Debunked: stereotypes and myths about Deaf people

These myths and stereotypes are some common everyday over-generalized beliefs and misconceptions about Deaf people.

Examples out in the Wild

Myth/Stereotype: Deaf people have poor literarcy. Or they are expected to be lowly literate. Because of deafness, it's hard to learn to read and write English (or other languages) fluently.

Debunked: Deaf people, who were not deprived of language through eye, have high literacy and are fluent in languages (ASL, English, and/or other languages). Many Deaf people, who never hear nor wear hearing devices, are highly fluent in written English and highly literate. Because, language is amodal (brain-based, not speech-based).

Stereotype: Deaf people have lowly jobs.

Debunked: Deaf people come from all walks of life: teachers, doctors, cook, lawyers, professional athletes, auto mechanics, researchers, artists, authors, you name it. The issue is not deafness itself but the systemic discrimination and individual prejudice.

Stereotype/myth: Hearing aids or cochlear implants cure deafness. Lipreading is the mode of communication.

Hearing devices don't restore hearing. They amplify sound for deaf people to hear but that don't mean all of deaf people can perceive or process the patterns of sounds nor decode the sounds into words. Not all deaf can lipread. The best lipreaders can lipread up to the average of 30% or so and make guesses of the rest.

Stereotype: Deaf people are less intelligent.

Debunked: Deaf people are on the similar distribution or bell curve of intelligence quotient as hearing people. The majority of deaf people are normal. Some are not that smart; on the other hand, some are genius. There are some deaf people who are very smart and intelligently emotional but are deprived of language development in early years of life so don't underestimate them based on their limited communication.

Stereotype: Deaf drivers are dangerous.

Debunked: Statistically, Deaf drivers have fewer accidents than hearing drivers. They are better and safer drivers with sharper visions and they are more visually aware of the surroundings. Emergency lights are visual. Overall, the pros outperform cons. Of course, there are a few deaf bonkers who are prone to accidents. I knew one.

Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat refers to the risk of confirming negative stereotypes about an individual's racial, ethnic, gender, or cultural group.

"When people are aware of a negative stereotype about their group, they often worry that their performance on a particular task might end up confirming other people’s beliefs about their group. Psychologists use the term stereotype threat to refer to this state in which people are worried about confirming a group stereotype." Source

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