BBC3’s recent ‘Deaf Teens, Hearing World‘ documentary, which profiled different ways to be deaf, has sparked debate about identity in deaf people.
Five teens in the UK were followed, all with very different attitudes to, and experiences of being deaf. Fair play to the BBC, for this balanced reporting.
A crucial line, “Each individual has to decide where they wish to be“, appeared in an ensuing BBC Magazine piece. This statement referred of course, to deaf people debating if they live in the hearing, or deaf, worlds.
The Sound Advice team knows this question isn’t always clear-cut, for anyone. At the same time, (deaf) teens need to meet a big variety of people and to have different experiences, to really get to know themselves and who they are.
Just like any (hearing) teen or young adult, in fact. Most youngsters need a phase to ‘find’ themselves before they are ready to take the responsibility of adult life. A gap-year often facilitates this stage in a young adult’s journey.
As Genevieve Barr, the (deaf) TV actress in the BBC drama, “The Silence” (2010), says in a SeeHear video, “I think for any individual, your deafness is what you make of it. So the more of a deal you make of it, the more of a deal other people will make of it for you”. She just wanted to get on in life.
Barr’s points bring us to a research piece which shows a person’s education setting to be a very powerful influencer in shaping their view/s of the world.
In terms of media portrayal of different ways to be deaf, the UK tends to be more balanced. Conversely, Irish media seems to be less so. For example, the Sound Advice team is often asked “why do deaf people never speak on Irish TV?”
- ‘Where Are All The Deaf People’?
- Insights To The Deaf Education Debate In The US
- What’s It Like To Be Deaf?
- What Tertiary Supports Do Deaf Students Need?