Below are the top 10 Myths and Stereotypes about Deafness:
- All Deaf People can read lips
While some deaf people are very good at lip reading most are not. This is due to the fact that many letters have the same lip movement such as “q” and “u” or “b” and “p”. This makes it difficult to understand someone talking and is often times more work to understand.
- Deaf people can’t listen to music
Many Deaf people actually enjoy listening to music and hold careers in the music field. From singing to playing instruments or just enjoying the piece Deaf people are not stopped from experiencing and creating music. People with deafness are able to feel the music through vibrations with the same part of the brain that hearing people use when listening to music. Their experience of music is just different.
- Hearing Aids restore hearing
Hearing aids do not restore hearing for everyone, they simply amplify the sound and are unable to help the person in their ability to process the sound. There are also different levels of hearing loss and hearing aids are simply unbeneficial to some, in some cases where hearing loss causes sounds to be distorted having a hearing aid amplify the noise just makes it harder to understand.
- Sign language is the same everywhere in the world
Though a few signs are the same globally, every country has its own sign language. There is American Sign Language (ASL), French Sign Language (LSF), Chinese Sign Language (CSL or ZGS), British Sign Language (BSL), and so many more. There is between 130 to 300 different types of sign language in the world. Which within these sign languages there are also different “accents” depending on what region one is living in within the area of their type of sign language.
- Deaf people can’t talk
There are actually many deaf people that can talk, for many deaf people they lost their hearing at a later age after having learned speech. So instead of leaning on sign language they continue to talk and depend on lip reading or writing to communicate. Deaf people who were born deaf can also talk, being deaf does not affect the vocal cords, however some just chose not to use speech.
- Deaf People are not sensitive to noises
Some hearing loss can end up actually heightening sensitivity to noises. For some hearing aid wearers loud sounds, having been magnified by the hearing aid, can be very uncomfortable or painful. In some cases, hearing loss can make loud noises become distorted which can be unpleasant also.
- All Deaf people communicate with sign language
Many Deaf people who acquire their hearing loss at an older age never will learn sign language. They often times have lived their whole life with verbal communication and will continue to use speech as their main form of communication.
- Deaf people can’t go to the movies or watch T.V.
Many Deaf people enjoy going to the movies or watching T.V., with television shows offering closed captioning there is nothing to hold them back. However often times movie theaters will not offer captioned screenings of movies, which can cause the experience to be not quite as enjoyable. Yet in the end there is no reason that Deaf people can’t enjoy the same entertainment as hearing people.
- All hearing loss is the same
There are many different degrees of hearing loss, ranging from hard-of-hearing to completely deaf. Hence there are several different types of devices to assist in hearing such as hearing aids or cochlear ear implants. There are also different causes of hearing loss, such as an illness, over exposure of sound over time or being born deaf, in any case the cause could happen at different times and varies in the level of hearing lost.
- Deaf people shouldn’t drive because it is unsafe
Deaf people are completely capable of driving. For many deaf people their peripheral vision is better than a hearing person’s and thus have better driving abilities. The only necessity for driving is vision and mobility, and Deaf people are more than equipped for that.