Pathologic (Medical) Perspective on Deafness
In the pathologic point of view, the focus is on the amount of hearing loss and how to correct it. This correction is done through using cochlear implants and hearing aids, and learning speech and lipreading. The emphasis is on making the deaf person appear as “normal” as possible, with the perspective that being hearing is to be considered “normal,” and deaf people are not “normal.”
Some people who subscribe to this point of view may also believe that a deaf person has learning or mental/psychological problems. Especially the learning part.
It is true that being unable to hear makes it more difficult to learn auditory languages.. However, many parents of newly identified deaf children are warned that their child may have a “fourth grade reading level,” an outdated statistic. That can scare the parents into committing to the pathological point of view.
A deaf person who is focused on the pathological perspective may declare, “I’m not deaf, I’m hard of hearing!” I have actually heard some deaf people say that.
When Hearing parents have a Deaf child what’s the first thing they do? They go to the “Experts”! What do they tell them? “We have this surgery,” “We have these marvelous Hearing Aids that can help your child!” That schools parents in the Pathological Model.