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Myths Dispelled...
             for a bit of enlightenment about those in the Deaf Community...

Copyright © 2010 Coda Link, Inc.
Myth 1: All deaf people read lips.
This is probably the most persistent myth about deafness, but it's not necessarily true. Remember, to most deaf people English is a second language (after sign language), and second languages can be very difficult to learn. Many deaf people are fluent at lip reading, but some are not, and never learn to be. The truth is that lip reading is not an effective method of communication; even the most avid lip reader only comprehends about 25% of what is being said. As one source puts it, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between "paddle" and "battle," based on lip movements alone.

Myth 2: Sign language is a universal language.
Contrary to popular belief, sign language is not universal — sign languages are as diverse as spoken languages. But like spoken languages, some sign languages in different countries do have a similar structure. Sign language, in fact, is different region to region just as any spoken language.

Myth 3: Sign language is just mime and gestures.
Sign language is just like any spoken languages, there are words and unique expressions as well as sentence structure and grammar. It does not follow the same grammatical rules and syntax as English.

Myth 4: All deaf and hard of hearing people can communicate with sign language.
This is the most common myth of all. Not all deaf and hard of hearing persons can communicate in sign language. Many who are born deaf depend on their parents to teach them sign language. Unfortunately, if they are born to hearing parents, they are sometimes forced to live a life like a hearing person simply because their parents cannot understand why they must learn sign language. They are given hearing aids, they are sent to normal school where they may have difficulty in social groups and, most of all, they are forced to lip read so that their parents don't have to learn the sign language themselves. There is a range of signing styles found on the ASL/English Language Continuum.

Myth 5: Being deaf or hard of hearing is an indication of less intelligence.
Some people think the lack of ability to hear means a lack of ability in many other things. However, this is not an indication a person who is deaf or hard of hearing is less intelligent than any hearing person. They may have difficulty in acquiring speech simply because they cannot hear the sounds and tones, but many deaf and hard of hearing people are employed in professional careers just like everyone else.

Myth 6: All deaf people can read so there is no barrier to communication.
The words and art of the spoken languages are second language to a deaf person. Being able to read requires the same amount of learning just like a hearing person, and as sign languages often have slightly different sentence structures and grammar, a deaf and hard of hearing person often will find it hard to read and comprehend fully without extensive practice.

Myth 7: Deaf people can't drive a car.
Deaf people drive cars all the time. In fact, some studies have shown that deaf people are actually better drivers than hearing people due to the fact that deaf people have enhanced peripheral vision. If you think about it, nothing about driving really requires you to be able to hear. After all, there's a reason emergency vehicles have both sirens and lights.

Myth 8: All deaf people will benefit from a hearing aid.
There are varying degrees of hearing loss: moderate, severe and profound, as well as different types of hearing loss. Based on the degree and type of hearing loss, a hearing aid may be of no benefit to someone who is profoundly deaf.

For more information, please refer to http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Loss/