Media Releases

January 1998

A DASH OF ENLIGHTENMENT

The second edition of For Hearing People Only, the best-selling beginners’ guidebook about the Deaf community, communication, and people, is now in its 7th printing.

In Fall 1992, MSM Productions, Ltd., a small, independent Deaf-owned multimedia company, published its first book, For Hearing People Only, by Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan, Co-Editors-in-Chief of DEAF LIFE. In Fall 1993, the second edition, completely revised and expanded, was published, and remains Deaf Life Press’ most popular book. It has gone through six printings in 4-1/2 years.

When DEAF LIFE began monthly publication in July 1988, it included a question-and answer column, "For Hearing People Only." Its purpose: to provide simple, clear, nontechnical answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about deaf people, sign language, the community, and what Moore and Levitan call "the Deaf reality." Each monthly installment featured a new question and answer: "What is ASL?" "Do all deaf people benefit from hearing aids?" "Is it okay to use ‘deaf-mute’ and ‘deaf-and-dumb’? "Is there one sign language for all countries?" "Can’t all deaf people read lips?" Some questions were sent or asked directly by readers; others were based on questions Moore and Levitan, or others, had been asked.

This feature became so popular that Moore and Levitan decided to publish a complete and expanded collection of questions and answers in book form. With the publication of For Hearing People Only, Deaf Life Press, MSM Productions’ imprint, was launched.

Moore and Levitan chose the title to make readers think. Hearing people don’t think of themselves in terms of being "hearing"—that is, their descriptions of themselves would undoubtedly include ethnic, gender, age, geographic, and occupational "labels," but not "hearing." Hearing people tend not to think of themselves in those terms. But deaf people are usually labeled "deaf" or "non-hearing." What happens when the minority labels the majority? Moore and Levitan are perfectly aware that deaf people read the column and the book, and it’s for them, too.

The authors say: "Ignorance about deaf people is everywhere. We have encountered a lot of ignorance, misunderstanding, and stereotypical thinking. But when an uneducated person asks a question, even a ‘dumb’ question, that’s a first step towards enlightenment. Not all ‘dumb’ questions are dumb. But even ‘dumb’ questions deserve an intelligent response. Hearing readers appreciate having their questions answered simply and clearly, in a handy one-stop format. Deaf readers appreciate having the book available; it frees them from having to answer the same questions over and over again."

HPO has been used in interpreter-training classes, basic Sign Language and Deaf Studies courses, and Deaf Awareness seminars. It’s been read by parents, relatives, employers, co-workers, teachers, and friends of deaf people. Response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Single copies of the paperback edition (ISBN 0-9634016-1-0) are available for $19.95 plus $3.00 postage & handling (total $22.95); $27.95 in Canada (U.S. funds only). The hardcover edition (ISBN 0-9634016-2-9) is $35.00 (plus $2.50 postage and handling (38.00 Canada). Quantity discounts are available. For ordering information, contact Deaf Life Press, 1095 Meigs Street, Rochester, NY 14620-2405; (716) 442-6370 (TTY); (716) 442-6371 (FAX); deaflife@deaflife.com (E-mail).

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MSM Productions, Ltd., is a small, independent multimedia company whose motto is "Deaf Awareness is Our Business." It was founded in 1983 by Matthew S. Moore, a Deaf alumnus of Rochester Institute of Technology. Its flagship publication, DEAF LIFE, is a slick-format monthly magazine focusing on news, issues, events, and personalities. DEAF LIFE will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with the July 1998 issue. Deaf Life Press, MSM Productions’ imprint, publishes high-quality books on Deaf issues and by Deaf authors. The second edition of For Hearing People Only is now in its 7th printing. Other Deaf Life Press titles include Great Deaf Americans: The Second Edition and a new full-color children’s picture book about the Deaf President Now revolution, Victory Week. MSM Productions, Ltd., recently expanded into the Internet. Its first Website, www.DEAFLIFE.COM, was launched in Fall 1997, and www.DEAF.COM is slated to be launched this Spring. It’s planned as a major one-stop source of information about the Deaf community, with resources, news, profiles, and other useful features.

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