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Myth-busting: daft things people believe about deaf people

BSL Communication Deafness and your identity Health & wellbeing Information and advice

Myth-busting: daft things people believe about deaf people

BSL Communication Deafness and your identity Health & wellbeing Information and advice

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What it's really like to be deaf

People have all sorts of daft ideas about what it’s like to be deaf. Help your friends be more deaf aware by sharing these myth-busters with them. 

All deaf people can lip-read

False!

Not all people can lip-read.

Lip-reading is hard work. It takes a lot of effort and concentration and can be really tiring.  Not all lip patterns are recognisable. Try looking in a mirror and saying ‘pat’, ‘bat’, ‘mat’ without using your voice – can you tell the difference? Get your friends to try it too. 

Even people who are good at lip-reading can only understand about 30% of what’s being said – the rest is guesswork.

 Deaf people can’t enjoy music

False! 

Lots of deaf people love music.

Some deaf people can hear music, others might not be able to hear music very well but enjoy the vibrations. 

There’s lots of technology that can help deaf people enjoy music – find out more at how you can listen to music

Sign language is the same everywhere

False!

Just as there are thousands of different spoken languages around the world, there are hundreds of different sign languages.

Even English-speaking countries have their own sign languages (Britain has British Sign Language (BSL), the USA has American Sign Language (ASL) and Australia has Australian Sign Language (Auslan).

Deaf people can’t use the phone

False! 

Lots of deaf people use the phone

Some deaf people can hear well enough to use standard phones, others use technology like amplified (really loud) phones.

Even if a deaf person can’t hear on the phone they can text, FaceTime, Skype and use services like text relay. 

Deaf people can hear everything with their hearing aids or cochlear implants

False!

It can be really frustrating when people assume deaf people can hear OK if they’re wearing their technology.

Hearing aids can help focus sounds and make them louder, and cochlear implants carry sound directly to the brain. But this doesn’t mean a deaf person hears in the same way, or as well as a hearing person.

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