Hearing Researchers: Why Do They Study Deaf People?

Vlog Summary: Opening a dialogue in the Deaf community, Candace A. McCullough brings up several complex issues related to hearing researchers studying Deaf people (9:31 minutes). Whenever a member of a majority group studies a minority group, it is essential that social, cultural, and political issues are considered. Unfortunately, a number of hearing researchers’ motivation for studying Deaf people comes down to self-interest, in the form of university tenure, promotions, grants, and prestige, rather than a sincere interest and concern for the betterment of the Deaf community.

In order to ensure that research on Deaf people is conducted in the best possible manner, hearing researchers should make a conscientious practice of collaborating equally with Deaf researchers in all phases of their studies, with credit given equally to the Deaf and hearing researchers. Deaf people should be cautious about participating in research, taking care to ask questions and determine what, if any, benefits the study may provide to the Deaf community, before committing to be part of a study.

To cite:

McCullough, C. (2007, September 23). Hearing Researchers: Why Do They Study Deaf People? ASC on the Couch. Retrieved September 23, 2007, from http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=323

  1. Ella Lentz September 23, 2007

    very important topic to discourse. As you may know, I have been involved with quite a few Deaf-related research projects both as a subject and as paid staff most of my life. What you said is something every academic person/researcher that deals with Deaf people and Sign Language MUST take in serious consideration..AND every Deaf subject that is being studied MUST be aware of. I look forward to more discussion on this subject. Thanks, Candace.

    • Ayeni Benjamin O. January 30, 2017

      I am currently a doctoral student at the university of Kwa Zul Natal. I am conducting research on poverty reduction and the experiences of persons with hearing impairment. I am not doing this for any selfish interest but to assess the poverty reduction policy /programme development processes with a view to determining the extent of participation of the deaf, having worked with PWDs for over 14 years now.

      I will need your support since you have experience in this filed in terms of making my research reliable and viable. This is my first time of personally choosing to conduct any research or study with the deaf.

      Thank you.

      Best regards,

    • Ajong, Gerald keys ( Cameroon) November 15, 2017

      A hearty and invaluable piece for every “hearings” or not working to enhance Deaf lives
      from a great thinker and role model.

      Let’s hope your message reaches a great deal of the target audience and with some credit
      to those more is due_ the devoted hearings striving to better us.

      Thanks Candice.

  2. Jean Boutcher September 23, 2007

    It was in the early 1970s when I first deeply resented hearing professionals’ and hearing doctorate candidates’ using minorities for their research for tenure, merit increase, money, fame! I can spell out their names herein, but, because of Google, I have chosen not to do so. However, I can tell you about the most-talked-about book: “BELL’S CURVE” (1990s). I so despised the book that the names of its two authors escape me. This book made political conservatives, the government, and educators so unbelievably excited. The authors excessively negated about black people’s genetical uneducableness. Fortunately, the liberal sceptics at Princeton and Columbia Universities, who read the book with intelligence and judgment, made the authors’ fuse of fame shorter not only by criticising their work in news magazines and scholarly journals but they also claimed that the book was completely fraudulent! Meaning? The authors used black people for money.

    I also resent deeply that hearing researchers compare deaf students’ writing samples with those of hearing students. They would make a false conclusion that hearing students write better than deaf students. Hearing students are basically monolingual (one language) whereas deaf people are bilingual (two languages [ASL and English]).

    Anything like encyclopedia, compendium history of the deaf should be written by the deaf, not by the hearing. Gallaudet’s English Department has failed — or withheld — to instruct students how to write a letter of grant for research in Europe. I do hope that Gallaudet students as well as deaf people in general will share information NOT with hearing researchers but with deaf researchers. Deaf people know one another much better than hearing researchers know about deaf people.

  3. MikeS September 23, 2007

    Candace, I appreciate this vlog very much. It was very educational for me. You provided me several insights (researcher bias, within-group rather than comparison-group studies, etc.) to re-consider. I am wary of the genetic studies too and am glad to know I’m not alone that such data can be manipulated for the purposes of, for e.g., genetic engineering. Thanks for doing this in this time and age.

  4. Poorna September 23, 2007

    This is one excellent vlog and points well noted. Thank you, Candace, for taking the initiative to present concerns related to studying deaf people in research. I wholeheartedly agree on the issues that you have addressed thus far.

    In particular, I would like to expand on the issue about the need for within-group research with deaf people rather than between deaf and hearing groups. As we already know, deaf people within our community are diverse, and researchers naively comparing hearing with deaf populations ignore this diversity. This results in inappropriate generalization of results to deaf people as a group rather than subgroup. More studies are needed to understand the nuances within the deaf population and to clarify external factors that are contributing to the delays in this and that area.

    I still see psychological reports and listserv posts by clinical providers who state that deaf people’s language delays are “due to
    hearing loss or deafness.” This information likely came from naïve researchers who compared affected deaf people with hearing people.
    Instead, the information should be appropriately rephrased as “language delays due to deprivation of language or communication
    access during the early years.”

    A within-group deaf study is an excellent method to clarify underlying factors (e.g. quality of parent-child communication; age of language acquisition) that are contributing to language delays. This approach was used by the Yoshinana-Itano group at UC Boulder but only in the late 1990s. Their papers were influential on improving the early intervention services in Colorado, as well as other states.

    We need more studies like Yoshinaga-Itano and colleagues’ that can have a positive impact on changing policy in education or clinical practice with deaf people. I am happy to share that I am currently preparing two papers from a study on age of language acquisition, bilingualism, and selective attention in deaf people. I conducted these studies with two goals: one is to push for an increase in early intervention services during the deaf child’s infancy months, and second to advocate for bilingual education for all deaf children – whether it is ASL and English or Spanish and English. Now is the time for grant-funded research conducted with deaf people to be “translate-able” into practice in education, psychology, and community with benefits for deaf people.

  5. Richard Roehm September 24, 2007

    Yes they need to be studied as to why the deaf community raises a big stink when a hearing actor plays the role of a deaf character whilst the wheelchair community communniy don’t ever bother to do the same when an able bodied actor plays the role of a wheelchair bound character. Hearing people needs to take a hard look at this kind of mentality of the deaf community.

  6. ASL Risen September 24, 2007

    Good morning, Doctor McCullough!

    WOW, I completely agreed with your very interesting points! Yeah right on we, the Deaf community must think twice and need more steel fort security and protection before we may drown in the deep ocean of hearing researchers!

  7. guyrepair September 24, 2007

    You are very brilliant lady keep it up 🙂

  8. hoeyhemp September 24, 2007

    yeah need to stop them passing out the wrong informations, man thats really silly of them to do this way GOSH

  9. JD September 24, 2007

    Good points as always. By participating in studies done by hearing people, we are giving jobs to them. We need to give jobs back to deaf people. let’s do another protest and refuse all hearing studies and see what happens. Hearing people will freak out. I am tired of some hearing people who say they are special because they have deaf spouses or because they have deaf parents but they are still hearing and have not experienced deaf people’s lives. We need to watch out for those kind of hearing people, too. They think they can speak for us.

  10. Karen Mayes September 24, 2007

    University of Rochester (not RIT, not NTID… another college in Rochester, NY) has a group of deaf researchers studying the brains of deaf people (taking Xrays to see where the lights show up in which part of brains when they see sign language.) So the department knows that deaf researchers are needed, as well as deaf subjects.

    It is good to have some peers… same goes for juries (must have similiar backgrounds to the accused, or otherwise the rendering of decisions would be biased… which often happens anyway.)

  11. JD September 24, 2007


    You must be talking about this link:


    Like Candace says, it is hard to tell which researchers are deaf/hearing and researchers need to identify themselves. To my knowledge, Peter Hauser is probably the only deaf person in there. Anyone, please correct me. I am glad Peter is there and we still need MORE deaf people on the team.


  12. raychelle September 24, 2007

    BRAVA! nice earthquake there, Candace!

    this is a movement. this is happening in other underrepresented communities as well. indigenous researchers are rallying for research done by their people (instead of outsiders such as white people). here are some examples of their work from an article myself, another deaf researcher and a hearing researcher recently submitted to a research journal:

    many arguments for culturally sensitive research ethics for specific communities are already under way, e.g. Mãori (Cram, Ormond & Carter, 2004), African Botswana Community (Chilisa, 2005), Canadian Natives (Mi’kmaq College Institute, 2006), Australasians (Australasian Evaluation Society, Inc., 2006), Indigenous Communities (Osborne & McPhee, 2000), and Navajo People (Brugge & Missaghian, 2003).

    the funny thing about all this was, we originally submitted this article to a prominent deaf journal in deaf academics and was asked to tone it down because it was “too pro-Deaf”.

    here’s a quote from one reviewer about our article: “I was turned off by the frequent and lengthy quotes and descriptions of how horrible hearing researchers (or hearing people in general) are”. we were asked to revise and leave out those parts in our article – a reviewer said, “…must Myklebust’s sins of the early 1960s and Lane’s somewhat dramatic portrayals of audism be so repeatedly beat over the reader’s head?”

    that was an interesting reaction to our article, considering that all we discussed (in fact, quoted from other researchers/writers) was the history of research by hearing people of/in/about deaf communities – and considering we had a prominent hearing researcher writing this article with two other deaf authors including myself. they asked that we tone it down for publication, and after two more revisions cutting out the important historical information about hearing research on deaf subjects, we were yet rejected….

    we are now submitting this with another prominent deaf journal. crossing fingers. deaf researchers can now take the reins when it comes to research, but we have to do something about the publishers- and who reviews the research, in other words, the GATEKEEPERS of academic publications.

    that’s why Deaf Studies Digital Journal (DSDJ) is very exciting for me as a deaf researcher – they have yet to get this off the ground though, but when they do, that’ll be a nice rebalancing of power – from academic English gatekeepers – to academic ASL gatekeepers…

  13. Karen Mayes September 24, 2007

    Hi, yup…

    Two years ago this group contacted me to ask if they could work with my son who was 8 years old at that time, for their project. That is how I learned about the group. The tester was deaf herself (I can’t remember her name… her photo is not on the website), and she was a graduate student.

    :o) Karen

  14. Deaf Socrate's Trail September 24, 2007

    Yes, I agree that is what happen to the number of Deaf persons who got PHD degrees, for example many of Deaf professors at Gallaudet University or CSUN they do not write any books. That really hurt our Deaf community in a long run. From what I see this vlog is really appreciated to bring up that serious consideration about that issues! Hearies researchers never really understand us as a group of people unless they must experience us first, I do believe that each Deaf person who gets PHD ought to write a book about us. That person might give the right information based on fact finding, but unfortunately there always been in restricted or limited to ourselves, I loathe! Candace is right about that! The big problem is closed society what we do in our daily life often do not share the experience with outside due to mistrust very deep! I have to deal with number of misconception about us in many ways! Misinformation is great problem for many of us. It must stop and let Deaf professionals respond in writing articles or journals, and speak for ourselves based on our real experiences!

  15. White Ghost September 24, 2007

    Hi Candance,

    What about the hearing researchers whose parents are deaf? Just curious.

    I am pretty sure that you could compare between these hearing with deaf parents and deaf researchers. It must be an interesting topic.

    White Ghost

  16. Jules NelsonHill September 24, 2007

    Dear Candace,

    This is an evocative vlog! Very! Thank you for not only sharing your thoughts, but as well, I appreciate that you have begun this conversation thread.

    1-I totally agree with you that deaf and hearing researchers must have co-researcher status and all that entails: researching, reviewing and discussing the literature; designing, implementing and following up on the study parameters; writing/signing, editing, reviewing and publishing/filming the finished collaborative project. I equivocate on one point only, just for clarity’s sake: BOTH co-researchers MUST be qualified in the subject they’re researching. I have serious concerns that far too much research has been, is being done by and will most likely continue to be done by individuals who are not qualified to do professional and academic research, deaf and hearing alike. I have concerns on just about everything: the ethical approach to the parameters of a study; development and implementation of the study subjects and parameters; and how research is “interpreted” (i.e. published). And these are jut the basics!! Sigh.

    2-Actually, there is a “good” thing about all the questionable research: I see decades of work ahead of us deaf professionals in creating a digital library of professional and academic research of which a lot needs to be done to clean up the mess of the past research. I am actually excited about the possibilities for GREAT research that will create a renowned and long lasting digital “library” with a prestiguous reputation for quality and timely research subjects done by talented and ethical deaf researchers.

    3-I am excited, as well, for the potential of what a digital research “engine” will do for the world of research in general. To maintain a steady growth, though, funds are going to be needed and I sincerely hope that the folks involved with the Deaf Studies Digital Journal (and any other Digital Research Engines) will make sure that funding, and the creation of a proactive professional and academic network, is actively developed and maintained. The key word here is PROACTIVE!!

    On a final note, Raychelle, I am so terribly disappointed that you have had to edit and tone down your articles. Please please keep the original intact and, if you are willing, would you allow it to be electronically posted on a reputable website? You do have options for websites that charge and don’t charge readers. This is just a thought because I confess I’m curious to read what you wrote.

    Once again, this is a fabulous vlog, Candace!

    All the Best!


  17. Jean Boutcher September 24, 2007

    Karen in #10,

    Could you kindly provide the names of deaf researchers at the
    University of Rochester? Have they authored any book on the
    brains of the deaf. I would love to read it.

    Merci beaucoup.

  18. JD September 24, 2007

    White Ghost

    Why would you want to compare hearing researchers with deaf parents with deaf researchers? They are two completely different groups of people.


  19. White Ghost September 24, 2007

    JD —

    Please read my statement again.

    Of course, they are two different groups of people on many issues in their areas. At this point, I am trying to say is that my question is that will the hearing researchers with deaf parents (CODAs) and the deaf researchers with the hearing parents be the same boat on many psychological issues.

    Hope you understand what I am saying. Hope it helps.

    White Ghost

  20. Mishkazena September 24, 2007

    Excellent points.

    While we are on the subject, our blogs and vlogs are constantly under the microscope. Scholars specializing in ASL, Deaf Studies, Sociology, Deaf Education, Psychology, etc are examining us closely.. like ants. Not a nice feeling, eh?

    I’ve gotten e mails from these scholars asking me questions, some pretty personal. They casually mentioned that they are doing ‘research’ on my blogs. Other deafies informed me that they have also received these ‘surveys’

    I have mixed feelings. Understanding Deaf Culture is good, but some of the blogs and vlogs are too ‘intimate’ to be studied as specimen. I feel it is a privacy of invasion for hearing people to study us in Cyber Deaf World, taking notes of our mannerisms and quirks without our permission. Excuse me. We are not animals.

    Good to see you vlogging again, Candace

  21. DE September 24, 2007

    AMEN AMEN AMEN to your vlog! Let’s serve a notice to the research community-
    “We can take care of ourselves, thankyouverymuch. We will invite you when we need or want you.”

    I’ve seen research projects fall apart because the Deaf weren’t in the PRINCIPAL roles!!!!! Too often they were hired as Research Assistant, Tester, or whatever- duping the Deaf community into thinking that this or that project was Deaf-centered. Nosiree.

    Here’s to more Deaf principal researchers, more Deaf-centered research, and the eradication of Audist-influenced statements such as- “Language delays because of their hearing loss”?!!! Jeez. Our language delays are because of DEPRIVATION. 69% of current school-age children come from families that don’t sign. Correlation- low academic scores. Stop blaming the victim.

    Thank you so much for the vlog– your hard work compiling the info sure shows.


  22. Suzy September 24, 2007

    Candance, points well taken! Wow! I echo sentiments of those before me….here’s my piece and consequence, peace….

    Thank you for saying what you said! I liked your calm and stoic presentation. Well said as in being straightforward and clear. I liked how you made your points by using other cultures as examples ion.

    In a long story winded very short, I’ve been under the scrunity as a Deaf college student (all levels) and even as a Deaf professional. I have been hurt by these so called researchers.They are published names in the field. Unknownst to me, I was their gullible ally! Unfortunately, it is too late to question their motivation or involvement in the field. They’ve made their mark and it’s up to them to keep their name afloat or inflate it?! Either way, it sounds greedy and selfish if you ask me!

    Indeed, the principle of giving back to the research subject in our case, the Deaf community is a blind one and now, so many protocols have been developed whereas it is easy to get sucked into a research project because there are incentives, like money! See what money can buy? Our people getting paid for participating in research where there are resources to share for getting the statistics and then some more, how about a Starbuck card?

    Time rings in rushes for these folks to smell the coffee and start displaying behaviors that respect the parameters of research with partners who are members of the community at large. Lights flash because historically research hasn’t been used well enough to produce results! Who doesn’t want academic,intellectual and language achievement in students with hearing losses of all kinds, excellent behavioral health, unfied sense of community and abundance like with other cultural minitories who are Blacks, Latinos, etc. Perhaps the deafness research has helped others succeeed but little has shown where it’s blossomed in communities that use ASL.

    White Ghost,As for the CODAs getting on the ball,that’s another bag of tricks and another topic to discuss. From my personal experience, CODAs have been termed as secretive and/or sleazy yet very helpful and cooperative to those in the ‘tribe’. Who knows what they want and when they want it!? There’s something in it for everyone!

    Trust is at the bottom of the helping self-acutalization pyramid. If anyone wants to help or heal someone or any group or community, you have to come to terms with belonging, then when you find out what works, use it well so that EVERYONE benefits and it SHOWS with ripple effects for years to come!

    Better late than never?! Eh?

    Never a dull moment!


  23. ASC September 26, 2007

    Ella – I agree, it goes both ways and the issues apply to both researchers
    AND research participants.

    Jean – yes, I remember Bell’s Curve. That’s a good example of what I am
    talking about.

    MikeS – Glad you found the vlog educational.

    Poorna – You made a good clarification – it is the language deprivation, not
    that someone is Deaf per se, that relates to the language delays. I look
    forward to reading your papers. It’s great to see Deaf researchers out

    ASL Risen – Glad you agree!

    JD – I do hope more Deaf people will think twice before participating in
    research. It’s essential that we know who is conducting it and that we are
    aware of the political consequences of any research. I agree about CODAs –
    just being a CODA in and of itself isn’t enough. Attitude and willingness
    to work equally with Deaf people is more important.

    Karen Mayes – Thanks for bringing up the University of Rochester study. It
    would be nice if the researchers on the website were identified as Deaf or

  24. morphASL September 26, 2007

    Awesome insights! I certainly hope that your insights will come true for us all.

  25. ASC September 26, 2007

    Raychelle – Many thanks for sharing those very relevant articles on cultural
    sensitive research ethics in other minority communities. We have lots to
    learn from these researchers! I am with Jules, putting in my two cents that
    you should publish your article “as is”, instead of toning it down. Was the
    reviewer from the first journal Deaf or hearing? I’d not be surprised
    either way, since there are, sadly, still many Deaf scholars and
    professionals who worry excessively about stepping on hearing colleagues’
    toes. Another issue…how to deal with the gatekeepers who try to keep out
    strongly Deaf-centered articles. Hopefully, the DSDJ will be Deaf-centered
    and run by Deaf editors!

    Deaf Socrate’s Tail – I do hope more Deaf people will publish their
    research. The Deaf Studies Digital Journal (DSDJ) mentioned by Raychelle
    will be a great place for Deaf researchers to start…and hopefully, more
    Deaf researchers will be mentored and encouraged to publish in the future.

    White Ghost – CODA researchers (hearing researchers whose parents are Deaf)
    are still hearing people, even though they may have a special insight into
    the Deaf community. Their perspective is valued, but again, they are not

    Jules NelsonHill – Definitely, whether the research is done by a Deaf or
    hearing person, it’s important that all aspects of the research are carried
    out ethically and to the highest standards. It’s interesting that when it
    comes to determining how “qualified” a researcher is, so much more scrutiny
    seems to be given to Deaf researchers, as if they are unqualified until
    proven otherwise. We need to scrutinize hearing researchers, just as much,
    and probably even more.

  26. ASC September 26, 2007

    Jean – you can see the link to the researchers in JD’s comment above, but
    unfortunately, none of the researchers are identified outright as Deaf or

    Mishkazena – Again, we need to pay attention to whom those “researchers”
    are who are studying blogs and vlogs – my guess, from the surveys I have
    received, is that a good number of them are not very well-versed in Deaf
    issues in the first place…so whatever they come up with as findings most
    likely leaves plenty of room for questioning. Anything published in print
    or in the cybersphere, however, is public and open to analysis, including
    analysis of the author’s use of language, topic choice, etc., like it or

    DE – Thanks for your support. I, too, look forward to seeing more Deaf
    researchers in principal roles, instead of subordinate ones (raising the
    question of whether they are recruited as equals or as “token” Deaf

    Suzy – I’ve heard stories of other Deaf people being “used” by hearing
    researchers, who took their ideas and suggestions and went ahead and
    published research without ever giving credit to the Deaf people. Very sad
    and self-serving. I believe research should contribute to the Deaf
    community – it should be useful and have very real implications for changing
    things. It shouldn’t be a bunch of numbers or articles that sit on the
    shelf or pad up someone’s resume.

  27. ASL Risen September 26, 2007

    Yes, I agreed with your answer to Suzy’s question about Deaf people were being Used by hearing researchers! I feel that the hearing reseachers are taking advntage of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ like SNAKE OIL!!

  28. White Ghost September 26, 2007


    It’s an interesting thought. We have to be very careful and make the judgments on these researchers and the background.

    Wish we could shove their backgrounds to make sure they respect our values.

    I agree that we need to scrutinize ANY researchers, either deaf or hearing with the CODAs as much we can.

    However, I wish the researchers could provide the list in the website. So that way we can spread the words of the mouth. I do not see anything in the website.

    How sad.

    White Ghost

  29. Jean Boutcher September 26, 2007

    White Ghost,

    You hit the nail on the head! Some researchers are audists’ deaf
    protégés. An audist who is a former professor told his student in
    front of other students: “Are you hard-of-hearing? Are your parents
    hearing?” To which the student replied, “Yes.” Then the professor
    went on to say, “Not surprisingly because your English is excellent.
    Deaf people who are born deaf cannot write a correct sentence.”
    The students who eavesdropped were horrifieid. That time we had no
    term audism or paternalism in our vocabulary in the early 1970s.
    Had the audist said that after our highly esteemed Dr. Allen
    Sussman coined paternalism, or paternalistic mentality, in 1988,
    we would have filed a complaint about the professor for two
    reasons: discrimination and disinformation. Disinformation I am
    referring to the professor who falsely said that deaf people born
    deaf cannot write correctly. Many a hearing individual does not
    write correctly even though he has normal hearing. Or, speech
    skills, for that matter.

  30. White Ghost September 26, 2007

    Jean B. —

    Gotcha! You have my exclamation marks!

    I honestly do not think some researchers with the audism have changed….they might have the status quo in years.

    White Ghost

  31. raychelle September 26, 2007

    Jules & Candace

    Thanks for your suggestion and reassurance that it should be posted as is – I talked with my co-authors and we agreed to wait for the results from the second journal… then go from there. We definitely will publish/share the original article after we know more about the results for the second, toned down article.

    The only identifying information we have about our reviewers are their names: Reviewer 1, Reviewer 2 and Reviewer 3 🙂 So we don’t know if they’re deaf or hearing – and I agree with you Candace, that particular reviewer could easily be either deaf or hearing…

    For a taster of what’s in our article.. we started a blog – but wanted to wait until the article is published before posting the entire thing on the blog for feedback from the community..


  32. smap19541 November 26, 2007

    WOW! Many of what u said, I never thought of it but very educational. I learn something abd I truly agreed with u most of what u said. I believe the otheres should see this vlog. I will share this with deaf community. THUMP UP! WELL JOB DONE!

  33. barbara Commins January 19, 2008

    hello from Ireland.

    Welldone and I totally agree with your views about the hearing researchers that take an advantage of us.

    I used to live in a boarding school for many years. I still remembered that there were a lot of psychology students from some different colleges assessing us and played the psychological games with us to see if how intelligent we are etc. I now realise that they abused our parents because they did not ask them for their permission for testing or researching on us.

    Thank you for your attention

  34. William Ollen February 7, 2008

    I agreed with YOU!!! I knew deaf people ways with negatives as materialisms.
    I knew that they failed following their own hearts, because they were fellow their people’s words than themselves… I met many deaf people from poorest people to richest people and also lowest educators to smartest educators in world. I understood deepest of DEAF LIFES. I took yoga things with meditate tools deepest since 1976 and understood deepest of living spirits for myself, VERY WELL!!!
    I wanted helping ALL DEAF into BETTER LIVING LIFES with very open minds in real world than their own words by other people‘s words…
    I don’t care about ASL. YOU fellow your own heart as Natural LAW!!!

  35. M.S. February 19, 2008

    As a counseling student, I am fascinated by your vlog and decided to do some research. I went through Gallaudet University’s Mental Health Counseling faculty staff’s selected publications. I found that what you said is very true. Their hearing faculty staff DID NOT work with Deaf researchers. We should start looking for programs that encourage publications by Deaf researchers. How about you setting up a new program somewhere? I’d love to get training from you.

    Smith, K., &; Rush, L. (2006). Counseling students who are deaf. In J. Lippincott
    (Ed.), Special populations in college counseling. Arlington, VA: American Counseling

    Zieziula, F.R. &; Harris, G. (1998). National survey of school counselors working with
    deaf and hard of hearing children. American Annals of the Deaf, 143 (1), 40-45.

  36. JD February 20, 2008

    *Shaking head* that is Kendra Smith who did research with the other hearing researcher. Kendra, a girlfriend of MJ Beinnvenu should know better than that! We should out other hearing researchers here. M.S. thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  37. ASL Risen February 21, 2008

    JD or M.S>

    Is that hearing research called “Deafness Research Foundation”? Just curious! Thanks

  38. DeafBuffalo February 24, 2008

    I’d also check out the deaf researchers, too. Some of them are latened-deaf and might not support the Deaf Culture.
    The deaf researchers should study the hearing people. I would love to know why they consider us burdensome when in reality they are burdensome to us by discriminating and prejudging us, refusing to learn sign language even after we learn to speak, so on. Also I would love to know why they have a bent on their deaf child’s ability to hear. I think they are in denial.


  39. Jean Boutcher February 24, 2008

    I would also check out to see if a deaf researcher is an implantée. I have — thanks to Deafblogsphere — observed that some implantées are biased and prejudiced. Some of them are insensitive to say that non-implantées would be normal if they wore CI.

    Dolnick (Atlantic Monthly’s Letters to the Editor, Dec. 1993) says as follows:

    Should human beings pine over our impoverished visual world because bees can detect ultraviolet lights and we cannot?


  40. RF April 12, 2009

    We all need to be proactive, protect ourselves and future deaf children.

    Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all proposals of researchers and their objectives of their study. Do you think we have the power to report our concern to the IRB with support from the Deaf community along with different Deaf organizations. Letters or petition to IRB- will it work?

    Just a thought.

  41. Jean Boutcher April 12, 2009

    Your vlog has become more convincing than ever before. Dr. Watson, for one, earned a doctorate degree as well as raked a plethora of honourary doctorate degrees for his brilliant scientific findings. He won a Nobel Prize for science in 1950s. Apparently hungry for more fame, he falsely claimed about two years ago that the DNA showed “low intelligence” amongst black people in Africa and said that they were basically hopeless. Black people used to either be silent or “drink” everything negative scientists had claimed about them, but not at this time. They made a censure which resulted in further investigation on their DNA. It turned out that the Nobel Prize winner made the false claim. (Worse yet, other scientists discovered that Dr. Watson’s DNA shows him to be half black!)

    I would cringe when some deaf people say that they have submitted their DNA data to a hearing researcher at Gallaudet. I was asked to do so about five years ago because the late writer John Updike, who had impediment speech, and I were distant cousions. We submitted ours to a genealogy laboratory in the west where our DNA tests were specifically traced to our matrilineal ancestry and nothing else. I would be happy to submit the information to a deaf DNA tester.

    I want to see more deaf professionals get a tenure.

  42. ASCDEAF April 13, 2009

    RF – Sure, your idea to share concerns with IRBs is a great one. The more we can educate the academic community about our concerns, the better chance we have to make changes. It’s very possible that many IRB members are unaware of the issues at stake here. Please keep us posted as to any action you take – and thanks for commenting here.

  43. ASCDEAF April 14, 2009

    Jean – Thanks for your comment. Very interesting about Dr. Watson. It is always wise to understand the motivation behind researchers’ projects. When it comes to DNA testing of any gene, including Deaf genes, one would certainly want to know how the information is going to be used and for what purpose.

    Re: DNA testing of Deaf genes, if my understanding is correct, Dr. Patrick Boudreault in California is a Deaf researcher involved with a DNA test project for Deaf genes that discards the findings after they are presented to the participants. This is a good example of how having a Deaf person involved in a study ensures that the data is not misused for negative purposes such as eugenics.

  44. paz May 18, 2009

    Hi all, Is it possible for deaf researchers to study subjects who are hearing? I think it is possible however we need to study and understand hearing perspectives. I think same goes for hearing researchers who would like to study subjects who are D/deaf. As long we abide with research ethics.

  45. hearie December 27, 2009

    I know this vlog is a bit old, but I thought I would leave a comment anyway.

    I thought you made some interesting points. I am hearing, and am currently in the program from which you graduated (the Clinical Psych program at Gallaudet). I absolutely agree with most of the points that you made, and I agree that there are people out there that research the Deaf for selfish reasons.

    I think my main concern is that I felt you lumped all hearing researchers together while making these claims. (One of my Deaf colleagues disagrees with me, but that is the sense I got.)

    I think that it would be beneficial to vlog about ways to differentiate between worthwhile research and research that should be avoided. Like I said, I think you made several valid points, but I think that there are some hearing researchers who do have a lot to offer.

  46. ASCDEAF December 29, 2009

    paz – Sure, Deaf researchers can study hearing people. There is a whole different set of dynamics involved when hearing researchers study Deaf people, however, which makes a comparison of hearing-on-Deaf and Deaf-on-hearing research invalid. Deaf-on-hearing research lacks the heavy issues of oppression, inequality, bias, and political, cultural, and social injustices that cannot easily be removed from hearing-on-Deaf research.

    hearie – Thanks for commenting. The topic is still a timely one and worth continued discussion, so we are glad you took the time to share your thoughts. How would you distinguish among hearing researchers who “do have a lot to offer” and those who don’t? Which research would you differentiate as worthwhile and which research would you recommend avoiding?

  47. hearie December 29, 2009

    I think I would distinguish the two in the same way you would: those who take the time and effort to understand and learn about the Deaf community, and who wish to help the Deaf community, vs. those who are out for self gain and whose work may harm the Deaf community (either intentionally or not).

    The trick is to find a way of determining the researcher’s intentions, and I admit that this is not an easy task. I don’t really know how to gauge this, other than asking the researchers questions or having them explain their credentials as part of an informed consent letter. I must admit though, that I am very sensitive to this issue. I feel as though I work hard to be accepted in the Deaf community and to make a positive impact in people’s lives, and I do not want my work to be limited or ignored simply because I am hearing.

  48. raychelle December 30, 2009

    Hearie: that either/or (effort/wish to help vs. self-gain/harm) you argue for is a false dichotomy. i don’t believe researchers can be lumped in one or the other.

    baker-shenk & kyle’s paper, “research with Deaf people: issues and conflicts” (1990) name 8 different types of hearing researchers…i’m pretty sure there are more. which ones are the most damaging?

    THE DIRECTORS – we hold the knowledge and the power.
    THE ALOOF – we are not involved or particularly interested in the problems of deaf people. we are simply scientists.
    THE SEMI-ALOOF – we see some of the injustices, and do think it should stop, but it is not our place to do so.
    THE HURT AND THE FRUSTRATED – we have tried to be understanding and caring while researching, but THEY (deaf people) misunderstand and do not appreciate all that we have done for them.
    THE ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED – (same as above, but with the additional perspective that Deaf people are demanding and unreasonable)
    THE INVOLVED – we have walked in Deaf people’s shoes, we know what it is like, and we feel hurt and angered by the same things that anger and hurt Deaf people. we have a responsibility to use the power we have to stop the oppression.
    THE AFICIONADOS – deaf people are OUR friends! marvelous people! sign language is right because it feels right!
    THE EXPERTS- we have lived with deaf people all our lives, and we are skilled in sign language, and have great deal to contribute. deaf people as researchers may be obstructive (this happens often) and they are not skilled in English so….

    it’s a good article, recommended reading-

  49. ASCDEAF December 31, 2009

    hearie –

    Let me clarify that the vlog does NOT, as implied in your comment, break down hearing researchers into Group A (“those who take the time and effort to understand and learn about the Deaf community, and who wish to help the Deaf community”) and Group B (“those who are out for self gain and whose work may harm the Deaf community”). As Raychelle reiterates, lumping hearing researchers into one group or another is not possible. There are many, many factors/issues/motivations involved, making an A or B categorization far too simplistic.

    If, as a hearing researcher, you are indeed sensitive to the issues raised in the vlog and you do plan to work in equal collaboration with Deaf colleagues or assist them in their research when they are principal investigators, then I am not sure what your concern is about your work being “limited or ignored simply because (you are) hearing”. It is not a “simple” matter at all, to be a hearing researcher working with Deaf people. The fact that you expressed concern that your work might be ignored “simply” because of your hearing identity ignores the deeper levels of what it means to have a hearing identity, beyond a physical characteristic. Hearing privilege cannot be taken lightly, or simply canceled, just because a hearing researcher has the “right” attitude. What exactly is the “right” attitude is a whole other discussion.

    Granted, as a clinical psychology student, you do need to complete a dissertation on your own. There is no loophole for including a Deaf co-researcher in your dissertation. In this very specific situation, it is recommended that hearing students work closely with Deaf faculty and choose a Deaf chair for their dissertation committee. It is also good to make sure that the majority of the dissertation committee is Deaf. Hearing researchers doing dissertation work should also work with Deaf colleagues and students to serve as research assistants when collecting and analyzing data.

  50. ASCDEAF December 31, 2009

    Raychelle –

    Thanks for outlining Baker-Shenk & Kyle’s 8 categorizations of hearing researchers. Good food for thought. What is your perspective on this? Is there any “right” category of hearing researcher – and if so, what is it? We would love to hear what other types of hearing researchers people have observed, and which they think are the most damaging, or the most acceptable?

    Interestingly, we had a discussion yesterday with our good friends who happen to be hearing interpreters and the topic of hidden motivations of hearing professionals in the Deaf community came up. Besides the often-cited “missionary” helpers, the relatives-or-friends-of-Deaf-people (CODAS, hearing spouses, siblings or parents and hearing people who grew up with Deaf neighbors/friends) and the social justice fighters, another group that was mentioned was the hearing “failures” (for lack of a better word). These are hearing people who, for whatever reason, feel more comfortable/safe/competent/smarter/special in the small Deaf community than they do in the hearing community. For example, we have met a number of hearing people who stutter when speaking English and who prefer to use ASL. Another group consists of hearing people whose spoken or written English skills are not great when compared to the general hearing population, and who find the Deaf community less critical and more accepting of their less than perfect English.

  51. raychelle December 31, 2009

    hi ASCDEAF 🙂

    hmm, a tough question with plenty of “layers” and possibly more. my apologies in advance for a lengthy response. in no particular order…

    layer one:
    i personally believe people, their experience and beliefs change from day to day. over the course of a research project, their external/underlying intentions and beliefs may fluctuate as well. heck, my published work last year might not reflect how i think/feel in a couple years. so putting one researcher in a category might not work next year or for a different research project, or even during the research project itself.

    layer two:
    with layer one in mind, researchers may also fluctuate between several categories, or exhibit the characteristics of several categories in Baker-Shenk & Kyle’s paper simultaneously. those new categories in that discussion you had the other day – beautiful examples of how we can easily add to/refine the 8 categories set by Baker-Shenk & Kyle….

    layer three:
    i believe it is easy to gauge the Deaf-friendliness of research publications because of several reasons – I know the people involved, I know their intentions, I have access to their work… or I have heard of them, their work…

    layer four:
    i believe it is also easy for us to gauge the non-Deaf-friendliness of research publications by looking at how they write about us, talk about us, at the authors’ backgrounds, and how they describe their frame/theory and methodology.

    layer five:
    i also believe it can be difficult to identify the true intentions of a hearing researcher based simply on their work. this contradicts layers three and four, i know 🙂

    layer six:
    i also believe Deaf people can be lumped in one of these 8 categories as well. we are not immune. and we must work together to keep each other honest and alert….

    layer seven:
    i believe, in order to give research work/projects/publications the Deaf-friendly stamp of approval, we must have a national/international organization to moderate/screen the work, as well as screen and provide guidance to researchers who are new to our community (much like how the Maori do it). see slcethics.org

    bottom line: i think it’s not as easy nowadays (as compared to in the past) to glean the true intentions of researchers from simply looking at their actions (behavior/language used), their publications and their methodology… and then categorizing them in one of the 8 categories because of several reasons-we are much more vigilant today about how researchers talk about us, we have more Deaf researchers and we have many, many more allies now that are fighting the same hegemonic, white, hearing, male, Western researcher mentality…. so, with that, those with darker (and sometimes unconscious) intentions are much more adept at camouflaging their work/themselves when needed.

    i believe our work is twofold- focus on setting up a national/international organization where all proposed research involving Deaf people/ ASL community must be approved by this organization – ensuring all research findings/publications involve Deaf people/researchers at the top of the hierarchy from the beginning to the end… and becoming more vigilant about detecting and remedying the characteristics of oppression, whether unconscious or conscious in ourselves and others, and educating all.

    on a more positive note… happy new year, everyone 🙂

  52. ASCDEAF January 7, 2010

    Raychelle –

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts once again. Agreed, there is no simple black/white, either/or, good/bad categorization here. The complexities of researcher motivations, goals, behaviors, etc. are indeed as multi-layered and fluid as you describe. We would love to see some kind of monitoring organization to give a stamp of approval to Deaf-related research. That would be a start.

    Coming back to the original intent of the vlog, at this time in our history of rectifying years of of imbalances and oppression, we continue to advocate Deaf-led research, or at the minimum, hearing researchers partnered with Deaf researchers. That is the MAIN point of the vlog. The apparent resistance to doing this, on the part of some hearing researchers, is disturbing and perhaps revealing, of a lack of understanding of the issues involved in research with Deaf people.

    Happy 2010!

  53. ASLforLife January 7, 2010

    I am puzzled right now! You may want to go see my yt link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_8yyc_MvM8

    Oh geez I gotta move my butt to sweep the snow off my car and go work.

  54. ASLforLife January 7, 2010

    And another thing that I had been seeing some Deaf who likes to bash on other Deaf too. I was being blunt to one Deaf vlogger who believes everything from hearing people and shut us up to worship the hearing who loves to overpower on some of us Deaf community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIVpQOAHRWk

  55. ASCDEAF January 19, 2010

    ASLforLife – Thanks for your comments. Sadly, some Deaf people do feel they need to check with hearing people about things – and some hearing people do feel their job is to “help” Deaf people. Here’s hoping that more Deaf people become empowered and learn to trust themselves.

  56. Troubsroamb April 1, 2010

    where did you read this?

  57. AngieDeaf April 17, 2010


    Since they want to study how the brain works, They should study themselves or study their own brain on WHY they want to study deaf people. Why this behavior at all?


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