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Myths Regarding Deafness

All people with a hearing loss lack the ability to speak. – (False)

While people who were born without hearing may experience some difficulty in learning to speak, people who have lost their hearing after the development of speech may have little difficulty speaking. Many persons with “prelingual” deafness learn to use their voices in speech classes.

All people with a hearing loss can read lips. – (False)

Many people with a hearing loss have had formal training in lip-reading, but it is an imperfect process at best, with about a 30-40% accuracy rate. It is rarely used in isolation from other communication methods.

People who are deaf use one system for communicating. – (False)

In the United States, people who are deaf use a variety of communication systems. Among the choices are American Sign Language, signed English, finger spelling, speechreading, cued speech and writing.

Hearing aids can correct a hearing loss. – (False)

Hearing aids may improve hearing for many people with a hearing loss, but they are not corrective devices they simply amplify sound. If a person’s hearing loss stems from profound damage to the inner ear, sounds will remain distorted even with amplification.

Because many people who are deaf have not learned to speak, they cannot be very bright. – (False)

It is extremely difficult to learn spoken language if a hearing loss occurs before speech develops. Many people with deafness who have learned some spoken language have not mastered the fine grammatical points of their second language-English. The problem is one of communication, not intellect.

Deaf people can’t drive. – (False)

Deaf and hard of hearing people can drive; hearing is not a requirement for driving.