1. “Can you hear me now?”
Shouting at a deaf person will not make them any less deaf, no matter how loud you yell or how close to their ears you get. If you are speaking to a deaf person who reads lips (not all do!), exaggerating your lip movements to “help” the deaf person read them actually makes it harder to understand. When you are unsure, the best thing to do is ask how the deaf person would prefer to communicate. Typing them a note on your phone is one easy option.
3. “Can you read and write?”
Deafness is not a learning disability. Deaf people can do everything hearing people can do, except for hear. Deaf advocacy groups worldwide continue to fight for better access to education, because deaf students deserve every opportunity to excel!
4. “Why can’t you speak?”
Some deaf individuals adapt by learning to read lips and speak English. Others choose to use sign language. Some can both speak and use ASL. Some deaf people have cochlear implants. Deafness is a full spectrum and every person is different! Assuming all deaf people learn spoken English comes off as ignorant.
5. “Oh, I know the alphabet in sign language!”
It is lovely that you took an interest in sign language, it really is. But, deaf people get this one all the time! Imagine if an adult hearing person walked up to another adult hearing person and said “I know my ABCs!” Kind of awkward, right?
7. “How can you drive?”
You don’t need ears to drive, and all emergency vehicles use flashing lights. Some studies have suggested that deaf drivers actually have safer driving records than hearing people because they are more visually alert and less distracted!
9. “Why don’t you get a cochlear implant?”
In our modern medical times, deaf people have the choice to receive a cochlear implant, which allows them to hear a range of sound. Having this surgery is a very major personal decision with many factors to consider. Hearing people should not assume all deaf people want, or are able to receive, a CI just because they are available.
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