Misconceptions of the Deaf: Giving voice to the voiceless

D. R. Terry, Q. Lê, H. B. Nguyen, C. Malatzky



The Deaf usually do not see themselves as having a disability; however, discourses and social stereotyping continue to portray the Deaf rather negatively. These discourses may lead to misconceptions, prejudice and possibly discrimination. A study was conducted to identify the challenges members of the Deaf community experience accessing quality health care in a small Island state of Australia. Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with service providers and the Deaf community. Audist discourses of deafness as deficiency, disability and disease remain dominant in contemporary society and are inconsistency with the Deaf community’s own perception of their reality. Despite the dominant constructions of deafness and their affect on the Deaf’s experience of health service provision, many Deaf have developed skills, confidence and resilience to live in the hearing world. The Deaf were pushing back on discourses that construct deafness as a disempowering impairment.


Health; medical; Deaf; misconceptions; assumptions

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2017.211


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