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By Jamie BerkeDecember 17, 2006
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Gimpp99 asks on the forum, "What about those persons who can hear but have no voice? Why do you never hear about them? I have a best friend who is mute..."
Related: Nonverbal sign language users
Well, I would say I am mute because I am lucky enough to be able to hear some, but I cannot talk at least I do talk when I want to and I am told I can speak, but I ll say this I am so proud to be deaf, and I am so lucky and grateful I can hear even if it s not perfect at least I can enjoy music and be able to hear my daugher s voice, only if I listen carefully or with my hearing aid. For your Information, No one want to be called a mute, that is such a old old word and such an insult, why not use a better word by saying Hard of Hearing , it may means one can hear but cannot speak too well. Be cautious on how u use the word of mute these days, We are too far from 1800′s and Mute is not acceptable in our deaf world. I ll say she is hard of hearing means she is lucky enough to be able to talk and not hear like me. I dance to music so wonderfully and I am a nurse and I was asked how do I manage it, I ll say I am so patience that I just read lips so well and I learn to balance the ability to be able to hear by wearing my hearing aid, not too often, we just gain so much sensitivity of feeling things. Once we lose our hearing, We gain so much in other senses in other area that our balance seem so coorinated. so Dont dare to use the word such as Mute, it is like using an N in calling black people, or such. So Take that word out of your mind and never use it again. We will all appericate that so much. For a example, would it be nice to call a cripple a cripple? I wouldnt, I would call them different and brave and challenged who manage to live more harder and still normal like we all are.
Christina, I believe that Jamie actually was talking about people who literally do not have a voice. Like if they even wanted to make some sound, any sound, they couldn’t because they had no voice at all in the first place.
Deaf people are obviously not mute. We can use our voice. We can laugh loudly, and speak to a certain degree if we desire to, never mind if it makes sense or not. We have a voice that is produced by the larynx (voice box).
She wasn’t referring to Deaf people or HOH people and using “deaf and mute” label. She was referring to people who have no voice for whatever reasons, i would assume they lacked a larynx? I don’t know too much. I actually never thought about that before, I have never met a mute person as far as I know.
I had a larynx (voice box) Cancer.
I took treatment and due to treatment I lost speeach all of sudden for couple of days and slowly it come back and started to speak slowly.At any time speeach go away and dont know when it back may be 10 days or 15 days.
I don’t mind what people call for it.I am using my cell phone to type communication.I am not using cell phone for vocal comunication even after voice come back for few dys.
I can hear well and understand well.When my speach come back which not loud enough to let the people here straight.
I am looking for some kind of practical instrument to write and show the people and they reply i can here so i understand what they are telling.My voice come and go . I need help. Currently I always use pen and note book.I am looking for good instrument so my handwritting can be well print on screen and other people do not have problem for my hand writting.
I agree, mute people are so rare, and you don’t always recognize it, as you might think they are just shy or whatever. I met one young girl who was mute, she could hear fine, she wasn’t deaf or hard of hearing. She just wouldn’t talk. I think it was psychological? Anyway, they taught her signs so that she would still be able to communicate. I’m not sure what to call her other than mute. “She doesn’t talk” sounds like a much worse label.
I had a friend ages ago who was completely hearing, but she was unable to speak clearly. In her case, she preferred the term “speech impaired” rather than the term mute. My friend had a brain tumor when she was younger. She was supposed to die during her teens, but they did some operations and she survived. She is a bright woman who has learned several different languages, including English, American Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, Japanese, and German. But between the damage done by the brain tumor itself and the damage done by the operations (sometimes you have to cut through healthy tissue in order to get out all the cancerous tissue) she was left with some learning disabilities in math, and she also was left with speech impairments because the speech center in her brain was damaged. She can make noises and speak some, but people don’t always understand her voice. Also, her control over her voice comes and goes–sometimes it will seem to be okay enough to get by on (albeit imperfectly), then five minutes later her voice becomes unintelligible.
I also met another speech impaired/mute woman (in her case, she seemed to be comfortable with either term) who was in a car accident that, among other things, damaged some of the nerves that control her tongue and facial muscles.
Both of these women learned ASL and joined the deaf community even though they are both hearing. They feel more comfortable being around people who will understand them when they use ASL. Makes sense, eh? But I’m sure there are other people with speech impairments who never learn sign language and never join the deaf community in any way.
Oh: I also once, briefly, met a deaf girl who had a trachea implant. There are I think a few thousand people in the United States who have to breathe through a special tube inserted in their trachea instead of through their nose or mouth (usually I think after some serious injury). Most are hearing, though the girl I met just happened to be deaf.
Someone else earlier mentioned psychological reasons for not speaking. That can happen too, I think usually with children. Though there are ways to get them to speak again with the right treatment.
Probably the reason you usually don’t hear as much about hearing people with speech impairments is because that’s far more rare than deaf or hard of hearing people.
Hello, Everybody! Whoa! I don’t think about MUTE words in my lifetime period, So, Most of times, I see what Deaf people feeling about MUTE. OK, Right now, We(Deafies) do not like that way someone say Deaf and Mute, no way! Just say Hearing Impaired or Deaf, in nice mannerly as u talk out to whoes. In my thinking, Mute did not make me feel that I can’t talk to anyone, I can talk out with my hands for words, I am profound deaf only in my hearing family, my family understand how I express my feeling or I am trying to express words out to talk with my hands like My Native language is ASL, But we do read and write English. Also, Don’t JUDGE on Deaf people with low ficitonly like severe mental Retardation. They has a hard time to try to write out Enlgish clear, still had habit to write out ASL, Deafies Can’t help with ENGLSIH THANK GOD made US that way we born! No matter on how Deafies are smart or not, I know some hearing people dont read and write english, but, hearing people do good on talking, HUH? I never tell them DUMB at all, I have a cousim has MENTAL RETARDATION (Down’s Snydrome), HUH!?! I am glad with my cousin and my family, and My family has many different diablitiy like blind, deaf, deafblind, others, and etc.
Ron, maybe you have the wrong idea, huh? Did you know that some Deaf persons have families that think that Deaf is the same as mentally retarded? And besides that, if a hearing person is uneducated, they aren’t going to read or write well. Some Deaf persons asked me about this and I informed them that most uneducated hearing people don’t speak well at all and don’t know many words. Some people, Deaf or hearing, have a reading disability called Dyslexia and need extra classes for it, that’s all. Ron, you’re lucky to have a family that accepts you for Deaf. I know of some very profoundly deaf but learned a few words and his family laughed at him and the others ignored him. I was shocked and tried to tell him not to worry. They don’t want him to talk now because they need to reinforce their idea that Deaf is the same as mentally retarded. They also think that ASL is only for Deaf persons and they don’t need to learn it. That way, they can always tell themselves whatever they want it to be that their Deaf relative is saying to them and order his life around and make him fear the hearing world and always trick him. To me, that is a form of cruelty and abuse and it will be a good day when Deaf persons who are subjected to that understand that they deserve better treatment and understanding from family members and they don’t have to put up with it. They have a right to feel frustrated and that something is not right. I can talk and I tell people exactly what they need to be told. If they can’t understand what it is to be Deaf or HOH, that is their problem only. And one more thing, an educated HOH or Deaf person that can talk can talk better than an uneducated hearing person. When people assume you can hear as much as you can talk, that’s always a problem. And I have met some Deaf persons that are just mean and hateful because a HOH or Deaf person can talk. So, it actually depends on the person and their environment.
Hello everyone, I was born hearing and speaking. I actually have recited and sang both solo and in choirs from the age of 7. But in 2004 I contracted cancer of the Larynx, a very rare caner, that only ate away at my vocal cords and did not and will not spread anywhere else in my throat. I was told I would never be able to speak again but I would still be hearing. I underwent extensive radiotherapy and was blessed by the Lord and retained my speach. But I was extremely one of the lucky ones. There are many thousands of people who experience throat cancer and lose the use of their voice. I have just completed studying Certificate 11 in Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) and have enjoyed every moment of my studies, which included Deaf Culture and Histroy. You see, the fact is if the cancer comes back to the treated area there is nothing that can be done. My treatment was a one and only once in a life time treatment. I am not afraid of losing my voice but I am afraid of not being fully accepted into a community such as the Deaf community because I am hearing. My only form of communication if this happens will be AUSLAN, finger spelling or writing on paper.
So yes, I do agree that ‘mute’ or non-speaking people have many disadvantages to face through life.
Take care and Merry Christmas.
The main question asked about those who are mute, who cant talk for various reasons. ASL has been primarily focused on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing but this individual is asking about those who have difficulties in voicing that has nothing to do with hearing challanges. Mute means silent; not speaking; voluntarily silent; They all need recognized too as needing to learn a language to be able to communicate. Im learning ASL from a college and Im leaning towards wanting to teach to anyone that needs or wants to learn. THis would include those that cant verbalize (but can hear) so they have that capability to communicate. I feel that communication is vital with any individual. Those with learning disabilities, hearing, non-hearing, mute or even children that may have had some trama and are afraid to speak. Communication for all is necessary.
I’ve asked some mute persons how it is to be hearing but not speaking. Apparently, it’s easier to let Deaf persons think that the hearing is minimal, which is the general idea of why a person doesn’t speak. Amongst the Deaf community there are various degrees of hearing. It’s as difficult for hearing but non-speaking persons to shop at a store as it is for Deaf persons, for instance, and they try to communicate without ASL being understood. Hearing persons also assume that the non-speaking person is also Deaf. When in groups of Deaf persons and informing them that you can hear but not speak, the general idea is “sure you can” and they will point out a Deaf person who can also “hear”. A mute person who can hear but not speak is accepted into the Deaf community quicker than a HOH person that can speak to any degree. The HOH person that can speak understandably well is often perceived by Deaf persons as “hearing”.
My 11-year-old grandson has Down Syndrome. He hears perfectly but cannot communicate with actual words – he jabbers nonsense (nonsense to us, but it is not nonsense to him), uses word approximations, gestures, and taking you where he wants you to go. He is quite successful with these tools, but I am learning ASL and am determined he will too so that he will be able to communicate. Communicating effectively is a right of every person.
My 3 year old daughter has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and is completely non-verbal (please consider that term as a replacement for “mute”). Like the 11 year old with Down mentioned, she can babble, but has little chance of forming words. Some with her syndrome defy odds and learn to speak, but in these cases, it is common for that ability to speak to very abruptly stop one day. For this reason it is critical that we adopt alternative means of communication now – ASL. However, we run into a lot of challenge with this. She is NOT considered a client of our local Deaf and HOH center and they will not budge on their stance that we don’t qualify for ANY assistance in learning ASL. So we are in limbo. She is not part of the speaking community and she is not part of the deaf community. It is heartbreaking that her need to communicate is simply not considered in our world today. My dream and my fight is to find a place for my daughter and people like her in the world.
Maybe you could try your local university in the Language Department or phone the audiology department and ask about some assistance. Since your daughter isn’t Deaf or HOH, your local Deaf community school won’t sponsor the costs. But maybe the university knows how to go about getting the ASL education paid for.
Addie’s Mom: I know your feeling – if my grandson had even a slight hearing loss, he would have an interpretor and would learn sign language. Luckily, his teachers at school, with much prodding from his mother and me, have become interested in using sign language (this is in his special ed class) so use it during the day with all the special needs children.
I have found that lately my grandson is using it more to tell me things – not a lot but two or three signs at a time. Usually when I try to sign and he doesn’t want to he will turn his head away; but now I have taken to telling him that I am going to only sign to him and not speak, and like a miracle, he will turn to me and watch what I am signing and respond with a nod or “no” (which is his only word that is completely clear!). I feel like I am making progress with him. I will be going to Gallaudet this summer for a class (my second one) to see if I can become more fluent in ASL. Good luck to you and your daughter.
Some people can hear, and cannot speak, because their larynx is damaged. Therefore, they are ‘mute’.
What sign would you use for those people? I have noticed that in ASL (I am from another country, using another SL), you use a sign like ‘speaking’ for a hearing person … And the ASL sign for ‘deaf’ may be seen by a foreinger like myself as ‘deaf-mute’. In our sign language, the deaf are ‘deaf’, and the hearing are ‘hearing’ and the mute are ‘mute’.
My experience has been that many people who have been born non-verbal were automatically considered mentally retarded simply because they couldnt communicate and all the tests were for those who could speak.If you couldnt speak then you were “untestable” and promptly labeled. I would like to see more advocacy for people like these who have been trapped into the system. No one knows who they are because staff can’t relay to others outside the system what their needs are i.e. to communicate. It would be great if there would be more Deaf who would be willing to work with older “mentally handicapped” non-verbal people -teach them sign language and see how well they can communicate. Many agencies refuse to even consider making devices available to nonverbal people who have spent their entire lives in institutions. The reason that you dont see them is because they are stuck in group homes and rarely given the opportunity to actually participate in society or even taken to Deaf events so that they can see that sign language IS a language. Not just a few words they are required to use to get their basic needs met.
I have a cousin who can hear fine, but because she has “Lou Gehrig’s disease” (also called “ALS”, can you believe it? It stands for “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”). Her nerves are slowly losing their ability to work. In my cousin’s case, she lost the ability to speak first. Now, her balance is starting to go away and she has started to fall sometimes. In her case, she is “mute” or “non-verbal”. I’ve taught her a few ASL words and she would love to learn more. For those of you who want to find more signs, check out http://www.asluniversity.com. For those of you who who are interested in Deaf Culture, look into http://www.aslpah.com.
I think the same thing. I hear everyone talking about deaf people yet nothing about mutes. I have a friend that was born unable to speak. He can hear just fine and everything but he finds himself handicapped. It hurts alot that he thinks so low of himself just because he cant speak. I didn’t know mute people were so rare. His “voicebox” is broken and his vocalcords are crossed. Ours are like this III and his are like this XXX they cross ours arent. So he can never speak and they don’t have a surgery that can fix any of it. He’s a great guy though.
Thanks to all for your stories. I am working in a proyect about people that can not speak due to phychological traumas suffered when they were children. If you know any case,and you would like people to know, I would really appreciate if you share your experience or story with us. thanks
Hi, I am currently writing a novel which is the story of a girl who cannot speak. i was really interested to read all the posts on the subject and would be grateful to hear from anyone if there is more to say or to have contact with anyone in this situation who would like to tell their story in order to help with mine. Part of the reason for my novel is that the world seems unaware of the difficulties faced by the hearing who are unable to speak, they don’t seem to qualify for the assistance and support that other people do even though they face so many challenges. I would like my novel to raise awareness about this issue.
Hi. I think I have suffered some damage to my speech centers and even though I capable mentally of forming sentances I have difficulties speaking. When I do, I experience a neurological discomfort or disorientation. So I have thought about going non-verbal altogether. Perhaps that would mean carrying around a pad and pen with me. It’s almost got to that point. I am a skilled drafting technician and I have been considering applying for a position as a non-verbal. I don’t have a diagnosis of having a speech impairment but I was curious if anyone has any clues as to how I would validate my condition without the proper diagnosis paperwork? It I say “I don’t talk” sooner or later it may seem like a facade.
I am in love with a person who cannot speak. i am against the word mute because no matter if words cannot come outta of someones mouth they still have a lot to say and they express themselves in ways we cannot imagine. This person makes me cry all the time becuz this person tells me that it’s differently and I never give this person a reason to be. Other people however, give this person xxxx about it and this person just tends to smile becuz this person is a people pleaser.
(sorry I keep saying “this person” i just dont give out information on the internet)
I am a 46 yr old women, who is having sugery that will leave me with out a voice. I may be able to speak small word or sentence but I will be able to hear. I just started taking ASL classes. I not sure how to handle tell people what is going to happen to me or should I change the people I hang around to learn more sign language. Any comments will help
hello everyone. i think i might have a solution for the “nonverbal”. but plz let me put my thoughts in order. i am not non verbal or deaf, neither do i know anyone who is in my acquaintances, that’s why i was very glad i found this page. i’m actually a musician who got hit by an idea of a device that can talk, and which is more developed than what already exists, as far as my researches have shown me. but i need more opinions. devices that already exist use typing then turning it into synthesized speech, while mine uses more realtime outcome. however, my problem, or one of my many, is that i’m not sure if there are nonverbals who CAN hear, and if there are enough to form a market for a device such as this (and which shouldn’t cost much to manufacture, in my opinion). and if there is someone interested in manufacturng and marketing in my surrounding. we don’t have much of a research lab in my coutry (lebanon), and i’m no scientist or anything, but i’m into technology and am familiar with some basic concepts. however, the design and engineering is not a problem, but what i’m short on knowing is the number of people with such a case, and the devices they already use, maybe it will help me in my researches to know what state of the art means of communcation there are, besides ASL. so i would love it if you people would share your knowledge with me, ’cause i can’t do it by myself, so plz email me for more information or for your nformational contributions at MOSTOPHIL@HOTMAIL.COM, hopefully my invention will work and help people with this case. p.s. i can’t give much description of the device, i don’t want any one to steel my idea! thank you all.
Hello, i was wondering if anyone knew hoqw many people worldwide are mute?
I have come across a software program called Screaming Bee that has a plug in that converts text-voice and allows you to type text messages to your friends over voice clients such as Ventrilo, MSN, Skype, Soft-phone. It can also be used with in-game voice systems such as World of Warcraft Voice Chat, Lord of the Rings Online, Counter-Strike, Second Life, and more.
Check it out at URL http://www.screamingbee.com/product/TextToVoIPPlugin.aspx
i am rendered mute after having had several surgical procedures on my vocal cords.
i am very uncomfortable around people that think i’m very strange for not speaking when i make gestures pointing to my throat… it should be obvious that, “Oh, this person might have a speach problem.”
i feel that most people are self-centered, stupid dumb-asses… and i probably shouldn’t want to speak to them, even if i could!
you may think, “Oh, he’s bitter,” and you may be right! but imagine not being able to do activities of daily living, like banking, making doctor’s appointments, calling the DMV, calling one’s credit card company, et cetera, because you are mute!
it would be easy for me to begin a passive-agressive campaign against society because… YES, I’M BITTER!
my voice is barely a whisper, but it’s a funny thing that at least i can “meow” like a cat!
Meow, Meow, Meow!!!!
I am becoming speech-impaired (I like that wording). In the middle of May this year I lost my voice. After several trips to the Dr and to a specialist, it was determined that my inability to speak above a whisper was due to Allergies, Asthma and recurring Tonsillitis. I’ve been on job short term disability since then. My Specialist is at a loss why some days my voice will be 85% back only to disappear again for a week or more. She is not sure if it is a degenerative problem only that it is not getting better. I only know that my throat always feels like it is half closed and speaking is sometimes difficult to impossible. I’m learning ASL primarily to “sing” again in church. What’s been fun is that others have been watching me and have asked me to teach them ASL. We now meet once a week and learn together.
I’ve been unsuccessful, also, in finding any speech-impaired info on the internet. It all comes back to the definition of “Mute”. I’m also finding it hard to find a new job where I’m not “required” to talk more than one hour per shift.
Thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents.
Well, I put off my surgery for a while had it done 3 months ago, I can hear but speak very little 2-3 words at a time if lucky sometime non. I doing this time lost my boyfriend and lots of so called friends. Noone from my pass wants to hang around a person who can’t speak. My boyfriend said it difficult to communcate with me when I have to say something or try to talk with him. It is a hard thing to get over being like this. It my life and this is how I have to live from now on. I read a lot of the comments but not much about dealing with people of hearing and speaking community. Have big problems at stores or getting take out. People stare at u alot and then they act like u stupid. It makes me mad cause I neither one. I am nurse and now may have to go on disability cause my job is a speaking job. What else am I going to lose being like this?
I have begun to become speech deprived. I severely damaged my voice by going out and talking and yelling. I have went to a lot of doctors and they are all stumped. I can talk at a tone that is so low you have to put your ear to my mouth and listen close…. even then you won’t catch everything. I am 23 and in college. I try to speak and push out words but all that comes out is a squeaky shrill loud mess. I still don’t know whats wrong and the specialists won’t diagnose me yet but it has been 10 months sense i have been able to talk. I am close to accepting my entry into the “speech-impaired” community but I don’t want to lose so much seeing that I have lost so much already. The worst part is that my parents think im f**k*** with them, and I can’t even talk to my girlfriend. She is understanding because of how much it hurts when i really try to talk. If if force out a word or sentence it brings on a gag reflex. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know any hearing or speech impaired people and don’t know asl. It has been ok so far because i work through email…but my social life is slacking off and i used to be known for my speaking ability.
I am hoping I can offer two different perspectives here. I became non-verbal as a result of damage to the part of my brain that allows me to produce speech. I developed a very close friendship with someone who has been unable to speak since birth. In her case, it was a combination of neurology and anatomy that prevented her from speaking.
Anyway, I do not consider myself to be mute, though technically I suppose that term fits. I prefer “non-verbal.” My friend also prefers the term “non-verbal.” Both of us have a lot of friends in the deaf community simply because they are most familiar with the language we do speak. We also, however, have lots of hearing friends. Some learn to at least fingerspell, and if they are around us enough, they begin to understand more and more sign language. It’s kind of like a giant game of Guesstures at first with each new person. The important, thing, however, is that people care enough to WANT to know what you are thinking or feeling. We can always resort to the computer to send IM’s or have someone read over our shoulder if they are in the same room. There is a free program called e-triloquist that gives a “voice” when needed. In social settings where I don’t know a lot of people, I will often carry index cards with common phrases, as well as some fingerspelling cards. The bottom line is that being non-verbal doesn’t mean being a non-participant. It means participating differently.
I think Marq made some good points about the changes that being non-verbal creates. My friend is often much more comfortable with her lack of verbal ability because she has never known what it means to speak. Losing that ability later in life means changing what you have always known. Think drive-thru… cell phone… airport check-in, etc. The changes, as opposed to being born that way, create the necessity for a grieving process for what was lost. And I still do crazy things when I am busy sometimes like pick up the phone that is ringing before I realize. Old habits die hard!
Eventually, as with all grief processes, you reach the point of acceptance. You spend your time learning how to make the most of what you DO have, instead of obsessing over what you no longer have. Being non-verbal makes you different than most of the population… and in that sense, you are not “normal.” But as my good friend always says – “why would you want to be normal? that is setting your sights way too low!”
Cheers to all!
I came to this site because I’m reading the most remarkable book. It is about a family who has a son who can hear but can not speak. I’m 74 years old, a retired executive, and I had never heard of a person like this. I come to this site to see if there are indeed people who can hear, but for whatever reason cannot speak. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I love this central character. At one point, he tries to call the ambulance when his father suffers a fatal stroke, but cannot tell the operator where he is or what has happened. He winds up destroying the phone handset. It’s an interesting book, focusing not only on this young man but on his family’s dog raising business. The name of the book is Edgar Sawtelle.
WOW u guys are cool (not)
Um… i’m writing a book (just for fun, no reason really, please don’t be offended if you are) on a girl who can’t talk. i was just wondering a few things like what % of the population are born not being able to talk. i have a friend who is really sweet and can’t talk. She was born not being able to. there is sometnig wrong with her larynx (“voicebox” as some people call it). She knows ASL but i only know a few things and the alphabet, she usually has to write alot of stuff down. she carries around a small portable white board. i think it makes life easier for her. i was also wondering what sort of things got make you not be able to talk.
i do feel a little bad for her but when people tell her this she just tells them that you can’t miss what you never had.
Thanks for listening and i just wanted to know those few things.
Mute, speech impaired or non-verbal, what ever each individual feels more comfortable calling it, I personally don’t have a problem with using the word ‘mute’ to describe myself to others as I was born fully hearing but without a voice or vocal abilities. Sometimes I think life would probably be easier the other way around but it’s a part of me and I wouldn’t change it. I’m quite shy about getting involved in conversations since so many hearing people around me don’t know ASL and my experiences with the Deaf Community in places I’ve lived… haven’t been good ones. It’s one thing to be bullied by the hearing/speaking but also by the deaf, it’s left me very adrift with out a sense of belonging or common ground for much of my life.
My mother was never very positive or understanding and it wasn’t until I left and moved in with an older brother that I found acceptance. I live on my own now with a couple flat mates and work mostly in office and merchandising settings. I get by in the speaking world mostly with ASL, writing, txt and IMs. Sadly ASL not so much as I don’t run into many that know it or use it fluently though a co-worker or waitress surprises me every now and then.
I really wish there were more recourses and support for the Mute/speech impaired/non-verbal. Even though there are fewer of us then the Deaf/HOH, particularly at birth, I also wish that the speaking/hearing and Deaf/HOH communities would be more understanding of us.
I had a friend who was born speaking and hearing, and permanently lost his voice due to a medical condition. He could still laugh, sigh, cry, etc. but no noise would come out, only air.
A professor at school taught him sign language, and he found it much easier to communicate that way. He had friends, of course, who could not understand sign. He would get very frustrated and write things down for them, instead of trying to sign to them. Though they were very patient and understanding, he still found it much less stressful when he was able to use sign instead.
This is the perfect place for me to get this out, i am a mute, although i prefer the term nonverbal, mute is awfully harsh, i live in england and i just want you people reading this to know that if i could change i would, but i like life the way it is and i wouldnt change it, because of my unfortunate disability i have met many very close friends and i wish that the few people who think i am weird would get a life, so ppl, some time we nonverbal folkies have ways of bending around our problems and leaving them in the dust, also my nick name came about when i was being really badly bullied by some one and i bit back hard with a nasty punch that nearly knocked the stuffing ouut of him and my teacher said that i was as sweet as a rose but i had thorns!
oh and just so you ppl know, i am only fourteen so it is very hard for me in school, as i do go to a main stream school.
if any body wants 2 know more go to briarandtherose @ hotmail. com kk
Hello, I am writing on behalf of my wonderful 7 year old son who is non-verbal. I am sure that some of the other parents who will read this can understand what I am saying but we need to SPEAK UP for these kids. I have not found one other child like mine so of course when it was time to send him to school they sure in the hell didn’t know what to do with him, so they wanted to stick him in the special needs class-because they were sure that if he didn’t speak that he was also not able to learn like the other kids–Well just let me tell you how wrong they are! I will be honest and tell you that he does have some learning disabilities but not anything that could not be addressed in the regular classrooms with a little time and patience. That however is not what the public schools in our area obvisouly have in mind, so to make a long story short, we pulled him out of public school and are educating at home (thank god, grandma is a retired school teacher) Even though he is not in school, we keep him active in sports, community events and more. We make it a fact to let people know that he can hear you and that he does understand everything you say, he just isn’t able to verbally speak back to you, but he will respond through actions and through whatever sign-language he knows. He doesn’t have a problem letting you know what he wants, and believe me he knows what he wants. It has been nice to read all of the comments on this blog and to know that there are other people out there living full lives and overcoming the non-verbal label and what it bring with it.
We have a son who had encephalitis and can hear but cannot speak since 1 1/2 – he is now 14. We use SEE to sign with because we want him to be able to communicate in English. Signing Exact English (SEE) signs just as you and I in the speaking world speak. You add tenses and prefixes and suffixes just as we do in English. It has been great for him – our delimna comes in him learning to read. He has such trouble because he cannot speak and doesn’t have an intact “voice in the head” to sound things out. Any suggestions?
what about just mute people?
Hey, so I am writing a story about a girl who can’t talk, so she was born non-verbal. I was wondering if there are ways for people like my character to get surgeries/therapy to be able to start talking, or to be able to have some sort of voice.
i am interested in speech and language but cannot physically speak because of a cancer i had when i was small, if anyone knows of any means of communication better than paper and pen- bearing in mind i happen to be albino so my vision is very poor- please tell me
Madison: ASL. Sign language is a great way to communicate though even us ASLers will need to whip out a pen and paper or our PDA for those that don’t know the language.
well, it would be a brilliant idea but i cant learn ASL, it would have to be BSL, i’m english you see, but thankyou for the advice
I would just like to say I liked reading everyone’s comments.
I am can hear and I can speak but I am dyslexic and I have a speech impairment. I am just learning ASL with encouragement from my friends, who happen to be deaf. I have learned I feel more comfortable using ASL then speaking because when I do speak people try to correct me, which makes me annoyed and angry. I know in my mind how a word or letter should sound, but I cannot always make the correct sound, I know that the sound or way I say it is wrong, I don’t need people correcting me.
Using ASL, if I mess up and I am corrected, it’s because I’m just learning and not because of my impairment. It just makes me feel better then having to say “you don’t have to correct me, I have a speech impairment, I know what I am saying or trying to say.”
I always liked writing things a lot better then saying them, I grew up with 2 deaf friends, Josh and Katie, it was a lot more fun hanging out with them then my hearing friends.
Hi there! I’m hoping my ability to speak comes back–I had a cold about a week ago and it strained my vocal cords. I haven’t been able to ‘speak’ for about four days. My doctor has instructed me not to speak, not to whisper, not to cough or clear my throat to avoid traumatizing the vocal cords any more than they already are.
I’m not sure this really counts… but as a result I’m functioning in school and such as a ‘non-verbal’ person, which I’m finding actually very interesting and different than what I’m used to. I learned to fingerspell in fourth grade, for fun, ’cause it interested me. I’ve also lucked-out and found a ‘speaking’ friend who’s taking the time to learn to understand my fingerspelling.
We got this great reference-sheet from the university’s book store and it has a visual dictionary of the entire ASL alphabet on the front page, so I just had to be patient with her and sign very slowly so she could get what I was saying. She’s really picking it up, though(especially the common ones…)!
Of course, for more detailed stuff, I take out a notepad and write it, but I’m so glad to finally be using my fingerspelling–and that I don’t have to write everything! It’s so much fun, and makes me feel better to know I can communicate with someone if I don’t have a writing utensil or a piece of paper.
I hope I don’t seem offensive to any deaf, non-verbal or HOH people on here… I mean… because–hopefully my condition is only temporary, and everyone else on here probably has a permanent condition, so I wouldn’t wish to come across as daring to think I’m a part of the Deaf Community–I just like ASL.
I just want to express how glad I am that I know how to fingerspell. It has really helped in communication with friends(I just take really good notes in class, now, instead of ‘participating’ verbally, though).
Rambling is done, now. Thank you for taking the time to read my little comment! :3
Hope your speaking ability returns soon! Ironically, this coming week is Deaf Awareness Week, and you just “lived” the experience instead of simply learning about deafness.
Now, THAT is a great coincidence! Thanks for letting me know–and for ‘the hopes’~! <3 :3
aww i feel so jealous, you can talk and i cant, i’m curious to know how it feels to speak, i can sign and make mouth shapes, but sadly no sound, at all.
please tell me what its liek to speak
I just found this,I am looking because I am loseing my voice.I am to a point where communication with no
pencil and paper handy is hard….It is So frustrateing.I was always vocal.So far no doctor has told me why .I did get put on sinus meds and antibiotics.Nothing seems to help.
If I rest my voice too long,it’s hard to start..I crack make awefull noises.Not worth the looks sometimes.And people always not understanding me I have to have husband talk for me..Like i said i am loseing my ability to speak. If anyone else is? I would like to know if..well the reason you are.I go back to doctor weds 18th nov.09
I MET A 5 YEAR OLD GIRL TODAY, HELPING MY SONS KINDERGARTEN CLASS. TEACHER SAID SHE IS MUTE AND GOOD LUCK IF YOU CAN GET HER TO TALK. I NEVER MET A MUTE PERSON OR HEARD ANYONE CALL SOMEONE THAT IN MY LIFE AND WERE ACTUALLY SERIOUS ABOUT IT. MY HELPING WAS TO GO OVER SIGHT WORDS (SPELLING WORDS) WITH THE CHILDREN INDIVIDUALLY. WHEN I WORKED WITH HER, I AT FIRST TRIED TO GET HER TO SAY THE WORDS AND MAKE IT SEEM FUN AND NON-INTIMIDATING. I TRIED LITTLE EYE CONTACT THINKING SHE WAS JUST SHY. I TRIED TRICKING HER TO SAY THE LETTERS LIKE I DIDN’T KNOW MYSELF. SHE DID SPELL THE WORDS OUT USING TILES, WHICH TELLS ME SHE CAN HEAR AND KNOWS WHAT I AM SAYING. SHE WOULD SPELL THE WORD OUT WITHOUT EVEN SEEING IT JUST BY ME ASKING HER TO. SHE WAS VERY BRIGHT IT SEEMED BUT……SHE NEVER SPOKE. SHE SEEMED EAGER, FRIENDLY. BUT NOTHING CAME OUT. THEN AGAIN I ONLY SPENT ABOUT 10-15 MINUTES WITH HER. I AM NOW INTRIGUED BY THIS. WHAT IS MUTE REALLY? IS IT BY CHOICE OR IS IT PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE IN THIS CONDITION? ANYONE HAVE AN ANSWER?
Woh, Stef, ease off on the yelling. Though I’m sure many speaking people just joke that caps have the connotation of yelling but to the non-verbal it rings truer.
There are many reasons that a young child may not speak to anyone, particularly outside of the family. Shyness, nervousness, anxiety, intimidation, bullying, etc. There is a wider range of mental instances causing a perceived physical non-vocal ability, or delayed vocalization development, then physical impairment. Even a mental block causing non-verbal instances may seem like a choice to many it can in fact be very frustrating and hard to deal with for the person who is afflicted when they really do want to speak. Though it is not unheard of, it is extremely rare for someone to just wake up one morning and openly, and knowingly, make the choice to live the rest of their life as non-verbal. Those cases of free choice are one of the smallest fractions among the myriad of causes behind the already very low instances of the non-verbal population.
You could just gently ask the parent(s) of the child as I’m sure, with their daughter being the light of their life, they’ve put efforts into finding an answer/reason behind her behaviour/situation. Some parents, I’m sure, would be glad to educate others about particular types of conditions resulting in non-verbal persons to reduce any misconceptions and stereotyping their loved one may face it the future.
What ever the reason behind her non-vocalization she sounds like a very bright five year old so I don’t see anything for you to worry about.
hi everyone! i found what everyone wrote to be very interesting. i, similar to some others here, am writing a book with a speech-impaired main character. I want him to be able to fully hear and be able to whisper, but other than that he can not physically speak. Some of you described disabilities similar to this involving trouble using the “voicebox”, but I am honestly very confused. I f anyone could help me out, it would be greatly appreciated. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Mute” people are those who cannot speak. The actual definition of mute is “a person incapable of speech” so I don’t think that being able to speak a couple words or sentences every-so-often but not being able to speak for long periods of time would be considered being mute. Whispers, I believe, is counted as speech, so being able to whisper but not speak at a normal volume might not be considered being mute.
I consider “mute” or “speech-impaired” people to not be able to speak at all.
muteness is not an easy subject to write about, my daughter is mute and she is a very sweet little girl, she can read well and spell as good as any child her age but she physically cannot speak, her vocal chords never formed properly so they are fused together and do not vibrate to produce sound, she is starting to feel very aware of being different and i am worried she may be depressed about it…
hi there, my name is Althea and i am a high school student at a school in england ( i originally come from ireland though) i am in “year 10″ and i am fifteen years old, i also dont speak any more, its not out of choice, its just every time i try to speak i cant get what i want to say to come out, i am to scared to talk.
i know i need help but i am to afraid of getting it in case they say i am just ignorant and that i am wasting their time, i dont think i will ever speak again, which would be a shame yes but i cant do it
if any one can help me my email is
Hi, I have been reading all of your posts for about a year now. I am a 30 year old artist. I live in Las Vegas. I want to open myself up here. First I can hear, I have over the past years have had the extreme urge to just stop talking. I felt this way as a child. (i have gone through a lot) but for some reason. I just feel done. THere are times my husband and I argue and I go silent and talking hurts. We both discussed it and I said are you ready for this? I want to go silent. He by the way is deaf in one ear. They took out all the bones in his ear as a child. He is HOH. He told me of course. Do it if thats how you feel. I brought the idea up to my family before and they got very angry, they said it was a cry for attention. THis is part of why I dont want to speak. All my life has been frustration, heartache, constant battles and fighting. I am tired I just want to live, do my art and listen to my music. People can judge me, but I am me. I might be labled as a mental patient and I can say yes I am, I have anxiety, I am depressed and I have post traumatic stress. But I am also 30, had 3 strokes, pulmonary embolism and countless other issues and when I do talk I forgt words, they are all re-arranged, now I am developing a bad stutter and it is literally hard for me. So, here I go. Day 1, starting my silence.
Oh, and thank you for listening
I had recently ended up with damage to my vocal folds, I’ll not go into details as to how, but this occurred a little over a week ago and I am facing the very real possibility of being unable to speak again, since the damage occurred I’ve been unable to get a lick of sound from my throat, doctor told me to not get my hopes up and to look into other forms of communication, thankfully I do know some sign language due to a childhood friend who was hearing impaired. I would seem, besides mobile text to speech devices which are extremely expensive, that sign language is one of the few options I have besides writing everything I wish to say in a notepad, Which is imposable to keep up with a conversation doing.
Even though it has only been a little over a week, I have already noticed how people’s reactions to me have changed from the norm, many automatically assume I am deaf when my hearing is great, some are at a total loss as to how to interact with me, thus far only one person had caught on and began signing back to me, understanding when I told her I could still hear, in truth, that was the only normal conversation I have had since my voice failed me. I also noticed something else, there is very little online for those who are speech impaired/mute or who are facing this loss, I still need to re-learn a lot of sign language because right now my attempts at communication are broken and choppy, except through type of course.
Though, from my understanding, being mute is rather rare, as soon as I was told that the damage to my vocal folds may cause me to never be able to speak again, I started doing a lot of research, looking for anything to help me cope, books, communities, experiences of others, there’s just so little information on it. I suppose, even though I’ve only lost my voice, not my hearing, still, just this loss makes me understand the challenges of those who lose things like their hearing, humans are a social race, communication is key much of the time, it’s like being dropped into a room full of people speaking a language you don’t know, and none of them know your language, you can have someone right there but feel alone, I’m feeling that now, even with the loss of something like a voice, which I use to take for granted, I use to love to sing, did video blogs, audio blogs, I loved being able to use my voice, loved being able to do little impersonations just for fun to make my friends laugh, now it’s gone, in just one moment, with a chance of it never returning. If it hurts this much to just lose my voice, I can only imagine how much it hurts for those who lose more than that.
Maybe it’s only bothering me because the occurrence is so recent, because I’ve not had but about a week to cope with the change or to learn other ways, but still, it is a challenge, that much is for certain.
And there I go ranting, my apologies, guess, well, I just wish there was more information out there for those who are losing or have lost their voice, it would certainly be helpful.
Worked with student in middle school. Student was born a female with too many x chromosomes. This meant she is developmentally delayed. Although she could hear clearly, she was unable to vocalize clearly.
Her mother taught her ASL so they could communicate and it was wonderful to see. The school district was not helpful, however, and tried to force education via oralization. Testing done prior to meeting me showed a child less than 3 years old… she was already in middle school.
Due to strange circumstances, I was “loaned” to the classroom for one semester, as an ASL interpreter, to work with this girl. The first week, she was tested again; this time with me present and able to vocalize her signed answers. Although she could not make words, she made utterances that were not understood…….yet her signs were quite clear. The testing showed her to be at about the 3rd grade level.
How much higher could she have achieved if those in the school district had listened to the mother and let her have access to ASL and interpreters all along.
This was my first and only experience with someone who could not vocalize clearly who could hear perfectly. Interesting!!
I spoke with the Pastor of my “deaf church” who called the young lady “deaf” but signed deaf at the voice box area in the throat. In his eyes she had a deaf voice box. How wonderful that she was accepted and loved for who she is.
Note: I am physically challenged in many ways but it has always been the “deaf community” who have opened their arms and accepted me whole heartedly.
God bless everyone. May you each find true comfort in life and a way of coping that suits your life.
I became unable to speak after laryngeal nerve trauma during a total thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer.
I am traumatized with the inability to communicate – make phone calls, yell for help, provide directions for people who ask me, talk on the phone to my children or mother – so many things are lost to me now. I do have an understanding husband who accomodates me as much as he can.
I want to communicate and I think that an erase board or the note pad on my Palm is the easiest way…texting is too slow, and few understand sign language.
Also –consider the label – nonverbal; it literally means w/o words — which is not the case – I can read and write, I just can’t speak. So speech impaired or vocally impaired or voiceless is more fitting in my opinion.
i am a selective mute enduring high school, i moved from ireland to england and since then i have not spoken to any one, not even my family, my anxiety is through the roof and even the strongest medication doesnt help, its hard for me but i have to learn to cope with it and i am getting councilling to help, but i have a long way to go yet, i have learned some BSL but it doesnt help me in school, i have no friends and i am very lonely, if any one can help me my email addresss is
There are many, many more cases of severe Cerebral Palsy than there were years ago, and most of these folks are non-verbal, but can hear. My 17 year old daughter is like this. Her hearing has been tested and is not impaired, but lack of oxygen at birth shuts down certain areas of the brain, always in a sequence (kidneys first, last of all brain function controlling muscle movement and neurological function). The vocal cords are not damaged, so she can make sounds, and laugh, but all the muscles controlling her vocal cords, throat, tongue, mouth are affected. Before having her, I assumed Cerebral Palsy only affected one’s limbs, spine and neck, but it affects all the muscles and nerve impulses to those muscles everywhere in your body.
Hello, I am not hearing or speech impaired, but I’ve been following this topic for a while now; I’ve always been curious about what causes these impairments, and what it’s like to have them, because I know very little about it. I’m just posting to say, thank you, everyone, for telling me a tiny bit of your story.
I have been following this topic for some time as well, and am disappointed in the amount of information available about muteness.
I am curious about where or not people who are unable to speak consider mute to be offensive. If so how would they describe themselves?
I realize deaf people dislike being called a hyphenated “deaf-mute” as an assumption when they can speak just fine. But is mute an offensive description to someone who can hear and cannot speak?
My mother is mute. She considers herself mute, and is not offended by the term.
i’m semi-mute and i’m not offended by the term either
Well my Gandad could hear perfectly, but he could not speak. At all. It was not a mental thing but a physical thing. And I know that it frustrated him greatly – as we have a big family and when everyone talked he couldn’t get a word in, so to speak.
I think that I am truly lucky to be able to talk (which i do A LOT) and hear (because music IS my life). Yes, I know some people who are classified as deaf can hear music.
Though I do not know the specifics of how that was possible I do know that he did not mind being called mute at all. It was just another word he couldn’t verbalise.
Now he is gone now, but I remember him teaching me a special type of sign language he used – as a little boy – and when he was with family and then he taught me the other type that is commonly used.
PS: I hope, Gimpp99, that I have been of help to you – and anyone else.
I’m speech impaired. I’ve been this way about 6 months, and I’m an adult, no luck from Dr’s as to if or when I may get to speak again. I can hear in most non-noisy environments just fine. I’m learning ASL as quickly as possible, the first few months, I spent using paper and pencil to communicate, or using online methods such as IM, etc.
A friend who does disability rights told me about Voice Relays, and that’s how I got involved with Deaf culture, and learning ASL. (Voice relays let me make telephone calls)
I carry around http://amzn.to/9uHQuj a “Travel Doodle Pro” from Fisher Price (see link), that another person I met that has speaking problems told me about.
Most people assume I’m Deaf, and I just let them have that assumption. When they do find out I can hear, they assume I took a vow of silence.
I’m trying to move my life to purely an ASL one, as I don’t really see other options for fast communication. I’ve played with TTS(text to speech) programs, both on mobile phones, and computers, and they are painfully slow to communicate with, but can have their purpose.
I *WANT* to communicate as fast as most other people can, and writing on a board, piece of paper, etc is PAINFULLY slow. It works to ask simple questions, but it utterly fails for anything more involved.
is it posible to be mute but still play an instrument like the flute thanks just wandering
yes, i play recorder and flute and piano, you need no vocal involvement to play an instrument, i am mute and i have been so since i was little.
so, yes, it can be done
It is so sad to me that people can get so offended by a word. What is wrong with the word “mute”? It means NO SOUND. I can sort of understand resenting the term “deaf & dumb”, but “mute”? Come on!!! It’s a term that has an actually meaning and it fits in some instances. Christina preached about calling HOH people “mute” when the question had nothing to do with HOH people, then actually said, “would it be nice to call a cripple a cripple?” THAT’S WHAT SHE JUST DID!!!
some people just argue for the sake of causing a fuss because they think they are the only ones who suffer.
my daughter nearly died from a rare cancer as a child and to save her they removed her larynx and vocal chords and she has spent her whole life unable to talk yet she doesnt feel sorry for herself at all, unlike Christina who is proud of being prejudiced about the word mute my daughter has an extraordinary sense of compassion and empathy
My name is Olly and I have recently been diagnosed as “Selective Mute”. I didn’t know much on being mute, and the diagnosis was rather abrupt and out of the blue. After a recent traumatic experience, I find it impossible to speak outside of my own home, and even then I find that minimal speech is best. I do not see the offence in my case of being labelled a “mute”. I am from Britain, and here to do not have such a good SL programme. As of yet, at college I do a “sherades” type communication with my friends. I know I am not in quite the same situation as some of you. But I feel without being able to speak publically, I can be of some relation. I really would like some kind of help with learning BSL. I hear some of your stories and I don’t see myself to be as “handicapped” as some of you have labelled it. My hearing is perfect, yet I cannot speak, it is not physical, it is an issue of my mental capacity. But alike what Josh wrote back in 2006.. I can write beautifully, and if I could speak I know that I would be able to illustrate everything with such prose. When I could speak I took it for granted.. I used slang words and didn’t take pride in my voice. Now hearing these stories and being unable to speak myself, I feel I have wasted a chance, but I can only branch out in writing. I have no other means of speech.
I lost my ability to speak as a result of a major stroke in 2006. I was a Software Consultant that required me to be very verbal. The left side of my body was paralyzed and remains so to this day, but my greatest loss was my ability to speak. I haven’t learned sign language, most people don’t
understand it. I hear perfectly well, but when some people learn I can’t talk, they talk louder. In public situations, I gesture, use body language or use facial expressions to handle most casual situations. More complex communication I write or use my dynavox, an Alternative and Augmentative
Communication device I can type out or select words or phrases to build sentences to have the machine speak in a human-sounding voice provided that I can select. There is some female voices provided that makes for parlor humor for my neices thinking it is funny for me to communicate with a
female voice. But I still cannot communicate in my normal speed, even though I had a Southern accent and a slow speech rate.
Not being able to speak tends to isolate me and regret not being able to acknowledge the small talk in public with strangers. I don’t want them think I’m being unfriendly. That’s bad manners for most Southerners not to respond to the small talk of strangers. I don’t mind any term people use to describe my condition. I don’t know other “mute” people, it is a condition most of society doesn’t know much about. If you learn I can’t speak, they seem to think “and deaf”.
i have been searching everywhere for some website or place to tell me what is wrong with me but no such luck, i can talk sometimes but every other time i just cant.
its not like i cant make sound – i can speak perfectly well in my own home – i just cant speak when i am with my friends or when i go outside my house…
some one please tell me what is wrong with me!
Sounds like Selective Mutism.
“No one want to be called a mute, that is such a old old word and such an insult, why not use a better word by saying Hard of Hearing ,”
Saying I’m hard of hearing would make no sense. My hearing is EXCELLENT. However, that has no bearing on my lack of voice.
I feel erased.
i can speak but everything i say comes out all messed up like when i’m in a conversation with my 2 best friends (i won’t say their names so i will refer 2 them s girl and boy coz ones a girl and ones a boy) and i’ve known them for 3 years now so luckily they can understand what i’m trying to say most the time but usually when i’m talking to someone i have to over exaggerate out i feel or act out things.
when i speak i know what i want to say in my head but when i say it i stutter, miss out entire words and sounds, a lot of the time i go to say something and i physicaly can’t , i replace words with other sometimes non related ones, i mumble, speak too fast and swap the order of my sentences. i got told that that is coz of a disorder called a clutter though.
But i also can’t control the volume and pitch of my voice properly and sometimes my larynx tightens so that i can’t even attempt to talk, i can make some sounds though.
i really hate it that only my 2 best friends can understand me and even then the girl one has 2 ask the guy one what i’m saying.
i’m 14 and go to mainstream school and my french teacher accuses me of faking all the time in class and now a lot of other studets do too.
it really hurts that someone would think i would do that. if i could speak properly i would!!!!!!!!!!!
i’m just soooooooooooooo glad i have kind patiant caring friends that know i’m not pretending.
but if anyone has any idea what is wrong with my voice could they please say so.
Some of the comments here are REALLY confusing me. Why are there HOH people on here talking about how being called a mute is such an offensive term when in reality being mute and being HOH are two total different things? I mean most HOH people can speak just fine, sometimes it’s difficult for them if they can’t hear themselves very well but this can be easily solved with speech therapy, being mute or semi-mute is usually when you are missing your vocal chords, larynx, or parts of your vocal chords or larynx, you can also go mute from traumatic experiences. These are two totally different things. So it’s bugging me that people would say mute is a rude word for hard of hearing when it has NOTHING TO DO WITH HEARING. Especially when you’ll find a lot of mute and semi-mute people don’t find the term offensive at all.
I’m a physician, but what started my google search is the laryngitis I got from my pediatric patients and lost my voice. I can’t work without a voice and it’s very frustrating. In fact, I lost my voice explaining a complicated treatment schedule to a patient. ….I hope it comes back.
ANYWAY. I personally prefer the term “non-verbal” if someone can’t speak, but has the ability. Eg, brain abnormalities, genetic disorders, trauma etc. That person would still be able to cry or scream.
“Non-vocal” specifically means that someone has no voice – eg laryngeal nerve damage, or damage to the larynx. This person would be mute, and cry / laugh / etc would be completely quiet.
“Hearig impaired” is the preferred term in Canada, and says little about the person’s hearing ability. In fact, this term presumes that some hearing is preserved. This term has nothing to do with brain or development, ie nothing is assumed.
There is also a concept of “receptive speech”, ie whether the person understands what’s being spoken. This refers to people who are not deaf, and who may or may not be non-verbal or non-vocal. This comes into play in children with various neurological disorders, or adults who have acquired neurological deficits (eg stroke, tumour, trauma).
I like these terms. They are specific and accurate, and only mean what they mean. We use these terms in hospital settings frequently, and can form an accurate imagine of a person’s abilities to optimize treatment.
As for are there purely mute people? Psychological considerations aside, Yes. I find those that are non-verbal (but vocal) are, in my field, congenital issues usually (dealing with the brain). And non-vocal (ie completely mute) are a result of physical damage to the larynx or nerves going to the larynx.
My opinion only.
You need to see a neurologist. An MRI of the head is strongly advised.
I have never able to speak. i can hear fine. The only sound I can make is air when I breathe hard. I am not sure why I can’t speak. I can’t make sounds of any kind. It is not by choice.
In order to communicate I have to use sign language but not everyone knows it here. Usually I just point at things.
Found this while searching for word to just mean mute in my language. I personally do not mind the word mute, because I can not make sound, which is what mute means. Nobody calls me dumb for it.
The problem I have is my language, japanese 日本語 , does not have a word I know for mute. We have mute and deaf. There are two words that mean mute and deaf. One is polite, the other is rude because the other actually can mean dumb.
As for how people are mute, it seems the vocal box is not developed properly. For me, it is my vocal cords. They do not move when I attempt to make sound.
The reason you do not hear about people who are mute is because many just assume the person to be shy. The person can hear fine, so it is not too difficult for someone to communicate with them. It is just that the person they are communicating with will have to make gestures.
Where as a deaf person is much more noticeable. When communicating, unless they are very good at read lips, you must use gesture to speak with them.
Being mute is not always fun. I wish I could speak because now I have a child and I can not sing to him. When my child cries I can only use gesture and physical contact to try to calm. I can not give my child the soothing voice of a mother.
It is difficult at times but rarely.
I hope that this answers your question.
My boyfriend was born mute. He can hear completely fine. We met online a little more than a month ago. At first, I thought he was shy when we would Skype and he wouldn’t say anything. Finally, after a few weeks, he got up enough courage to tell me that he was mute. I told him I didn’t care and I still accepted him for who he was. His disability doesn’t define him.
He knows ASL, but he always keeps a pad of paper and pen in his pocket, just in case someone asks him a question and they don’t know ASL. He’s a huge inspiration to me because he is the happiest man I’ve ever met. He doesn’t take anything for granted and I’m so glad he’s in my life.
Hello …I randomly found this website … I’m not English but I studied it at school so I’ll try to tell my story.
I lost my voice when I was 16, four years ago.
My name is P.
I had a car accident. Who was driving managed to escape in time, but I couldn’t. I was thrown away in an explosion, I got burnt on the back, I lost some teeth, I broke an arm …but nothing it couldn’t be repaired. Unfortunately I also hit the head (on the back of the neck), and I got burnt in a severe way in that part of the body. I have never said a word again. At the beginning I thought I was just shocked, but then I realized the reason wasn’t psychological. I was told the nerves that control the vocal folds got damaged …and for this reason I wasn’t able to control the folds anymore.
I was told it’s very rare to completely lose the ability of speaking, but it happens.
Yes, I know, I was very unlucky.
I’m still able to whistle, I can communicate also by making funny noises (I do it only with people I know well), I can burp, snooze, sneeze or cough and make any other sound that doesn’t involve the vocal folds. I always bring with me a little block notes to write harder concepts, but basically the expressions of my eyes and of my face mainly comunicate for me. I also make gestures a lot.
Now I am a 20 years old boy, I go to University and I have a normal life (I’ve a girlfriend, many friends who learnt to appreciate me and I play in a band). It took a lot of time to accept my condition, but now I’m kind of happy of it …I’m happy I’m only mute and I didn’t get paralytic, deaf, blind or something like it. I have a girlfriend, I’m an excellent student who will graduate in Physics in a year, I play an instrument that is my second voice and although I am mute I am anything but quiet when I am with my friends !!!
I was translating a circular email which requires me to define a group of people who are deaf and cannot talk. I searched for a correct term for this group and found many blogs and videos telling me why they thought deaf and dumb or deaf mute was unnacceptable, but did I find an acceptable alternative? No. Please people if you are sensitive to this issue, and clearly disabled groups are divided on this, please show us the way, tell us what you prefer.
Incidentally I now live in The netherlands and in dutch they have no real issues with terminology regarding handicapped groups of people. They use the equivalent word for handicapped and and no one bothers. The word used for all black people is Neger. The origin of this word is negro but it sounds suspiciously like the N word, despite that no one here makes a fuss. I have attended many disability awareness seminars and must honestly say that it all goes too far. Should a word or phrase that was acceptable for one generation suddenly be taboo in the next? Languages change for sure but should we bring to light every possible instance of negative connatations of language change or just ignore it. In my opinion bringing such examples to the public attention just empowers those few people who wish to use it in its negative context.
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