The Deaf-mute


Deaf-mute is a congenital or acquired deafness in early childhood and the absence of speech due to it.

Mastery of verbal speech normally occurs on the basis of auditory perception of the speech of others and imitation of it. If a child is born deaf or loses hearing before the development of speech (up to 1 year), then he is deprived of the opportunity to master speech without special training techniques. Quite often, even with the later appearance of deafness (at the age of 2-3 years), speech that has already developed to some extent, but is not sufficiently consolidated, is lost unless special measures are taken to preserve and develop it.

The cause of deafness can be any congenital anomalies of the auditory organ and those transferred in early childhood leading to deafness (see). There are usually no pathological changes in the speech apparatus for deaf-mutes.


The recognition of a deaf mute is reduced to determining the connection between the absence of speech and hearing impairment. In adults and older children, this is not difficult. Significant difficulties arise in the diagnosis of deaf-mute in young children. The lack of hearing in infants and in children of younger preschool age often goes unnoticed, and the reason for seeking help is usually a delay in the development of speech or the disintegration of speech that has already begun to form. In these cases, the delineation of deaf-mutes from speech disorders in normal hearing (see Alalia , Aphasia ) is often a difficult task and requires the participation of doctors and educators (otorhinolaryngologist, psychoneurologist, surdopedagogist, speech therapist) in the examination of the child.

Treatment, prevention. Since hearing damage for deaf-mutes is usually the result of either an innate maldevelopment of the auditory organ, or complete pathological processes accompanied by the death of its nerve elements, treatment of deaf-mute is ineffective. In the presence of residual pathological processes in the auditory organ, treatment is performed at the direction of the otorhinolaryngologist.

The struggle with deaf-mute is to prevent and eliminate the causes that cause congenital deafness and deafness in early childhood (see Deafness), and also to overcome its consequences through special education and training of children deprived of hearing. The law on universal compulsory education that exists in the USSR extends to the deaf and dumb. All deaf-mute children, starting from the toddlers' age, are covered by a network of special institutions (nurseries, kindergartens, schools ). In these institutions deaf-mutes master verbal speech, including its oral form, receive general education and vocational training. When teaching deaf-mute verbal speech, visual perception of oral speech (reading from the lips ) and finger alphabet (dactylology) is used. As ancillary tools, tactile-vibrational sensations and deaf-and-dumb rests of hearing are used. Deaf persons use in the USSR all civil rights. In all the union republics there are deaf and dumb communities, which do a great job in vocational training, employment and cultural and welfare services for the deaf.