Like all minority groups, Deaf people suffer from stereotyping by many who do not know and understand them. A number of myths about Deaf people circulate widely in our society and get in the way of understanding between hearing and Deaf people.
MYTH: All hearing losses are the same.
FACT: The term “deafness” or “hard of hearing” covers a wide range of hearing losses that have very different effects on a person's ability to process sound and understand speech.
MYTH: Hearing aids restore hearing.
FACT: Hearing aids simply amplify sound. They have no effect on a person’s ability to process that sound. In cases where a hearing loss distorts incoming sounds, a hearing aid can do nothing to correct this and may even make the distortion worse.
MYTH: All deaf people can read lips.
FACT: While some deaf people are very skilled lipreaders, 90% of deaf people do not read lips proficiently. This is because many speech sounds have identical mouth movements and are difficult to discern. On the average, lipreaders are catching approximately 25-30% accurately.
MYTH: “Deaf & Dumb,” “Deaf Mute” are current terms to describe a person with a hearing loss.
FACT: These terms are outdated and project a negative connotation of a person with a hearing loss. “Deaf” is the most common term used to describe a person with a severe to profound hearing loss; “hard of hearing” is used to describe a person with a mild to moderate hearing loss.
MYTH: Deaf people do not drive.
FACT: Deaf people drive, shop, work, raise families, pursue hobbies, educational opportunities, and political ideals like any other member of American society.
Source unknown. For more information: Lorrie Kosinski, Denver Office of Sign Language Services & Resources, Lorrie.Kosinski@denvergov.org 720 913-8487; 720 913-8484 TTY.