Deafness History

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The history of the deaf society constitutes not only a culture but a society intertwined with a unique way of communicating using facial movements and hand gestures to convey emotions, thoughts, and needs. Throughout history, the view of deaf people has been seen as gifts from God to the oppressed and shunned. Deafness consists for two reasons; conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds cannot make it to the inner ear, sensorineural hearing loss take place when the cells or nerves in the inner ear cannot receive or transfer sounds to the individual (Atkin). Both types can be present at birth or develop throughout one’s life. History proves that the deaf community can confront many barriers …show more content…
He settled on this isolated island located off the coast of Massachusetts known as Martha's Vineyard. Early settlers of Martha's Vineyard Island carried the deaf gene with Lambert being one of the first deaf person. Lambert later had two children who were congenitally deaf that also lived in Martha’s Vineyard. Moreover, this area carried quite an unusually high number of individuals that were deaf. Genetic research showed that many inhabitants of this place had deafness as a recessive gene. On the island, one in 25 people were deaf, 25 in 25 knew how to sign to one another (Romm). Consequently, almost all the residents were likely to have both hearing and deaf siblings. By 1854, an average number of deaf people per population in the United States was 1 out of 5728. At the same time, the numbers on the island were 1 out of 155. In Chilmark, which had the highest concentration, a number was 1 out of every 25 people (Groce). The Chilmak residents intermarried with one another with the gene of deafness spreading throughout the island. Lambert spoke a sign language he learned from Kent, England, and the assumption that Lambert had a strong influence on what was called Martha Vineyard Sign Language. It was the dominant sign language for the deaf who lived in the area from the 18th up to the mid-20th century. The situation in this region was unique considering most everyone who lived on the island educated themselves on the use of the technique. As such, in this society, being deaf was not particularly a barrier to engage in life on the island. Thus, the language was not merely seen as a language and used by those that were physically disabled, but seen as an alternative language. Its widespread use meant that it played a vital role in the development of the

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