Four Common Myths about Deaf People
Although most people would probably say they would rather be deaf than blind, studies show that deaf people represent the most isolated group of disabled individuals. Their ability to communicate is hindered by the fact that few hearing people know and understand sign language. Ideally, deaf students should have someone with them to interpret lecture material as it is spoken, and notetakers to record lecture material for future reference. But then again, deaf people can excel in many ways if only we hearing people learn to remove those common misconceptions about them.
Let’s explore a few myths:
Myth #1: ALL DEAF PEOPLE LACK THE ABILITY TO SPEAK.
Fact: Many deaf people have learned to use their voices in speech classes. They cannot, however, automatically control the tone and volume of their voices because they cannot hear themselves. Deaf individuals may have speech which is difficult, at first, to understand. Some deaf people are shy about speaking in public because of the negative reactions they have received.
Myth #2: ALL DEAF PEOPLE CAN READ LIPS.
Fact: All of us, to some extent, rely on lip reading to understand language. Even a practiced deaf listener can only understand 30-40% of spoken sounds by watching the lips of a speaker. Words such as “bump” and “pump” or “mama” and “papa” look the same on the lips. But all of them have totally different meanings. The ability to read lips varies among individuals. Although the most accurate mode of communication with deaf people is sign language, pencil and paper are appropriate substitutes. Keep in mind that your body language and facial expressions say a lot, too.
Myth #3: DEAF PEOPLE ARE NOT VERY BRIGHT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT LEARNED TO TALK OR USE GRAMMAR PROPERLY.
Fact: Because the basic form of communication with the deaf community is sign language, many deaf people have not mastered the grammatical fine points of their “second” language – English. This certainly does not indicate a lack of intelligence. Most deaf individuals do learn English usage and do have speech training, but they may find it easier to communicate in their “first” language.
Myth #4: DEAF PEOPLE CANNOT APPRECIATE ARTS AND CULTURES BECAUSE THEY CANNOT HEAR MUSIC, MOVIE DIALOGUES, ETC.
Fact: Anyone who has ever had the privilege to see a performance by the Silent Theater for the Deaf worldwide will realize the error in this myth. Throughout history, deaf people have participated in and contributed to the performing arts (Beethoven, for example). As long as there is rhythm and visual image, those with residual hearing and even those who are totally deaf can be valued patrons and performers of the arts.
I got this neat article while searching for some files in my computer. I thought it’ll be cool to share this with you. I forgot where I copied them. Sorry. I have added some of my own. 🙂