Deaf people are able to function just like normal hearing people. Hearing people graduate from universities with a Bachelor’s degree and some further their education to getting a Masters or pHD. Well, Deaf people can do the same. In fact, there are a lot of well-known Deaf people who obtain successful careers such as doctors, pilots, or lawyers. Here are a few examples of Deaf doctors, pilots, and lawyers, but there are many more than what are listed here: Doctor-Dr. Judith Ann Pachciarz, Pilot-Nellie Zabel Willhite, Lawyer-Claudia L. Gordon. There are also successful Deaf actors as well such as Marlee Matlin, Nyle DiMarco, Millicent Simmonds, and many more.
There are some common misconceptions about Deaf people and I’ve listed a few below:
1. Misconception #1: Deaf people can lipread really well.
This is not true. There are Deaf people who did not grow up orally and never learned how words are pronounced, and therefore cannot lipread. However, there are deaf people who wear cochlear implants or hearing aids and grew up oral, and this usually happens when they have hearing families. They go to speech therapy to learn and practice their speech. In addition, there are hearing people who can somewhat lipread because lipreading is often used in general as an aid in communication. So, there are deaf people who can lipread very well then there are deaf people that cannot lipread at all.
2. Misconception #2: All Deaf people are profoundly deaf.
Well, this is not true at all. There are different ranges of deafness. There are people who are profoundly deaf that do not have an input of hearing. Some wear hearing aids to help them hear sounds. Then there are people who are severely deaf meaning they have some percentage of normal hearing. They wear hearing aids to help amplify their hearing. Then, there are people who wear cochlear implants that can hear 70-80%. People who have some hearing left and wear hearing aids as well as people who wear cochlear implants most likely grew up oral or who lost their hearing later in life, and therefore can speak and hear.
3. Misconception #3: Cochlear implants cure hearing loss.
Well, this is false because cochlear implants are just devices that help deaf people hear. They are not engineered to restore 100% hearing. Read more about “Cochlear Implant Part 1: What are Cochlear Implants and How Do They Work?”
4. Misconception #4: People can easily assume that all Deaf people know American Sign Language; in fact, this is not the case at all.
There are a portion of Deaf people who are generationally Deaf and they grew up with their first language of American Sign Language (ASL). However, there are deaf people who got implanted at a young age and grew up oral in a hearing family and never learned ASL. They do have a choice to learn ASL later in life or never learn it at all. So, it really varies and depends on the deaf person. You can read more about “Deaf Culture | What does “D”, “d”, and “d/Deaf” mean in the Deaf community?”
5. Misconception #5: Not only do all Deaf people not know ASL, but also many assume that ASL is universal, which actually is not true.
Each country has their own unique language and culture. There is an International Sign, which people from different countries can use to understand each other better. Read more about “Is American Sign Language Universal?”