April is National Deaf History Month! So what’s a better time to raise awareness about the Deaf community and their struggles? As a Deaf person, there are quite a few questions I receive that tend to get on my nerves. So without further ado, here are some frequently asked questions your Deaf friends are sick of hearing.
Important Note: This is not an accusation of anyone who’s hearing. We know some people are just curious and may not understand that their questions or comments are inappropriate. This blog is to give you a sneak peek into the Deaf life.
Top 10 Questions and Comments Hearing People Make About Deaf People
There are many silly and “omg”- related comments I, and many of my Deaf friends, have been asked in our lifetimes. Here is a collection of some of the most common.
1. “Oh you’re Deaf? That must be so Hard.”
Life can be hard for anyone, not just for Deaf people.
Mainly, the most “hard” part is the accessibility (communication barriers or lack of subtitles/captions). We have to deal with that. ALL. THE. TIME. 🤷🏻♀️
2. “I’m so sorry!” (in response to “I’m Deaf” or ” I can’t speak/lipread”)
When someone says that, it often makes me wonder why are they apologizing and if they are pitying me…
3. “Why are you Deaf?”
I’m sure this is a question most people have, but that’s personal information.
If the question comes from a 5-year-old child, then I’d be amused and answer that. If it’s from an adult, I don’t know how to answer that.
If I don’t run away, I shrug (more likely fighting against the urge to run away). 😳
4. “Is doing [this activity] harder or different because you’re Deaf?”
When I’m asked by that question, I’m usually mystified and curious about where the question is going.
If I answer that, will they ask even more personal questions… such as do I have sex with someone or can I drive and so on? 🤔
5. “Can you read my lips?”
I dread and expect that question every time I meet someone new. Often, it’s at a business appointment when there is no interpreter. 😥
6. “I’ll pray for you to hear again!”
Deafness is not the main focus or concern. Deaf people would rather be known for who they are and what they bring to the table.
There’s a saying: treat someone the way you want to be treated.
Treat Deaf people the same way you would with anyone else… with respect and acceptance. 😏
Deaf people are experts in communication modes since they grew up dealing with all kinds of communication. They adapt to what works for them. To start off on the right foot, ask them how they would like to communicate with you. They may give you options like:
- Writing on paper with a pen
- Texting and/or typing on the computer
- Using an ASL interpreter
- Lipreading/speaking (some Deaf people can speak and lipread pretty well, but not all of them do and it should be the last resort)
As long as you allow the Deaf person to choose how they would like to communicate, you might appreciate them the more you know them. Sooner or later, you’d forget that they’re Deaf and see them just as human beings. We all have something in common.
‘Til next time, ta ta! 😀🤟🏻