Interview Survey). This would relate to about a ratio between 20 to 1 and 30 to 1 on the number of deaf and hard of hearing people (mild to profound) to that of Deaf people in the United States.
The Deaf population figure of 930,000 in the United States is believed to be a valid but upper range figure according to my 14 page research I did a few years back. A more conservative number of 600,000 Deaf persons population figure would probably the most realistic figure to date. However, the boisterous claim of 2 million Deaf persons in the United States is certainly less believable and quite invalid without any supporting facts to show otherwise. Even if Lane and Bahan said it without any real supporting evidences it would be a bit reckless to say that there are 2 million strong Deaf voters. I have provided some of my figures and resources that I extracted from my 14 page Deaf population study showing why 2 million Deaf people in the United States cannot be the case except for those who want to use nice big round number with the word “millions” attached to it for posterity sake.
So, let’s not go down that road proclaiming that the voting Deaf population is 2 million strong because it is not.
UPDATE: An addendum. If you want to apply the number of Deaf voters who are of voting age, 18 years and up, then the actual number of Deaf voters would be much smaller than my estimate of 930,000 Deaf people of all ages. We're looking at about 300,000 to 600,000 Deaf voters (18 and up) and not the "2 Million Strong" which is just a bogus number.
Deaf Population Study by Mike McConnell – © 2007