Why a Silent Herald?

Why a Silent Herald?

Because there is a need.

Nearly every time after heralding court Silent Heralds are told how much one more member of the populace appreciates their service.

Envision a person with (or without) a hearing aid approaching the Silent Herald and stating how much hearing they have lost in the past few years. They are taking sign language classes and because of the Silent Herald they can understand court again (but please don't tell anyone, they really don't want people to think less of them).

Imagine another member of the populace who uses American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication. After court they inform the Silent Herald that they finally feel included in the SCA.

Picture yet another person coming up and joyfully telling the Silent Herald that they know some signs. With so much background noise (holding court outside and all), without the Silent Herald, they would have missed everything that happened in court that day. They go on to explain how they let everyone around them know what transpired as well.

These are anecdotal… what about facts?

The World Federation of the Deaf website states there are, "…about 70 million deaf people who use sign language as their first language or mother tongue. It is also the first language and mother tongue to many hearing people and some deafblind people (tactile sign languages)."

And according to the Gallaudet Research Institute, approximately 14% of the population in the United States has "trouble hearing." Approximately .2% use sign language as their primary means of communication. That means approximately one out of every seven people need assistance understanding auditory information.

These people may or may not fluently use sign language, nevertheless, Silent Heralds assist them.

Body language and non-verbal communication studies have shown that only about seven percent of meaning is derived through the words used (Mehrabian, 1972). Sign supported speech reading assists in understanding. The Hearing Loss Association of America's website states, "Speech reading is using what you see on the speaker's lips as well as facial expressions and gestures to understand… everyone, even those with normal hearing, uses visual cues… in a very noisy room, notice how closely everyone watches as well as listens to understand." Silent Heralds use facial expression, body language, lip movements, and signs to convey meaning.

So listening to the anecdotal evidence, and considering the numbers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people around the world, it behooves the SCA to encourage Silent Heralds in this area of service to this segment of the population.

Silent Heralds help communication happen, wherever they go.

For more information, contact the SCA Silent Herald Deputy: silentherald@heraldry.sca.org.

References:

Hearing Loss Association of America: http://hearingloss-wa.org/information/speech-reading-lip-reading/

Mehrabian, Albert. 1972. Nonverbal communication. Chicago: Aldine Atherton.

World Federation of the Deaf: http://wfdeaf.org/human-rights/crpd/sign-language

Gallaudet Research Institute: https://research.gallaudet.edu/Demographics/deaf-US.php