Abstract: Sensation is the process that enables people’s brains to interpret information received through the five senses. People have normally five senses, and each sense plays a particular role in the organism. In everyday life, individuals use all senses to complete certain tasks; so living with the lack of one sense could make life more challenging. One may ask, how could a person born with the disability of deafness or blindness be independent and what kind of jobs could they do? Firstly, deafness is the loss of the sense of hearing, and blindness is the loss of the sense of sight; however there considerable reasons that might cause these disabilities. One might be born with deafness or blindness; others are born without the disability of deafness or blindness but become deaf or blind suddenly deaf or blind due to certain dysfunctions of some organs, also some chemicals could be responsible to these disabilities. However, the modern society is characterized by a continuous development of technologies, so these developments have a positive impact in the quality of blind or deaf people; the living conditions of those people has really changed and improved compare to past years. And these remarkable developments make them independent, autonomous and free. This paper is a study of deafness and blindness.
Humans were created with physical abilities to perceive the world around them. Through senses, people perceives external stimulus that is then interpret by the brain. Individuals normally have five senses, the five traditionally recognized senses are: sight, taste, hearing, touch and hearing. People feel pains, pressure, tension, temperature, and weight trough the sense of touch; so the organ for the sense of touch is the skin. The skin has receptors that receive signals from the outside and send those signals to the brain to interpret. The sense of smell allows humans to differentiate odors through the nose; the nose has the ability to smell tiny particles in the air, then receptors inside the nose send the information to the master of all senses, the brain. So that people are able to know whether it is a bad odor or good odor; some studies affirmed that the organ of smell influence the way people perceive the taste of food. One may be influence to eat because the food smells good. The second sense is the sense of taste, when it comes to eat; the organ that helps to appreciate tastes is the tongue. Through the tongue, one can say that the food is salty or bitter.
The sense of hearing allows people to hear sounds, appreciate melodies, and communicate with people around. People use their ears to hear; however it is a complex process it is not only about the external part of ears. Ears have several parts, including the external, middle and inner portions; so in order to hear, sound enter the ears then travel to the auditory canal and the tympanic membrane, which then go deeper in the inner part, so that the auditory nerve sends signals to the brain. When the vibrations are interpreted, people easily differentiate music from thunder. So when one of these parts is affected, people may end up being deaf.
So for the sense of sight, the major organ is the eye; the eye works in collaboration with the brain. Eyes help people to perceive the height, colors, width, and depth or things; to perceive things eyes need the light to be present, in the light environment, the vision is more controlled by cones which are inside the retina; so when the light penetrate eyes, eyes’ lens focus the light and then the image is focused on a region of retina.; Then the image will be sent to the brain for interpretation. However, rods work well in low light conditions, there are inside the retina; so when people transit form light from darkness to light, they experience a delay to see things around them; this happen because rods need to take control so the transition between rods and cones cause the delay when moving in the darkness. When some parts eyes do not function properly, it might cause defects on our ability to perceive our environment.
Actually people need their eyes and ears to know more about their surroundings and be involved in communities around the world; so blindness and deafness could limit people and hinders them to have a normal life or be involved in communities. One may say that having these two disabilities (deafness or blindness) would make life more miserable, people that do not have these disabilities could not imagine life without the five senses; as they rely on them to complete certain tasks. So people who are completely blind face many challenges in their life; they have a difficult time when they try to move or walk around, especially when they are not familiar with the area. In fact, even walking outside familiar spaces could still be challenging; so that is why blind people usually take with them sighted friends when they are moving around. Moreover, living with blind people is not easy as well; when living with a blind person, people should not move items in their home. The design of the house should remain the same for years, because blind people do their best to memorize the location of everything in the house to avoid accidents; each member should always care about walkways for their safety.
Besides having challenges with the environment, blind people could face social challenges as well. Blindness may hinder people to have access to certain activities and to perform some jobs; therefore, blind people do not easily choose a career. This may have a negative impact on their finances, because some blind people think that they are not able to perform any work, so blindness could make life worse for some. Furthermore, blind people cannot use internet and mobile devices such as cellphones.
Deaf people also face hard challenges. First of all, deaf people do not hear anything at all; so those people have lost their sense of hearing, it is just hard to imagine life without hearing any sounds, any music or noise. A study showed that when people are born with this disability (deafness) lack attention to sounds, they do not respond when someone calls them, they show delays in speech and language development, also they have difficulty achieving academically especially in reading and math. (SITE) So hearing loss might have negative impacts on speech and language acquisition, also on academic achievements and on social and emotional development; most people with hearing loss do have hearing parents and no history of hearing loss in their families. Majority of parents that have children born deaf are unable to effectively communicate and engage in deep communication with their deaf children. Therefore, a child born with deafness may be unable to participate adequately in family conversation. It is evident that deafness affects language skill, as said by Skinner: ” language is learned through reinforcements.”; meaning that the environment influence our way of learning languages. Language is learned from hearing our surroundings, so as deaf people cannot hear; they should definitely struggle to speak as well. It is surprising that there are not good at school; because every subject requires knowledge of language to understand, that is why deaf people need to go to specific school in order to overcome these challenges.
As deaf people could not communicate by speaking, they use appropriate strategies to communicate with their surroundings, and they have a range of ways to communicate; there is no a specific way for every deaf people to communicate. Some of them use sign language to communicate, others use lip-reading. Lip-reading is not commonly used among people born deaf, because they do not know about words; as born deaf, they have heard about words in their life. But those who suddenly become deaf might use this strategy. Actually this is a technique of interpreting the lips movement to understand people, so they also pay attention on facial expressions as well; facial expression is a key when deaf people try to communicate, they rely more on it. Compare to under languages, this technique is hard to use for English people; because many words have the same lip pattern so it hard to differentiate similar words. By using this strategy, people could easily misunderstand. Sign language in contrast, is popular among those born deaf. This method rely on eyes, it is visual; people use their hands to be understand and to understand others. This technique has its own rules; others use a combination of lip- reading and sign language. So some deaf people change their way of communication depending on situations or context in which they are communicating; the most important thing to do is to ask them how they want to communicate and help them. (SITE)
So in order to facilitate the communication with deaf people, people should try to get their attention, then face them when discussing, also speak clearly and naturally, never cover the mouth, reduce background noise, and lastly never give up or say ” I will tell you later”. (Site) It is more complicated for deaf people to communicate than blind people, blindness does not have an impact on language acquisition; blind people hear normally. The interesting fact about deafness is that some deaf people, especially those born deaf, are normally born with the ability to talk but as they have never about sounds, they are not able to control their voices; some might try to talk but the sound is weird.
However, scientists invented a cochlear implant in order to improve the quality of their life. It is a treatment for people with a profound hearing loss; it is surgically implanted. A cochlear implant helps to listen and to communicate as well. This method is more convenient because it replace the function of the damaged parts of ears, so people could then hear sounds and this will improve speaking as well. But the cochlear implant does not restore complete the sense of hearing; people are still dissatisfied. Scientists tested this device, the results showed that a considerable amount of people were satisfied using a cochlear implant in a calm environment, but in a noisy environment this device was not efficient.
Blind people could speak but still face other challenges. However, there is a considerable increase in the living conditions of blind people compare to past years. People with blindness could do anything; however today, blindness does not hinder people to be independent, scientists invented some devices such as a white cane and the electromagnetic torch to help them to walk around alone. Some studies showed that his device is not completely efficient. Despite it is a passive technology with a limited range of work; it is completely sufficient for a safe mobility since it requires intensive training by instructors, also this devise is easy to use and does costs that much. (site)
Blind people also use guide dogs to travel, this technique seems to be impossible to those who rely on vision; actually a guide dog is a dog trained to guide blind individuals, and also blind people are assisted by sighted (humans) guide. Many blind persons use this method of sighted guide; a blind person is assisted by someone else who does not have this disability. All these methods are making life easier for blind people and allow them to be more independent, there are many others devices to help them read and write, but it was proved that these devices still have some limited functionalities; and others are expensive.
A common question is that what kinds of jobs are suitable for them? One may say, having these disabilities limit career options for blind and deaf people. However with today’s technology and the evolution of the world today has changed everything today. In the past it was impossible for blind people to be chefs, Architect, or doctors. With the technology, blind people are able to perform unbelievable tasks; a blind person could be a doctor, a chef, or a politician. So it is important for everyone to realize that they are normal persons, statistics showed that people born blind are better at work than people that suddenly become blind. It is because those born with the disability of blindness grow up learning everyday non visual strategies to compensate to the lack of vision. So some people today under estimate blind people, but the truth is that they might be more talented in some field than those who do not have the disability. Tim Cordes for instance was blind but he was a well reputed physician, and he was the second blind person to go to a medical school; this is unbelievable but it is a reality. Many think that blind people are supposed to be poor or miserable their all life; this is false. There are many famous musicians that are blind; it is true that they face many challenges in their life, but blindness should not be considered the principal factor that could make a person’s life miserable. Blind individuals are forced to rely on other senses, and they do have enhanced abilities in others senses, such as touch, or hearing. Having a good control on others senses might enable them to be doctors and good singers.
Although these disabilities cannot stop people to work normally because of technology, technology does not make does not make their life perfect, One may use his cochlear implant to communicate, but this device loses its efficiency when there is noise; so deaf people might be able to be a teacher or a doctor. But researches have demonstrated that a deaf teacher has difficulties teaching in a noisy classroom, and some physicians have difficulties listen to heart rates. There are considerable imperfections with this device. It can be conclude that blind or deaf people may today be independent, and be able to work as well no matter their disabilities.
It could be possible to imagine or to believe that in twenty years or thirty years, so probably in 2040 or 2050, these disabilities could disappear, especially deafness; in some country such as Australia, the cochlear implant is implanted to six months old children, knowing functions of cochlear implants, this seems to be a genius idea. Because the child will grow up knowing sounds and he will certainly speak correctly. Retina prosthesis also, devices for artificial vision, is being processing. This device was tested is someone and the person was able to see outlines of objects. As technology improves every day, scientists might end up finding solutions.
In my point of view, yes, technologies, scientists help to restore vision and hearing, people tend to rely more on technologies and doctors but they ignore the considerable job of psychologists as well. In fact, deaf or blind people also have emotional, psychological and social issues; some of them experience depression, anxiety as well. Some other deaf or blind people may develop very bad behaviors; so psychologists have a considerable impact on their life, they usually have to help them accept their conditions and live with that. When someone accepts his physical handicap, he will try to be confident, which is the key to success. Being able to see does not guarantee a successful life, life is all about confidence. Also in some countries, blind and deaf people are neglected and useless to the society. They are normal people, they deserve to be treat with respect and dignity, however when it comes to job, I think they should have limited career options for their safety. And I will suggest blind people to get for jobs that are more about speaking and or deaf people it is better to get a job that require sight than hearing or speaking. Or they may launch their own business.
In conclusion, Blindness or deafness has negative effects in all aspects of life. Recent studies showed that blind or deaf people rely on other senses; those people face challenges everyday of their life, it may be hard for them to get but even after hiring they still have challenges; they might be discriminated because of their disabilities, so life could be more difficult for them. But evidences has shown that these disabilities could make life challenging, but do not stop people to be independent or successful. Humans are born with a remarkable capacity to adapt to changes that may occur in their life, so they just need a support everyone, encouragement as well. However, there are many others questions related to this subject, one may ask how blind and deaf people perceive the world? How do they think about themselves or their surroundings? Do they live in an imaginary world? So, additional investigations should be done in order to respond to these questions.