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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

NOBREGA, Juliana Donato et al. Identity of the deaf and interventions in health from the perspective of a community of sign language users. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.3, pp. 671-679. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000300013.

The biomedical view sees deafness as a physiological loss of audition and the deaf as individuals with an organic abnormality to be corrected; healthcare interventions support this perception. This study sought to understand deafness from the standpoint of the deaf, in order to identify elements for public policies addressed to them in the context of the ethical dimension of care. The research adopted the qualitative approach (focus groups) and 9 members of a deaf community in Fortaleza (Ceará-Brazil), all fluent in Brazilian Sign Language-LIBRAS, took part. The results show deafness is perceived as a way of being based on day-to-day experiences of visual interaction with nature and society, giving the deaf a different identity in terms of culture (being deaf) and linguistics (LIBRAS). Some public policies for oral training and technological interventions, like cochlear implants, are seen as a setback by the deaf, as it negates their status in the world and involves a loss of identity for the deaf. It is necessary to consider the deaf from a socio-historic, symbolic and cultural standpoint where different discourses co-exist, over and above the physiological dimension.

Keywords : Deafness; Identity; Deaf culture; Health.

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