35 misconceptions about deafness…and deafblindness

Here are some misconceptions about deafness, deafblindness, deaf people and communication that I have come across at my deaf and deafblind awareness classes.  Some of them may be obvious, others not.  If you can answer all of these, then congratulations – you are halfway to becoming deaf aware.  If not, then perhaps it would be a good idea to come and find out more. After all, there are 10 million people who are deaf in the UK. I have highlighted the most common misconceptions in bold. Feel free to add any points I may have missed.
  1. All deaf people sign:
  2.  A hearing aid makes you hear normally, all deaf people have one (or a Cochlear Implant – CI).
  3.  The majority of deaf people cannot speak or speak funny
  4. A cochlear implant restores hearing
  5. All deaf people lipread
  6. All deaf people use Interpreters
  7. There are no deafblind people round here
  8. Deafblind people can’t get out and about
  9. Deafblind people cannot communicate, deafblindness means you cannot see or hear at all
  10. Presbyacusis only affects older people
  11. All deaf people can use a telephone with a hearing aid or cochlear implant
  12. A Loop system is suitable for all deaf people who do not sign
  13. Hearing dogs can respond to all noises
  14. HOH people are all old
  15. HOH people do not have the same problems as deaf people
  16. Deaf people will follow you better if you shout
  17. I don’t need to make by business accessible – I have no deaf customers
  18. Deaf people don’t want to talk to me, I couldn’t communicate with them anyway, I would have to learn BSL to do so.
  19. A hearing aid user or a CI user can hear me if I shout their name across a crowded room
  20. Deaf people only hear (or see)  what they want to” hear”, I think they’re pretending not to understand me
  21.  You must use simple English when talking to a deaf person
  22.  A sign language user cannot read subtitles
  23.  Deafblind people cannot go out by themselves
  24.  Deaf people do not lose any more hearing
  25.  Deaf people are not allowed to drive
  26.  Deaf people are not as intelligent as hearing people
  27.  All deaf people want to be hearing
  28. Most deaf people have deaf parents
  29. All deaf people can communicate with each other
  30. All deaf people understand deaf culture
  31.  BSL (British Sign language) is the same as ASL (American Sign Language) and AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language).
  32. BSL is a collection of gestures and similar to mime
  33. BSL users do not have Cochlear Implants
  34. Deaf people bring their own interpreters with them
  35. Deafness won’t happen to me.

About Suzie

Mother, Wife, Teacher, Cook and Hearing dog owner. Passionate about Equality for deaf and deafblind people. Believes in communication for all and breaking down these barriers, real and perceived. Deafened.
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10 Responses to 35 misconceptions about deafness…and deafblindness

  1. Liz says:

    I remember someone once who thought I should hear like everyone else, when they noticed I had hearing aids. Could not understand even when explained. Durh.

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  5. Sarinne Fox says:

    Some people think that “a sign language user cannot read subtitles”?? (#22) That’s a strange one….

    I have to admit I did a double-take at #10, “Presbyacusis only affects older people.” I do tend to think of it that way.

    A thought-provoking list — thanks!

  6. Kriegente says:

    Here is another popular misconception promulgated by yours truly.

    Pillars that were looked up to with envy in the deaf community all these years have been built with dirty hands.  Ideas were stolen from oral deaf inventors and instead of being credited, they were severely criticized. Society is beginning to realize that even without the suggestion of AG Bell Association.  Deaf people need only blame themselves for their own society’s demise.

  7. Hi Suzie,
    I have two more for your list. The first is what I actually thought before hearing loss happened to me: To be deaf means you hear nothing. Another one which is similar to your #31 is that sign language is universal – basically a system of gestures and not language.

  8. SaytheWord says:

    Terrific list and so on the money. I would add one more misconception: hearing people think they understand hearing loss, deafness and Deafness.
    Twitter: ahearingloss
    Blog: http://www.ahearingloss.com

  9. Netagene says:

    I knew almost all of that … I became legally blind at age 59 and had to start wearing hearing aids at age 61. My sight has improved thanks to several operations; my hearing has worsened. Thanks for posting that. I am a member of both the American Council of the Blind, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

  10. When some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she wishes
    to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

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