Media Releases

January 1999


Ever asked (or heard) these questions:

  • "Don’t all Deaf people read lips?"
  • "Is it OK to use the terms ‘deaf-mute’ and ‘deaf-and-dumb’?"
  • "Do all deaf people benefit from hearing aids?"
  • "What bothers a deaf person most about hearing people?"

Ever wondered where you could find answers to these and other such questions, in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format?

For Hearing People Only fills this gap. It’s based on the monthly Q/A column, "For Hearing People Only" in DEAF LIFE, the Deaf community’s #1 independent magazine. "For Hearing People Only" proved so popular, and the editors received so many requests for permission to reprint the installments, they saw a definite need for a book-length compilation. The first 48 installments of "For Hearing People Only" (July 1988-June 1992) are available in paperback form—newly revised, expanded, and illustrated. The second edition is now in its 8th printing.

As the authors say in their introduction:

Why did we title this book For Hearing People Only? Hearing people—those with normal hearing—do not think of themselves as being "hearing people." They think of themselves as, well, people. You are the insiders. To you, we deaf people are the outsiders. You call us "deaf people." But we deaf people see non-deaf people as the outsiders—"hearing people." To deaf people, the non-deaf majority are "hearing people." The labeled minority has its own label for the labeling majority. As a label, "hearing" can have negative or positive connotations, just as "deaf" does in common (Hearing) usage.

Without doubt, there is a need for such a book—an accessible, entertaining, "reader-friendly" approach to a formidably complex subject. It’s not intended as an in-depth excursion, but a quick fix—a beginning scratch, not the final word. Unlike most "explanatory" books on the subject, it’s not at all ponderous or forbidding—it’s attractively designed and fun to read.

The book is intended for laypeople (e.g., "Aunt Clara and Cousin Steve") and high-school or college students—interpreter-training (ITP), Deaf Studies, American history—there are many applications. It can be used as a supplementary or beginning text. Each chapter can be read as an independent unit. Because it deals with some extremely "hot" issues (the cochlear-implant controversy, mainstreaming vs. residential-school placement, the role of ASL in college curriculum, exploitation and discrimination), it will undoubtedly provoke spirited classroom discussion. It has been used in numerous classes across the U.S.A. and beyond for several years. One teacher reported that her students loved the book and wanted to finish the whole thing in one gulp; she had to insist they read only one chapter at a time!

Unlike most classroom textbooks, For Hearing People Only is good for general holiday gift-giving, too.

How does this book differ from existing books on deaf issues? For one thing, For Hearing People Only presupposes no prior acquaintance with Deaf Studies, sign language, or any "Deaf" knowledge at all. It’s written in a simple, clear style, without jargon. Specialized terms are explained. Several illustrations highlight Signs.

What also makes this book unique is that the two co-authors are themselves deaf, and write from firsthand experience. Matthew S. Moore was born deaf, attended the Indiana School for the Deaf and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is a native American Sign Language user whose second language is English. Linda Levitan is progressively-deafened, attended public schools, New York University, University of Kansas, and RIT.

Several letters from readers in response to "For Hearing People Only" installments are included. There are footnotes, an index, a brief bibliography, and a foreword by Harlan Lane, the noted sociolinguist.


For Hearing People Only:
Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions
About the Deaf Community, its Culture, and the "Deaf Reality"

By Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan
With a Foreword by Harlan Lane. Illustrated by Robert L. Johnson
256 pages; $19.95 (paper), U.S.A.
ISBN: 0-9634016-0-2

MSM Productions, Ltd., 1095 Meigs Street, Rochester, NY 14620-2405
For more information: 716-442-6371 (FAX), 716-442-6370 (auto-answer TTY), or (E-mail).

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