The time deaf people were ‘linguistic lepers’

In 1973 BBC Two’s Horizon – which celebrates its 50th birthday this month – made its first documentary about deafness. Some forty years later it serves as a fascinating time capsule of attitudes to deafness at the time.

“In our loquacious society, the deaf are linguistic lepers,” notes the commentary from the Curtain of Silence.

“Rarely can we be bothered to make that little extra effort in talking to them, trying to understand them. We give them the jobs we don’t want. Having struggled into our world of speech, their opportunities are very limited.”

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