Charlie Swinbourne: Deaf voices are natural, so why should they be mocked?

Posted on November 11, 2012



My mum’s voice was the first sound I ever heard. Because she was born profoundly deaf, she speaks with a higher pitch than most hearing voices. Some people don’t understand her easily when they first meet her, but even though I’m partially deaf, like the rest of my family, I often know what she’s saying without needing to lip-read her.

The deaf voices I heard growing up ranged from those that were only marginally different from that of a typical hearing person, to voices that were completely unique. My uncle, who has a much deeper voice, communicates entirely in sign language but also uses vocal sounds to add expression to what he’s saying. To me and others in the deaf world, his voice, and the others I heard at the deaf centre we visited every week, are completely normal.

To read the rest of this article for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/11/deaf-voices-mocked

Charlie Swinbourne is the editor of Limping Chicken and the magazine British Deaf News, as well as being a journalist and award-winning scriptwriter. He writes for the Guardian and BBC Online, and as a scriptwriter, penned My Song, Coming Out and Four Deaf Yorkshiremen.

The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, and the RAD Deaf Law Centre.

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