Here is a rough transcript:
I would like to share what I have discovered from my research.
Actually, the origin plan is to research on Starkey Foundation and find out what its mission and why they make this choice to contribute their time and give away hearing aids for these people in need. I want to find out what their motivation was. It is not my bag in reacting in emotional way and throwing assumptions without knowing the whole information. I rather look at this from a different perspective by going around from a 360 degrees angle. Once it is being fully understood then I discuss this.
Now, Imagine the Deaf community as a map and it is now being stretched out.
Hold that vision for a second.
I noticed that many Deaf people keep saying… “Don’t take advantage of the Deaf community. “I cherish the Deaf community.” “Let’s support the Deaf community”. It is like they think that the entire population in the Deaf community uses American Sign Language and is a part of the Deaf culture. And these cause me some concerns.
Look at this. The Deaf Community on this visualized map that is filled with Deaf people (including people with hearing loss) on it.
Do you think that this map is filled with most of Deaf people who are using American Sign Language and is a part of Deaf culture?
There is a small and tiny dot on the map of the Deaf community that has a group of culturally Deaf people using ASL and the rest of the map is HEARING people with hearing loss, FYI.
As I did do some research, I found these well respected scholars, who were very involved this research of culture, linguistic, ASL, environment, education, and other different things in the Deaf community. They have wrote a numerous of good books. These scholars, Sharon Baker and Dennis Cokely did find the information on how many culturally Deaf people who use ASL. Unfortunately, they did not have a specific number however they do have numbers that are in the range. The range is between 100,000 to 500,000 culturally Deaf people using sign language, which means the rest of the map is HEARING people with the hearing loss.
Now, there is a research on how many people of hearing loss including culturally Deaf people.
For example, NITDCD and HLAA, their research had concluded that there are 48 million people with hearing loss (including culturally Deaf people).
Now, this small and tiny dot that I take out 500,000 culturally Deaf people is being subtracted from 48 million people with hearing loss (including culturally Deaf people). It would leave 47,500,000 HEARING people with hearing loss. In the Deaf community, we have a small and tiny dot of a group of culturally Deaf people using ASL. That’s it.
Most people with hearing loss are people who born as hearing then became Deaf later. For example, a hearing baby becomes sick, they are born prematurely, they have gene defects or their mothers have illness. Those things would impact on the hearing of babies. It can go far as toddlers, teens, young adults, middle age adults, and elders. It can be from cancer, illness, infection, and aging.
So this means the large of population in the Deaf community is hearing people with hearing loss and it also has a small and tiny dot of a group of culturally Deaf people using ASL.
That’s when I understood that Starkey Foundation’s primary target is on hearing people with hearing loss. Starkey Foundation acknowledges that a small dot and tiny group of culturally Deaf people is a part on this map and Starkey would welcome them if this group wants hearing aids. Starkey does not discriminate any group in the Deaf community.
Is Starkey Foundation are being politically involved with or promoting ASL, Cued Speech, Oralism, SimCom, SEE?
No, they are staying out of this. They just focus on giving away hearing aids for free to those people who cannot afford paying for the hearing aids and the insurance does not cover the costs.
Think again… Starkey’s primary focus is HEARING people with hearing loss.
Now some culturally Deaf people get angry by blasting and demanding. It is important to remember that we have a very small dot of a group of culturally Deaf people who use ASL. Who has more power? I suggest you to be careful if you really want to influence the large population of HEARING people with hearing loss by informing them about the benefits of using ASL instead of scolding them or getting angry at them. These people would step back because they are HEARING people who lost their hearing.
This is serious business.
It is important for us to look at situation in different angles.
Oh… I finally understood why some culturally Deaf people who use ASL would prefer use the ASL community instead of the Deaf community. The ASL community means all kinds of people who use ASL. It can be CODA (Child of Deaf adult(s), interpreters, parents of Deaf children, etc…
However, when it comes to voicing our rights, If we only want the ASL community to represent us, it would be still considered a small group anyway.
We would still need a support from the Deaf community that has a large population, which are HEARING people with hearing loss by being our ally for our right of accessing to ASL.
We can work with them by adding ASL to their lifestyle. If HEARING people with hearing loss were having a hard time understanding lipreading or hearing, they would have a back up by using ASL. We show them how much ASL would benefit them without criticizing them for wearing hearing aids, finding them benefit to them, and telling them to do by saying they do not need hearing aids and it is stupid to have hearing aids. I feel it would be the most effective way is for us to respect their wants/ desires/needs then to enlighten them about adding ASL to their lifestyle that would make things easier for them to communicate and to understand each other better.
We need to consider how to make this approach toward a large number of Hearing people with hearing loss in our community and we do need their ally when it comes to voicing our rights or to protesting that our rights are being taken away.
I want to stress that again… There are 47,500,000 HEARING people with Hearing loss in comparison with 100,000 to 500,000 culturally Deaf people using ASL. Which group is powerful?
I will explain more the depth of this whole picture of Starkey Foundation the next time – on my show.
_\m/ ~ Aidan Mack