The Difference Between Hearing and Deaf Culture

In hearing and Deaf cultures there are many differences. This addresses a few of the major differences between them.

    When comparing Deaf culture to the hearing culture there are many differences. For those who have never met a Deaf person, taken a sign language class, or worked with someone who is Deaf you may even be unaware of the fact that you are referred to as a hearing person. Whether you are aware of this fact or not there are two major differences in these two cultures. For example in hearing culture when a student arrives late to class the teacher will typically continue with teaching never interrupting the class. They may ask the student later about why he or she was late to class but most tend to be uninterested in the excuse for being late. This is not the case with a Deaf teacher when a student arrives late even if in the middle of a lesson they will stop to ask why he or she is late. Thus getting information from this student that may be helpful to everyone. Suppose the student if in collage was late to class for traffic reasons they would share with the class not to take that way home; to find another route. Sharing information is very important in the Deaf Culture. Another difference between cultures is in hearing culture it is generally considered rude to ask someone how much they paid for that house, car, boat, etc.  That kind of information is considered private and if we are close, enough to the person to consider asking we usually say something like. “If you don’t mind how much did you pay for that…” or “I don’t mean to be nosey but how much exactly did you spend?” On the other hand, in Deaf Culture it is perfectly reasonable to ask a Deaf friend or even acquaintance how much they spent on their recent big purchase.

     Deaf people do this from the desire of wanting to share the chance that their friend could get the same deal. For example if they recently bought a car for a great deal or this particular dealer is willing to go down more than other dealers nearby this gives their friend the opportunity to get the same great deal. Another example of a difference between hearing and Deaf cultures is saying goodbye. In hearing culture, the conversation ends with one goodbye and if you know the person well enough it ends with one hug and the conversation is over. In Deaf culture, it can be different when saying goodbye it could take three or four times or even more before the conversation is over. After the first goodbye and a hug, someone remembers something he or she forgot to tell the other so the conversation picks back up until another goodbye is then said and a hug is given. Then something else someone forgot to share comes up and the conversation continues. There is usually only two hugs given but everyone is different and every conversation is different. The need to share information with each other has become a part of the culture because years ago Deaf people had no way of getting in touch with each other unless they were face to face. This was the only opportunity they had to share information, news, stories, and gossip. As a result, they needed to share everything and talk about whatever was on their minds when they saw each other. The invention of the telephone did nothing for the Deaf community it was not until the invention of the first TTY were Deaf people able to communicate without being in the same room. Today the technology has advanced with cell phones, blackberry’s, web cams, better TTY’s, and videophones. Whether you are hearing or Deaf the cultural differences should not be anything to keep us from bridging the gap between the cultures and making an effort to understand each other.

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  1. I am a ASL student in high school and whenever I have to do research I find myself overwhelmed with all of the articles that come up but this article on the other hand is wonderful! It gives me all the of the information that I needed to complete my assignment!

  2. nice share

  3. Nice share, but some of you assumptions about us hearin folk are incorrect. Some of us share and question about a good deal and it’s totally o.k. Some of us take several trys to say good bye for good new and special information must always be shared. Instead of these actions as deaf culture perhaps they are a part of the exceptionally social culture which has a little bit of all of us in it those who sign and those of us who have yet to learn. hum think about it….

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