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She decided to research how these communication obstacles have influenced people who are deaf, starting with the development of romantic relationships.
The experience—funded by a grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts’ Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program—was an enlightening role reversal for Gesicki.
Dates can now be set up through a vast array of social networks such as email, instant messaging, Facebook, and Twitter—with more likely to develop in the future,” she says.
“In addition, many dating sites have emerged exclusive to the deaf community, and the phenomenon of video chat has now allowed communication through sign language, as opposed to the [teletypewriter] system previously used.” In many ways, the dating norms of the hearing impaired are not much different from hearing couple.
No form of communicating, no matter how unconventional it may seem to the larger hearing majority, is out of question when trying to make a deaf romantic relationship work.” After graduation, Gesicki wants to get an interpreter’s license for American Sign Language and go into marketing, with a particular focus on the deaf community.
"I got talking to my current boyfriend first after he friended me on Facebook, and I told him after a few minutes of chatting so he could see the real funny and jokey me before I told him I was deaf. "Have you ever had anyone react in a less than favorable way?
"I haven't had a boyfriend who has reacted badly, but I've had guys interested in me and then put off by my hearing loss, definitely.
Late on the night that was technically no longer my birthday, two women were in bed with me. To say I was obsessed with her would be putting it lightly. A series of grand and momentous and pointless unities that most of us take for granted. These points of connection, the crucial vibrations that give the universe its rhythm — they’re missing. Globally, the number of people with a “disabling hearing loss” is 380 million.
We were bathed in a comforting dark as I snaked my way down her taut torso, stopping briefly to pay heed to the birthmark just below her breast. Every interaction, from the briefest encounter with a barista to the most intimate sexual exchanges, becomes a question for me. What’s left is a desperate chaos, a thousand daily mysteries I will never solve. I struggle mightily to understand them, even in nonromantic contexts. People with gradual hearing loss begin to lose it as early as age 20, according to the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The social scripts of meeting, going on a movie or dinner date, and other activities like the goodnight kiss are also adhered to by the deaf community.” But Gesicki did identify some distinctive challenges deaf individuals face when dating.