What does it feel like to be Deaf?


Sean Cosslett, Reporter

Hey y’all! You might know that I am the only Deaf student at Arapahoe High School. I wanted to inform you that being Deaf, and my deafness does not define me.

Today, our society inaccurately depicts the Deaf as incapable of doing anything because we are considered  “disabled.” I do not consider myself disabled and I have embraced it because I am capable of accomplishing many astonishing things.

I am involved in sports, clubs, community service, and am dependent on myself. Most of the Deaf are profoundly deaf, but some are able to hear a little,  and that includes me.

I interviewed senior Juan Salgado, from Minnesota, currently attending Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf.

Q: What does it feel to be like Deaf?

A: Extraordinary, the world is completely silent. It is peaceful, I can’t hear anything such as traffic, baby crying, annoying noisy and it is really quiet world for the Deaf people.

Q: What is your definition of Deaf?

A: A person who is capable of anything but unable to hear much as hearing person do.

Q: What do you want the hearing society to know about Deaf society?

A: Never underestimate what Deaf people can do, there is millions of us. We have thousands of Deaf communities and a beautiful visual language.  

“Over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people  has disabling hearing loss,” said the World Health Organization (WHO). Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, diseases, chronic ear infections, exposure to excessive noises, and aging.

Today, millions of people who were born Deaf or Hard of Hearing experience language deprivation. In the past, we were forced to oralism which means we had communicated by using speech and lip-reading. That is really difficult for many people, including me.

If you want to try a little experiment, buy ear muffs, try to communicate by lip-reading for a day, and you will get a taste of language deprivation.

The best option to access communication is American Sign Language (ASL). It is a visual language which involves moving the hands combined with facial expressions and body gesture. Yes, American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a language because it is commonly used by Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in order to comfortably communicate. American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most used language in the U.S, after English and Spanish.

Today, I have decided to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to over 200 students at Arapahoe High School from my freshman to junior years. I want to spread more knowledge about Deaf cultures and its beautiful visual languages to everyone.

Despite the fact that I am an uncertified ASL teacher at Arapahoe High School, I still try my best to teach ASL to my peers daily. This also creates more diversity at our school. In the future, my legacy for Arapahoe High School will be to establish American Sign Language as an official foreign language classes.