Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Deaf in China

I was having an interesting conversation with my students from Hong Kong and China recently, about deafness. She told me that they never see any deaf people in Hong Kong or China. They didn't know why, but they just didn't.

I had a wee laugh over this initially because what do 'deaf' people look like??? We dont exactly standout a crowd.

But the conversation made me curious about it. So over to my trusty google button to find out numbers. Numbers of deaf people in Hong Kong is 'unknown'...

Hong Kong
Number: : Unknown. In 1982-1983, 1880 moderately- to severely-hearing impaired children were enrolled in Hong Kong schools or other programs.
Prevalence: Audiometric screening programs in schools suggest the rate of profound deafness (defined as greater than 90 dB) among Hong Kong children is 30.3 per 100,000; the rate of severe deafness (defined as between 56 and 90 dB) appears to be 50.14 per 100,000 (1983).
-- (Gallaudet Encyclopedia, vol.2 p.73.)

However, number of deaf people in China seems to be quite considerable..
According to the China Disabled Persons' Federation website, China has approximately 21 million people with hearing loss out of 60 million disabled.

Well they do have a large population, but I was surprised how easy it was to get information like for China, when it was difficult to get Hong Kong. I had expected the ease of information would have been the other way round.

The website for Chinese Deaf culture was quite interesting. Explanations for their sign language and how it is based, the current research that the chinese are doing for the deaf. And the most interesting .. 'Tonal rehabiliation for cochlear implants'. Very interesting, because...

Chinese language is very tonal, especially Mandarin. The tone of a word is everything - a higher pitched tone will mean one thing, and a lower something else. So how do hearing impaired, and profoundly deaf people without sign language get on? Tone is something that you can't lipread. I was also informed that the Cantonese language rarely moves lips. I wonder if Cochlear Implants help with this a little, a lot, not at all?

If anyone reading this knows anything about this topic at all, please leave me a message as I'm very curious.

aka Curious George :)


Kim said...

Yeah-- it IS interesting. Now I'm curious too. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is a higher rate of abandonment of disabled children in China. Each family is only allowed one child, so when parents find out their only child is disabled, there is a higher chance of abandoning them or giving them up for adoption.

Abbie said...

Oh, now I am on a researching kick on the Chinese culture!

silverdorothy said...

Hi Robyn,
I have just had this conversation today with our surgeon, Robert Gunn and also Ellen during my second MAPing session. Robert has just returned on Sunday from an international conference. Aparently most Chinese children with 'Cochlear' implants are developing a western accent -True! Cochlear is working on tonal differentiation at presant and they hope the next generation of their processors will be able to cater for tonal diferentiation. Robert says this will also have a great advantage for us who want to enjoy music again. He expects there will be a music setting on the next processors. We just have to wait our five years until we qualify! All these thigs don't mean that much though if our implant don't function to their fullest. I'm interested in new implant with needing extra volume and not having all the electrodes functioning and also the nerve stimulation etc. I have all 22 functioning electrodes however another two were switched off today and so working with just 16 as surrounding nerves are being stimulated which is quite disapointing. I can't use the mini BTE now as I way up there in voltage so the mini can't manage the current draw. Even since I came home I think I will be needing more volume. If that is the case I will may lose another two electrodes in two weeks time when I get a new MAP. However its not all bad as Robert has booked me in for July 14th for my second implant. What I 'hear' at the moment is way better than being totally deaf and not even being able to hear myself. I think I (and everyone else)sound terrible and tend to grieve for the perfect hearing I had last year. I just came accross this as I was looking for the photo of your MAP so I could compare the 'C' levels. I will add my photo to my blog tomorrow. Feel free to add the link if any of your corrospondents are interested in a boring deafie bloke.


Robyn said...

I saw Robert today - but we didnn't talk about this. He was checking my wound site as Im still getting quite a bit of pain.

I wouldn't be too worried about 16 electrodes. That's all I have and I'm hearing at 98% open set sentences without lipreading. The volume will settle down - I too kept needing more and more volume at first, but after two weeks this settled down a lot.

I can't have the mini BTE because of this either - but am not to worried, as long as I have a Bte I'm quite happy. One thing Ellen said to me is that Cochlear is meant to be working on an MP3000 speech strategy that will use less battery power ( a lot less ) so there may be hope for us yet!!

I can't have a 2nd impalnt ever, as the other side is dead so Im very keen to hear how you do with two.

Anyway - I would love to meet up with you next time you're in Akld for a mapping - can you swing it?


silverdorothy said...

Hi again,
My wife Carmen and I will be back for another MAPing on Thursday 5th June. We will be staying over night so can catch up on either day. I was at Roberts at 10.00am so probably just missed you!

Cheers colin

Robyn said...

I've pencilled you in my diary for the 5th. Let me kow what time you'll be there and i'll come over. I'll let ellen and Gayle know sso they can organise us to have coffee :)

I'm going on the 3rd for a remapping.

I did just miss you - i walked in probably as you were leaving as I got there just on 10am!!