It is often forgotten that being deaf is a disability: actually, the third most common in the world.
Not many people are aware of what to do when communicating to someone who is deaf.
Here is a list of seven things that deaf people want you to know.
Yes, deaf people can drive
A question you might always find yourself wondering about those who are deaf is whether or not they can drive.
Well the answer is yes- they still have eyes!
They have special devices that alert them of any emergency vehicle sirens or car horns, so they are completely safe and qualified to be driving on the road.
Restricting deaf people from driving would mean that it would make employability a lot harder.
As it is, on average, people with hearing loss are paid £2,000 less per year than the general population.
Even the best lip-readers can only understand half of what someone is saying to them
If you are talking to a deaf person and they are able to lip read, that does not mean you can mumble with your hand over your mouth facing the other direction…
At the same time, this does not mean you have to put on a song and dance about it, looking quite silly over pronouncing your words.
Just be sure to use a little bit of expression in your face, whilst speaking slowly and clearly.
Deaf people can still enjoy music
There is a common myth that deaf people cannot appreciate music, but you would be very wrong to assume that.
Famous musician Ludwig Van Beethoven was deaf, but that did not stop him from being one of the most successful composers in the 19th century.
Deaf people can feel the vibrations from the music, so different types of music will make a person feel differently about a song, just like they do for hearing people.
Also, you may have noticed that at certain live performances from artists, there will be a BSL interpreter signing the lyrics.
You might even remember the infamous video of an American sign language interpreter signing at a Wu Tang Clan gig.
She was so good that the rapper himself thought she was just dancing along to his songs!
Sign Language from every country is different
Ask yourself this- do hearing people speak the same language in every country?
No, so why would deaf people?
Although there is no certain number, it is believed there are around 300 different types of sign language out there.
Deaf people CAN think
Similarly to how hearing people use their ‘inner voice’ to think, deaf people think in sign language.
Obviously, there are different levels in which deaf people can hear; some can hear a little, but some cannot at all.
If a person is deaf but was once able to hear, they may use their inner voice on occasion, if that comes more naturally than signing.
Each individual is different and will think in different ways, but the bottom line is that deaf people CAN think.
Deaf people do not just have to date other deaf people
Deaf people are still people who want to go out and meet new people.
Even if you do not know sign language you can still communicate with a deaf person and have a nice time with them!
It is unlikely, if it is a blind date, a deaf person will not warn someone and will often bring a notepad or whiteboard.
However, many deaf people can still talk and will be able to understand you just through lip reading.
So do not panic more than usual when on a date with a deaf person!
It is okay to complain about noise around a deaf person
And finally, linking nicely to the previous point, if you are with someone who is deaf, it is not a crime to complain about it being too loud.
Obviously make sure that is not something to go on and on about, but if you are not enjoying yourself because of loud noise, suggest you go somewhere else.
They will not be offended.
So, take all of these points into consideration next time you come across someone who is deaf and you will have no trouble at all!