Meriah Nichols: About that Samsung advert everyone’s talking about…

Posted on March 16, 2015

This ad by Samsung is going viral – I know this because I was sent it by no less than 5 people and whenever I’m sent something by no less than 5 people, something is seriously going VIRAL!

The product itself looks cool and I want to know more about it.

But I was left feeling so sad.

The video is touted as “heartwarming”, mostly I think because so many people gathered to learn sign language for the purpose of creating the ad.

But to me it emphasised how lonely it really is to be deaf in a hearing world, to be deaf in an aural/oral community.

For every one of the interactions that the guy in the video had with the people who learned sign for Samsung, he has 10 interactions in real life, where he is left out. Where he has to bend over backwards to figure things out. Where he is struggling. Where he is isolated.

And the thing is, being deaf is largely a non-visible disability.

If you are hearing and actually do know sign language and wanted to talk with a deaf person, how would you know we are deaf? How would you know to sign?

You just don’t know, do you.

I feel like that’s one thing that I wish people would understand about being deaf. How isolating it can be. How videos like this aren’t really touching in the aspect of people coming together to learn some sign for an ad, but in how this man doesn’t have access to communication and inclusion in the same way that most hearing people take for granted.

Hopefully the product Samsung are selling will actually help. Anyone know more about it?

Meriah Nichols writes about travel, disability and parenting. Deaf, she is also the mother of Moxie, who has Down syndrome. Meriah’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post, The Village Voice and Scary Mommy, among others. She currently farms half the year on the Lost Coast of California and travels the Pan American Highway during the other half, “roadschooling” the kids.

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