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What are the underlying thoughts of hearing people into the deaf world?

The present day context of perceptions towards the deaf community faces many oralist dispositions, which may alter how people behave towards deaf people, and how they interact with the deaf community. There is not a wide range of discourse surrounding this topic area, meaning that people do not have access to information surrounding the deaf community. The discourse that is available either promotes the ‘cure’ for it or details the history of the deaf community and its culture. It is knowledge of deaf history which may shift perceptions of the deaf community. If people have background knowledge of the history surrounding oralism and how it has shaped the modern day perspective of the deaf community, people’s perceptions may change.
In an attempt to uncover any underlying thoughts of hearing people towards the deaf community, I have used a word association norms test and included stimulus words which I deemed relevant in context of the deaf community. To collect data from the word associations norms test I have used six people who classed themselves as hearing signers, and six people who identified as hearing non-signers, all of whom were students and read aloud the word association list to participants. Classification for hearing signers was outlined on the consent form I provided to participants. This was participating in a formal course of BSL, coming from a CODA background, or having deaf relatives or friends.
The results revealed a mixed view of the deaf community. Not many of the stimulus words produced common answers, and the common answers that were found all shared consistently low percentages. The set of findings suggested that little is known about many aspects of the deaf community, and that there was a large collective gap in people’s frameworks. The use of the two separate groups may be responsible for such low percentages and the diversity of results. Therefore, outlining how opinions differ between people who possess knowledge to a certain degree surrounding discourse of the deaf community, compared to those who may not have been exposed to the same discourse. I feel that further research needs to be carried out in order to reveal a clearer glimpse as to the frameworks of a wider population. I also feel that a more diverse population should be researched. Other variables of the sample could be different ages and different educational backgrounds.