Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
by Tina Blue
February 17, 2001
I have some information that should be of interest if you are deaf or hard of hearing (HoH), if you are close to someone who is deaf or HoH, or even if you are just interested in and sympathetic to the deaf and HoH.
A few months ago, two women with severe hearing impairments, screen names Jo_athome and Loluv, established a message board at iVillages (click here). Over the past several weeks they have added-and expanded--an e-zine (click here) and a once-weekly live chat, in the iVillages AllHealth Living Room.**
The e-zine includes links to several other sites with information that would be helpful and interesting to the deaf or HoH, and the message board has offered not only emotional support, but also practical help to those with problems and questions relating to their own hearing impairment or that of a loved one.
The message board and e-zine are clearly a labor of love. One look will tell you how much time and effort must have gone just into setting up the e-zine.
A particularly discouraging problem faced by the deaf and HoH is social isolation and the depression that often attends such isolation. In my article "Deaf People Are So Annoying," I describe how frustrating and discouraging it can be to be treated rudely just because you can't hear or understand what someone is saying to you.
One thing I've noticed at the iVillages message board is the pervasive sense of gratitude. As I explain in my article "A Lot of Deaf People Don't Sign," many deaf and HoH have little or no contact with others like themselves. Hearing impairment often leads to social isolation and to the depression that attends such isolation, and since most deaf and HoH people don't have anyone else to turn to, other than the impatient people with normal hearing who have already pretty much excluded them from social interaction, their isolation and depression tends to increase over time.
That is why the message board and e-zine and the live chats are so welcome to those with severe hearing impairments.
So if you are deaf or HoH, or if someone you care about is, or even if you would just like to get to know some deaf and HoH people under circumstances where communication is in no way impeded by their handicap, then visit the message board, check out the e-zine, and join us for our live chat. Online, most deaf folks don't seem handicapped at all.
I still am, though. You see, I never learned how to type.
In fact, I am thinking about starting a message board for the typing-impaired.
**NOTE: The live chat schedule sometimes changes, so be sure to check the message board for times and days.