Structure and Rationale of the Study
To communicate is to satisfy man’s individual need for social, emotional, and human development. Communication is considered a basic human need for people cannot not communicate. We all need to communicate to develop our full potentials.
These potentialities, however, are being held up in the case of the hearing-impaired people. They are not able to develop their full potentials for their faculty of understanding is also impaired. They have the special need of having other means of communicating. They are in need of a medium that would help them express and communicate what is on their minds. Concisely, they need to engage in communication activities that would cater and satisfy their special needs – to understand and to be understood.
Hearing impairment is the most common birth defect. Statistics show that there are about 3 in every 1000 babies born with hearing impairment (KidsHealth.org, nd). Hearing impairment happens when there is a defect with a part or parts of the ears. Also, a hearing-impaired is observed to be hearing only some sounds or nothing at all.
In the Philippine survey conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines (UP) in 2003, hearing disability ranked second highest form of disability with a percentage rate of 33%. Moreover, according to the DOH National Registry in 1997, 17% or 97,957 per 577,345 Filipinos are hearing-impaired (Better Hearing Philippines Inc, 2008).
These figures show that there is a huge number of Filipinos suffering from communication related problems. Millions of them are having difficulties in communicating effectively with the hearing population. There are great numbers of Filipinos whose potentialities in terms of communicating were not well developed.
Moreover, the public has generally overlooked the deaf (Groht, 1958). The physically challenged are the ones tolerating the discrimination and underestimation of the normal population. It is not just the physical challenge that the hearing-impaired have to cope with but also the treatment of people they are interacting with. Consequently, people who are physically challenged are seen and treated differently. Though the society is gradually changing its outlook in acceptance of disabled individuals (Groht, 1958), it still exhibits a special eye towards what we see as disadvantaged people. “Unfortunate” human being, “not given great opportunities to explore the world,” “pitiful,” and “abnormal” are just some of the labels people attach to “differently-abled” people like the hearing-impaired.
Since the hearing-impaired people are also human beings, they need communication to live. Though marginalized, they are still trying to communicate in their own ways to interact with other people. They need the society to satisfy the need to exchange ideas and meanings. They are in need of a socialization process that only the...