Anyone have experience on being around deaf/hard of hearing?


I’m pretty set on learning ASL and having a career in that field. Not quite sure where specifically as a translator but it’s something that I feel would be an enjoyable and worthwhile job for me. Im just wondering if there is anyone who could give me advice who has some experience around deaf people, or perhaps even know a little about the ASL field


I have worked for Deaf people and studied ASL. It looks like this program allows a person to start with ASL 1 and get an associate’s degree (2-year); however, it seems there may be a change to start requiring a 4-year degree (possibly not necessarily in ASL/interpreting) to take certification tests.

It sounds like you may be in high school? If so, your guidance counselor should’ve able to give you specific info related to what you need to do, altho s/he may need to do some research.

In the meantime, there are some good books to read: Deaf Like Me, by T. Sparsely (IIRC) and Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks are two that I particularly recall.


Oops, hit the wrong button! Check out Gallaudet U in Wasgington DC–premier liberal arts college for the deaf in the world.


I took 1 semester of ASL in college and LOVED it! My wife took 2 semesters of it, and to this day we can still carry on basic conversations with eachother.

It has been very useful on a couple social occasions where we have been around deaf people and were able to communicate with them. They seemed so happy to have someone who was not deaf that took the time to try and talk to them instead of just avoiding them like the plague.

My wife was also able to become friends with another young mom who happened to be deaf.

Through the classes we took and from meeting some deaf people, we came to learn that alot of deaf people don’t view being deaf as a handicap, but just something that makes them different.

I highly recommend to anyone to at least learn some basic signing, as you never know when it may come in handy, or who’s day you may brighten by being able to communicate with them.


I’m hard of hearing but I’ve never learned sign language. Growing up my younger brother and I made up signs so we could talk anywhere though. I miss that. I miss him. He was the only person that completely understood me it seems. I’ve been considering taking classes to learn ASL mainly because my hearing is getting worse each year or so. I’m nearly completely deaf (to the point hearing aids don’t really work anymore) in my left ear and my right ear doesn’t seem far behind. At this point I’ve never really seen it as a handicap but more of an annoyance. It does at times get very frustrating, difficult and embarrassing dealing with people in public service. No one seems to understand that hard of hearing is not the same as ignoring. At times my teenagers seem to get frustrated with me as well. That has never been easy for me. I don’t like inconveniencing people but I get treated many times as if I am an inconvenience at schools, church, restaurants, stores, pharmacies, often dr offices as well. My kids step in to help and never complain, but the teenagers seem to be getting tired of me not hearing them sometimes. My audiologist is amazing and treats me so differently than most people have. I think I will ask her where to learn ASL. If you do decide to work as an interpreter or teacher or in some other way to help deaf and hard of hearing people, thank you. We need more people willing to do that. It’s quite difficult sometimes to live in a world set up for the hearing when most people won’t stop long enough to help you understand or try to understand you. Often we are the joke in movies or tv shows. Even on kids TV and movies! Often people think we are rudely ignoring them as well. Most insurance companies don’t cover hearing aids or other equipment to help us adapt to living in a hearing world. Most hearing aids don’t help as much as others think, but technology IS improving. Unfortunately prices make them out of budget for many that would benefit. I wasn’t able to get my first pair of GOOD hearing aids until my husband was active duty because Tricare covers them but when he retires they no longer will. They only cover for active duty and family members. Not sure what we will do when he retires yet. I’m thinking ASL is an important next step that may be the solution to that dilemma.

Thank you for posting this. It’s been helpful for me to ponder these things “out loud” I guess. And thank you for considering a life of service to those of us struggling to adapt in a hearing world. Young children often have behavior issues due to frustration because no one understands us and we can’t fully understand them either. Speech delayed children sometimes suffer with the behavior issues as well. I would learn towards helping them, but then again I have met many adults that have lost hearing suddenly and I think that may be harder in some ways. The fear they talk about I don’t remember experiencing. The sadness and confusion of going from hearing to suddenly not, needing to learn how to adapt later in life, maybe that is a group that is underserved. my grand parents met in a deaf school. They were abandoned there by their families in the early 1900’s. One was deaf at birth and the other lost hearing as an older teen due to scarlet fever. I’m so thankful that is no longer customary in the US. We aren’t defective or unworthy. Acceptance has come a long way. I appreciate you considering helping acceptance grow even more.

Thank you to the other posters as well that have worked with deaf/hard of hearing people.


I am authoring a book on the ‘mother school’ of the Tennessee School for the Deaf, which is now the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL). This past October, I led a tour of TSD faculty there. (I used to work in the building when it was leased to my employer). My contact for TSD is Catholic, and could probably be a big help to you. She took a student to Mass every Sunday for years when they decided to become Catholic. They took St Francis de Sales as their Confirmation patron.

Ask the intercession of St. Francis de Sales. He actually created his own sign language so he could evangelize the deaf.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a degree in something dealing with deafness. My son attends a community college, and while I was awaiting him (doing research for the book), the sign language interpreters would come into the counseling center.

If you’d like the contact information, please feel free to contact me via PM.



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