Keywords: deafness, disability/pathology perspective, cultural/social perspective
Disability/Pathology vs. Cultural/Social Perspectives
The advancement of medical technology has caused the advent of two different viewpoints about deafness: the disability/pathology perspective and the cultural/social perspective. The history of Deaf Studies, at one point, explored the thought-provoking differences and conflicts between the two perspectives that have become the basis of how people perceive deafness nowadays.
The disability/pathology perspective of deafness is anchored on the idea that deafness is about the pathological attributes of hearing loss. Under this perspective, deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) people are characterized as lacking or disabled due to their hearing loss that needs to fixed through the medically- and technologically-grounded Deaf-gain and normalization process (Bauman & Murray, 2010). On the other hand, cultural/social perspective of deafness is anchored on the idea that deafness is about the Deaf community considered as a linguistic minority. Under this perspective, DHH people are characterized based on their way of life as reflected on their unique identity: culturally Deaf identity, culturally hearing identity, or bicultural identity (Scheetz, 2012).
I believe that the disability/pathology perspective and the cultural/social perspective differ from each other in the sense that the disability/pathology perspectiv...
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...afford this highly expensive but feasible intervention. However, I also do respect and encourage Deaf culture as another choice of parents with DHH children. While I prefer hearing identity (DHH people who are hearing due to hearing aids, FM system, or cochlear implants) to Deaf identity (DHH people who are signing only), I respect parents who choose their DHH children not to avail of any hearing technological interventions to avoid ear infections or complications.
Both the disability/pathology and the cultural/social perspectives have their own values in the present time. While I am in favor of fixing deafness by any means, I do not agree on losing the identity of DHH people due to medical and technological advancement. I firmly believe that the DHH people have a special place in our society, and their unique culture adds to the flamboyant diversity of humankind.
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