Can depression lead to deafness?

Pregnant Woman
Can pregnant women suffering from severe depression cause deafness of their children? Is there a psychological connection between a mother and her unborn baby which can affect the development of his senses?

In our House Visits activity, I often ask the parents especially the mother, about her perceived cause of her child’s deafness. Most often, they reveal that they suffered German Measles during first trimester of pregnancy or since they have relatives who are also deaf, they identify their child’s deafness as hereditary. Some even shamelessly claim that their children became deaf because of their carelessness and misuse of medicines. But I rarely hear a mother who disclosed her child’s deafness due to her too much depression during pregnancy, until now.

The first time I encountered this situation was when I taught at CAP College School for the Deaf way back 1992. A very good looking young student has no idea why he became deaf. When I met her mother and congratulated her for having a handsome and loving child, she told me that she never expected her son to become deaf. She narrated to me that during her pregnancy, her husband, whom she married just a few months ago, left her for another woman. This devastated her. Her life was in shambles. She was so melancholic. But she never tried to abort her son. In fact, she even nurtured him because she knew that the child will be her only remembrance of her philandering husband. She thought that she might use her son as a leverage in order for her husband to return to her although her husband never came back. Even if what she said was true, I have no idea if that’s the real cause or it’s just one of those myths. Maybe she had other symptoms that she might have forgotten or mistook this with another one.

Fast forward to the present, I again encountered the same situation. Only this time, the husband never left. But the wife wished he had. The father was a very good provider. But it’s the physical and emotional abuses which had a great impact on the worsening condition of the family. When I asked about her son’s cause of deafness, the mother replied with another question. She said she was very much depressed when she was pregnant. Then, she asked, “Was this the cause of my son’s deafness?”

I am no doctor. I’m not an expert on this field. I only responded by saying that I came across the same situation more than a decade ago. This is the second time I heard about it and I don’t even know if that’s the real cause of her son’s deafness. Still she insists that it was the only thing she remembered as the cause of her son’s hearing loss.

In spite of being with the deaf people for nearly two decades, I still don’t know a great deal about them. But I have to equip myself with information in order to better understand them and offer assistance. So, I googled about this and found out that there is such a thing as Psychogenic Hearing Loss. According to, this type of deafness

“originates in the mind of an individual and is thereby psychological rather than physiological in nature. The loss may be classified either as intentional and based on underlying motives such as monetary compensation or sympathy needs or unintentional and based on underlying stress or anxiety.”

So there is a scientific evidence that tension or anxiety may lead to hearing loss. However, the study only reveals deafness among children and adults, not babies in their wombs.

Do you know of anyone who had the same situation?

Philippine National Anthem Video in Filipino Sign Language

Watch this 1.24-minute video-dramatization of the Philippine National Anthem signed by deaf students using Filipino Sign Language. The nineteenth century costumes were used highlighting the country’s condition and uprising against colonial Spanish era. It has both Tagalog and English captions. The presentation was videotaped behind the picturesque mountains of San Mateo in Rizal province. It is a 6,000 sq. m. property where the future site of MCCID will be erected.

This activity was conceptualized by MCCID Faculty Sir Jefferson Cortez as part of his Filipino Sign Language class. Lucky McGill Paltep (the one holding the Philippine Flag), a 2nd year Diploma in Arts and Computer Design Technology (DACDT) deaf student choreographed the sequences. Maricris Siping did the sign language interpretation. Overall director was MCCID Deaf Coordinator Sir Ervin Reyes.

Read more about how this short video presentation took shape and some insights about being a deaf person on the blog of my idol-friend Jeff. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Philippine Supreme Court Hires its First Deaf Employee

This is a welcome news amidst a series of depressing ones. After hearing from known economists painting a bleak outlook on the employment opportunities for Filipinos, here comes a good news. Another deaf person overcame his disability and became the first. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arthur Principe
In a precedent-setting move, Chief Justice Reynato Puno approved the application of Arthur Principe, a BS Business Administration major in Management graduate of CAP College School for the Deaf. To know more about CAP, please read my blog post about the history of Philippine Deaf Education. On March 12, Principe started working as part of Associate Justice Arturo Brionโ€™s staff. He was given the position of a co-terminus utility worker, the report added.

Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno has approved the hiring in an effort to give equal employment opportunity to persons with disabilities (PWD). Principe was recommended for employment by Justice Arturo D. Brion who, himself, has a hearing impairment.

Principe started working last March 12 as a utility worker at the office of Justice Brion. He manages files, encodes and photocopies documents, and does errands. He communicates with his officemates mostly through writing and at times through sign language for those who are familiar with it.

Justice Brionโ€™s judicial staff head, lawyer Julieta Y. Carreon, describes Principe as a “very efficient and a good natured person.” “He is no different from the other workers. His disability is not a hindrance to his work. He is very much willing to learn. Working with him is a learning experience for us at the same time,” Carreon said.

According to them, Principe is the first deaf person who worked at the highest court of the land, much like Emilie Padullon worked on the highest office of the country.

I believe aside from CAP College, he was also a product of NOVA-CBM ICT Training Center, a training arm of the Nova Foundation for Differently Abled Persons Inc., a Philippine-based non-government organization. Many of our graduates also benefited from the corporate training Nova gives to the deaf including those hired at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Principe was also interviewed by a news program “24 Oras” aired by GMA Network.

So to Honorable Chief Justice Puno and Justice Brion, thank you very much for believing in the capabilities of our deaf! To Arthur this blog salutes you! Make the Filipino deaf community proud of your success and blessings. ๐Ÿ™‚

May I clarify some points to reporters who write news about the deaf?

  1. Next time you make an article about them, kindly refer to them as simply “DEAF” and NOT “DEAF-MUTE”. This is how they are called non-offensively. This is similar to the way that “colored” was once used to describe African Americans but is now looked upon as derogatory. Many deaf people can speak. They are not short-tongued. This name-calling is really frowned upon by the deaf community worldwide.
  2. Please check your details first before writing your news. In the Manila Bulletin news article made by Rey Panaligan, entitled “Hiring of deaf-mute OKโ€™d” (deaf-mute again!), he wrongly placed CAP College in Pasay City instead of Makati City. People often commit mistakes when they refer to school for the deaf. Everybody knows that Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) is in Pasay City. It was there since 1907. But not all schools for the deaf are located in Pasay City.
  3. A similar blunder was also made by GMA News when they mentioned in their news entitled, SC accepts first deaf-mute employee, that Principe studied college at PSD. Well, the last time I heard, PSD only offers up to secondary education. They never offer college courses.

Gov. Grace Padaca for Vice President, why not?

Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca
Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca

I noticed in my Blog Stats that there was a sudden surge of visitors to my blog post about Isabela Governor Grace Padaca. It is understandable because of the recent news floating around about the impending tandem between her and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio in the 2010 Presidential Elections. There was even a video from a local giant network asking the same question about her plans.

Of course we expect some quarters to raise their voices in disagreement especially the present dispensation. Some even say she is not yet ripe to sit on the second to the highest position of the land.

But whatever decision she makes, whatever plans she takes, I’m sure it would be for the good of the whole country. It would also be to support the cause of all Filipino Persons With Disabilities. Mula po ng naisabatas ang Sectoral Representative sa Kongreso, wala pa po ni isang PWD na nakaupo dito. Wala pong kinatawan ang may kapansanan sa paggawa ng batas para sa kanilang kapakanan. Sana po magkaroon na. (Ever since the Sectoral Representative was put into law by Congress, not one Person With Disability has ever been elected. No PWD was represented in congress and has passed laws for their welfare. I hope this time there would be one.)

So, to Ma’am Grace, this blogger salutes you and will support you all the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gadgets Madness

I know this is somewhat off-topic. It’s my blog! I can write whatever pleases me so long as it is informative and I won’t be cajoling my readers. I might probably even ask for your help in deciding. I’ll relate it with the deaf a bit later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Text Messaging

Last Wednesday (March 18), was one of those hectic, one-next-to-another schedule I had in years. After working my brains out at the school completing some paper works, I was juggling my time by attending to some parents of our deaf students trying my best to meet their concerns, which is mostly a communication thing between them and their students, the usual. I was unaware that my Nokia N80 cellphone which I bought nearly three years ago, conked out. Late in the afternoon, I started to wonder why for the first time in years, nobody texted me. There was no prompt message on the screen. Hmmm…. that’s odd. So I opened my message inbox. Lo and behold! I had nine incoming text messages, most of them work related and extremely important! What happened to my cellphone? What went wrong?

So every few minutes, I open my inbox which I don’t normally do. Then, I panicked! What will I do? It’s been three years since I bought a new cell. Do I think it’s time to take a leap to a new one?

In one of my text messages, my college best bud Sammy Mazo and his wife Mel informed me that they would be leaving back to Singapore, their current home base, after taking care of things here for the last few days. They want us to have a quick, unplanned and uncoordinated reunion with our other common college best friends Vicky Jamoralin and Susan Abada. I told them I’m available but only up to 8:00 pm because I have to be in our mini-web design conference in Ortigas. So after a few text exchanges, I arrived at SM North EDSA first, then Susan, then Sammy. We ate at Tokyo Tokyo when Vicky came. The reunion was a total blast! I had a really grand time. It’s a good thing Susan’s beau Jhun is a cellphone technician. When I related to him my cellphone ailment, he recommended that I reset it using *#7370# code. I asked him if all of my messages, (all 2,200 of them) would be erased including my contacts if I reset it? He said yes. Ugh! Again I panicked! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My very first cell phone way back 1996
My very first cell phone way back 1996 is Nokia 2110i.

Cellphones are now becoming an all-important gadget a modern man has to have. In 1996, my cousin sold me Nokia 2110i from Globe Telecom. Back then, very very few people are into mobile phones. They find them heavy, bulky on the pocket, expensive and no functional use. I don’t know why I bought it. I am even more inclined to buy a TTY than a cellphone. So after a few months of use or, shall we say non-use, I placed it on our school’s cabinet for safekeeping. I don’t have anyone to talk to. Nobody in my circle of friends own a similar gadget.

I remember one of the first commercials of Globe Telecom way back 1996(?) (I wish somebody would upload it in YouTube), where two mid-twenties guys texting each other. The first guy was informing his girl through text how he was accepted in a company. The girl then gave sweet replies. They decided to meet up in a cozy restaurant. The text messages went back and forth. Then when they arrived at the place, the guy suddenly made hand signs. Then the girl replied with her own hand signs. They were both deaf! Text messaging has empowered deaf people! I don’t know if my perception jibes with the company’s intention. But I assume they believe that deaf people are a potent market for text messaging. I told you I can relate this post to the deaf. hehehe

A couple of years later, texting caught the attention of mainstream mortals. They find it a cheaper (Php1.00 per text) and faster way to send their messages across. Soon the SMS mobile history caught on. But not for me.

Then in 2000, after being surrounded by deaf people using cellphones and with constant prodding, nudging and convincing from them for me to buy one, I succumbed to their pressures. But I promised myself I won’t buy the same model as theirs. I want to be a cut above the rest. So while everyone taps the keypads of Nokia 3210, I bought Nokia 7110, the one with big head but couldn’t change its case. A year later, when my deaf brother Ervin upgraded his phone to Nokia 5110, I changed mine to Nokia 5510, the blue one shaped like a game boy. In 2002, I again switched to Nokia 3600, the one with circular keypad and a VGA camera. Ervin bought an upgraded model, Nokia 3650. I don’t know what’s got into me but a few months later, I again cried for Nokia 6600, the first model with video recording. Although I vehemently deny that I’m a gadget freak, I can’t help but buy what is the latest model in the market. Now my friends could not catch up. They all stayed with whatever cellphone that is comfortable for text messaging.

In 2003, I bought the sleek Nokia 7610 with black/red color and leaf shaped design. After years with Nokia, I then tried my luck with Sony Ericsson. In 2004, I bought S700, the one true camera phone. However, what strength it gives on camera, it lacks on text messaging. It often hangs up when I text more than 30 times a day. It’s just not right for me. Nokia is the most popular brand here in the Philippines due to its powerful text messaging features.

So after almost two years, I switched back to text king Nokia. In 2006, I bought Nokia N80. One thing I liked about it is that it’s Wi-fi enabled. I can surf the Net anywhere there is a free connection. Since then, it became my phone for life, until now.

Palm Tungsten E2
Palm Tungsten E2

Aside from fascinating myself with mobile phones, I also ventured out into other gadgets. In 2005, I bought a Palm Tungsten E1 Personal Device Assistant. I use it in taking down notes during seminar lectures and playing games. It proved to be useful for me when I copied the whole Bible in three versions and a concordance with sermon notes. I often bring it to church.

My brother who is currently based in New York, uses Apple IPhone. Most of his comments were praises. So I’m more or less influenced to buy one, except the one thing that hinders me most, the price. The 8GB model bundled with Globe plans cost a whooping 35,000 pesoses! So much for Apple! The current craze is touch screen phone. When my idol-friend Jefferson Cortez went for a one-month vacation spree in China to be with the love of his life (Wow! You lucky dog! hehehe), Ervin requested Jeff to buy him an Apple clone, more popularly called here as China Phone. However, when we compared prices, the phones here in the Philippines were even cheaper than theirs. That’s strange! So Ervin instead eagerly bought one in Greenhills Shopping Mall, the Philippine’s cellphone mecca.

Apple Clone called China Phone
Apple Clone called China Phone

But after a few days of using it, Ervin’s praises turned into complaints. One infamous grumble is about his difficulty texting using the touch screen. You see, he is kinda chubby on the fingers so pressing letters on the glass casing proves to be a pain for him. I tried it myself and it can-do at first. But when you are in a hurry and only one hand is available, texting using touch screen would seem daunting. So I guess, a touch screen cell phone might not be advantageous after all. I was nearly decided to buy Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic, their first touch screen model. But aside from occasional photo shooting, listening to good music (I also have Apple Ipod Nano 4GB so I rarely use my N80 for sound tripping.) and Internet browsing, a day with my cellphone is mostly texting and a wake up alarm clock. What would be the best model for me? hmmm….

Now, when I attended the mini-web design conference that Wednesday night, I saw most of the speakers flaunt their Apple MacAir Laptops. They were really fascinating. Saliva literally went gushing out my mouth. I have been using my Acer Travelmate running on Windows XP since 2006. I shouted to myself, I wanna buy them Apple!!!! :-0

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