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Why "Deaf and Dumb?"

By July 18, 2005

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I just want too know why its called Deaf,Dumd, and blind? yes we may be deaf or blind but dumd I dont think so. I'm deaf but I sure am not dumb and I dont really think any one is, we may not hear you or see you but we know all too well whats going. Can someone tell me this.

October 12, 2006 at 11:15 pm
(1) bintoro says:

When you are not hearing well, communication will be the problems. You are not sure what you should communicate. And the most terrible is you’re lack of your confidence. Not quickly responding to questions..to much effort for “lips reading”…Perhaps seem to be “dumb like”. I know and feel that you must be very tired.. People don’t know all of this until you fight yourself. We may have similar “perfect ears”..but not all are in “perfect hearing”. Hope a better life with a good hearing aids at affordable price for human beings.

April 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm
(2) J says:

In the phrase “deaf and dumb,” the workd “dumb” does not mean “stupid,” but rather “unable to speak.” This was the earliest meaning of the word “dumb,” as in “struck dumb,” or “dumb animals.” Although it is an archaic phrase that deaf people apparently now find offensive, both because the deaf are not necessarily unable to speak, and because of the newer slang meaning of “dumb” as a synonym for “stupid,” the phrase was not original an insult or an accusation of stupidity.

June 16, 2008 at 6:53 am
(3) lilg says:

hey bintoro, u are so stupid and one-minded! deaf people CAN communicate thu sign- languge, you dont need to hear to communicate.
seriously dude if u were in a deaf club and couldnt communicate thu ur hands to them dosnt mean ur stupid (even tho i think u are) u just cant communicate the way they do! thats all!!
got nothing to do with mental ability

also hearing aids is not the onli answer, u can still live without hearing.. both my parents are deaf and they raised me fine, my dads a tradesman for 18yrz, drives, does all the normal stuff and is not restricted by his hearing.

i dont understand y people think because deaf ppl cant hear they are automatically dumb.. itz just not tru!

oh and the word ‘dumb’ has always ment not intelligent and was and still is offencive if u lable any1 ‘dumb’ and wen ppl call deaf, dumb should b bashed :D or sunfin like tht

August 20, 2008 at 3:07 am
(4) billie says:

sorry but i agree , you deafies think we have to sign or should learn singn just to communicate with you .The minute u dissagree with us ,you think u are going to punish us by taking off your hearing aids and “protest your rights for the deaf” whoo hoo! well u are only punishing yourselves.u cant expect us to just get with your sign language and “deal with it ” when u refuse to go along and “deal with ” the hearing world who doesnt sign and not use your voice! and that includes little kids .thats just hypocritical B.S.it is a dumb thing to do . you also never truly speak an english language when u talk so its like talking to an illiterate person. for a deafie to call us low educated because we actually pay attention to what is said is just downright prejuduced . deafies are ot to be trusted u guys , they are dishonest, lying ,decietful and disrespectful thieves.never trust a deafie to be friends with u , they like to just use you for drugs , money , a way to get hearing people to communicate with them and for sex! they are even ill educated about sex and think that herpes cant be spread if they dont have an outbreak ,so theycover up that bit of info by lying to u and telling u they dont have it . nasty ppl!

September 18, 2008 at 9:38 pm
(5) b-rock says:

ok so “billie says” YOU HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS!” whatever you think about deaf people is so wrong! the only difference between you and a deaf person is that you can hear and they cant! which when you really think about it….not a big deal!and what you ssid about them speakig differently is true but thats only because that is their grammar.im a christian and i truly believe that no matter what you look like or can and cannot do really makes no difference. so get a clue and dont treat them any differently than you would anyone else.

October 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm
(6) J_Diamond says:

Billie…. You are a lowlife..
Deaf is Deaf.. Nothing more then sumbody without hearing… not dumb nor any other DISGUSTING name you would like to use… Its unfortunate that these ppl have lost there hearing or for that fact born without hearing.. but thats who they are!! And they are Amazing people..!! It really disgusts me that there are people like you out there.. just a lowlife with nothing better to do.. The deaf community might be without sound.. but atleist they have a brain.. sadly you are without one.. get a clue.. grow up!

December 3, 2008 at 2:24 am
(7) for the deaf says:

billie…you’re the one who is dumb…you can’t even spell SIGN! i bet you can’t even learn even one sign language!

December 3, 2008 at 2:29 am
(8) stupid billie says:

poor billie! you sound like deaf people chose to lose their hearing for the sake of losing it…if i had one wish i would wish you lose your hearing and your sight, but i don’t have a wish so we are just going to have to deal with the fact that there are low-life idiots like you. i’m sure your mom wished she never had you!

December 3, 2008 at 6:54 am
(9) Mary says:

I just lost my hearing a few years ago. No wonder I am having such a hard time with my friends and Family… they all think I’m some low life, a whore, and a thief??? Just because I can’t hear? All I want is for them to communicate with me. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. They don’t have a problem communicating when they want something. I can’t get an implant. Hearing aids will not work for me.

December 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm
(10) Mike says:

I don’t think any of you get deaf people. I have been around and will be around deaf people for the rest of my life. I have two deaf parents and one deaf older sister. I think It’s amazing to be around deaf people. Many of my friends think it is interesting that I live with them. They want to know sign language. They ask me questions about them all the time.

So some of you are right and some of you are wrong…

April 15, 2009 at 12:25 am
(11) Mike says:

Deaf and Dumb is an archaic phrase that means that the person can’t hear nor can he or she speak.

If you want to look up the definition of dumb yourself here is a link.


September 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm
(12) Bear says:

I think the majority of the people on this forum are ignorant. There are more misspellings in 7 posts than I have seen in many years.
Not only is there ignorance, but intolerance as well. Speaking the way you have about a culture you know nothing about says much about our society, and I am ashamed to be a part of it. Show some respect and familiarize yourself with something besides Greys Anatomy and Melrose Place.

July 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm
(13) ASL interpreter says:

Thank you Mike!

February 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm
(14) Melissa D says:

Billie..you must have met wrong deaf people, Those deaf group might using drugs, using for sex, money etc. But there’s more plenty of good deaf people out there, including myself. I never using drugs EVER in my life. I am clean. I have 2 deaf kids and I am deaf too. I never steal anything in my life. Even I never use people money. I always loan them with my money. I tend help hearing and deaf people.

Also, why we deaf have to get surgery to get implant cochlear, or wear hearing aids, have speech class to learn how to talk etc…to try to be same as you hearing people and can have communication with you people. that’s worst than have hearing people learn signs. You don’t understand how we deaf people feel. We just born that way to can’t hear..we can’t help it. So we have to get surgery, fix, hearing aids (expensive!), etc..cuz there’s too many hearing people in the world. We tried to communication with them, we don’t required them to learn signs. IF you dont want to learn signs, that’s fine. u don’t have to be friends with deaf people. we have plenty of other people who motived to learn signs, good patience with eachother.

Don’t judge us deaf people like that, because it’s not EVEN true..That’s way off point! I do nothing wrong to you.

February 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(15) Jess says:

“Deaf and Dumb” is a term used frequently in poetry and literature to indicate that someone is dead. It has no real reference to living people unable to speak.

In literature a dead person is “Deaf and Dumb” because there is no longer any way for them to communicate through their body.

June 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm
(16) Jake Murray e says:

Hi there Billie, I disagree everything that you have just said. How you know what deaf people are like if you haven’t met a deaf person before, I guess that you don’t understand deaf aware. Hearing and deaf people have same life opportunities but different ways to communicate. Maybe you don’t want to be involved in the deaf world because your are   not worth the bother because of your negative attitude. Imagine if you were deaf, and someone automatically says your a stupid lying thief, they haven’t had the chance to get to know you but refereed you as stupid lying theif simply because of your disability. Yes some people maybe have good english because two different languages British sign language and most first language bsl making deaf people feel frustration due to use bsl the same way they write or speak english . I know you are going to ignore this comment Billie because apparently because I’m deaf, I’m dumb, I’m stupid, I’m a thief , I’m a lier.  Ever thought you might be those things? Guess not. Have a good life you silly boy :-D
Wee lesson for you, don’t judge people before you get to know them. Seriously. You probably will regret what you have just said. And you will regret it one day.

Deaf people will feel

Change What
Change Different
Change Attitude 
Change Education 
Change Emotion
Change Identity
Change Struggle
Change Teacher
Change Language
Change Effect 
Change Hair
Change Cochlear
Change Community 
Change Position
Change Communication 
Change Independence 
Change Me
Change You
Change Them
Change Everything
Change NOTHING!!!!!!!!

March 27, 2012 at 4:53 am
(17) Laurie says:

I cannot believe how close minded some people can be. Up until 8 years ago, I had perfect hearing in both ears. Because of an inner ear disorder, the hearing in my right ear has decreased by 70 percent, making it almost impossible to interpret words when they are spoken to me. I thank God every day for the perfect hearing in my left ear and have learned to deal with what I have been given. Two of my cousins are deaf and I can empathize with them and anyone else with a hearing disorder or total loss. But, I do not expect anyone to change their way of life or to learn any coping skills or techniques to be able to speak with me. My family and friends deal with my hearing loss and practice lots of patience when we communicate. I have learned that by lookiing directly at the person speaking to me, I can actually read their lips. Deaf people or those of us suffering from a partial hearing loss, aren’t any different. If anything. we have an advantage over those that have perfect hearing because many things that are spoken by rude people are better left unheard.

March 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm
(18) yobro says:

Looks like one person who is a bigoted idiot or a callous wind-up artist/ troll hijacked this thread. The answer is of course as J and others said: dumb originally meant unable to speak, the usual fate of congentally deaf people before sign language, hearing aids and other interventions, That the word as come to mean stupid is a testament to (a) prejudice against the hearing-impaired, (b) an expression of the importance of spoken speech in people’s idea of intelligence and/or (c) a mutation of the expression “dumb animals” (speechless of course was the original meaning of this).

Nowadays there is no excuse to call anyone deaf and dumb since most people can communicate one way or another, and I am sure that it is hurtful. Still, the person who asked the question could have done a little research before doing so. Words themselves are not guilty (people who use them are) and it pays to understand their origins.

BTW, deaf-mute is a more accurate and (I imagine) slightly more acceptable term for hearing-impaired people who cannot use the spoken word.

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