ASL-Lite for Late Life Hearing Loss?

Here is a study that says mental capacity declines when old people go deaf or become hard of hearing. Having personal experience with the Deaf (well, I took a class taught by someone in the Deaf community), this isn’t happening because being deaf makes you stupid. This has to be happening because of the suddenly empoverished linguistic environment people find themselves in when suddenly they can’t communicate in English with anyone. The article says, “well, we just don’t know” and suggest maybe the strain of trying to extract a single from a weak noise is the cause.

Link to Article

For people familiar with the chatter in the ASL community, when they think of new languages/ conlangs, they probably think first of things like Signed Exact English. The problem with ASL for late life hearing loss is that old people hardly socialize are not likely to seek out the Deaf community who use ASL. And if they did, they would find that they are on a multi-year program to learn a foreign language that is as hard as Chinese for an English speaker. The problem with SEE is that people think that they will be able to leverage their English and just write English in the air with their hands (the same bad idea that led to people trying to use fingerspell all-the-frickin-time) Signing is different enough from spoken speech that you need to have a human communication system that accounts for the rate that you can sign, the fact that you have two hands and a face (and can send 3 signals at the same time), etc.

Globish and Basic English were both conlangs that took a larger language and reduced it to a subset. The languages that result are on the conlang continuum, somewhere around the “con-dialect” area because there is at least 1 way complete comprehension. English speakers read Basic English effortlessly, but a person who knows Basic English will only understand some fraction of full English.

Maybe someone needs to make up a Basic ASL or Ayesselish, a limited vocab and limited grammar subset of ASL. That way someone who is late life deaf could communicated to the Deaf (and understand some % of what they get back) or more likely, two users of Basic ASL (both late life deaf or HH) would use basic ASL to talk to each other.

Anyhow, I’ve already learned Basic ASL, I got 500 words that me and my fiancee plan to use with Baby as part of Baby ASL and when I start to lose my hearing like my Dad and my Uncle, I’m ready to do do Old Fart ASL.

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