Hearing management

Updated 30 January 2015

SA to get sign language Bible

An attempt is being made to do produce a Bible in South African sign language, as deaf people continue to experience high levels of marginalisation.

The lack of South African sign language proficiency is pushing the Reformed Church of SA to make strides in translating the Bible, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

For the deaf, to read a Bible in anything other than sign language is like reading something in a third or fourth language, said Ananda van der Walt.

She is a part-time back-translator at the Hands with Words project aiming to produce the sign language Bible. Van der Walt said there was a great need for this in the deaf community.

Deaf persons in South Africa continue to be marginalised and excluded due to a general lack of understanding of deaf culture. This limits the social participation and integration of deaf persons in society.

A first for SA

It is the first time an attempt has been made to do produce a Bible in South African sign language, according to Van der Walt.

Lisa Craye, executive director of Hands with Words, said their goal was to complete 32 of the Bible's evangelical texts by end of this year.

The non-profit organisation has completed 16 since it started the project in 2013.

In the quest for equality for deaf South Africans, the minister for basic education announced last year that sign language will be introduced in the curriculum of schools in 2015.

This came on the backdrop of debates whether or not to include sign language as one of the country's official languages.

Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss is normally divided into two categories: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. One can also have a mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of the two.

People who cannot hear are usually described as being “hearing impaired”. This term includes different types of hearing loss, regardless of the nature, cause and extent.

Here is a closer look at the different terms and descriptions:

Deafness: a word describing a person who cannot use his hearing.

Hard of hearing: a person whose hearing is not within normal limits, but who can use the residue of his hearing (especially aided by hearing aids) to hear speech.

Deaf and dumb: a term used in the past. Nowadays it is inappropriate because all people with a hearing loss can be taught to communicate.

Read more:

7 benefits of sign language
Deaf people read language much faster
The perception of sound

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Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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