Questions that hearing people naively ask Deaf people

Hearing people sometimes naively ask Deaf people these common questions that some Deaf people find them either amusing, ignorant, offensive, or normal. But, more often we kindly educate them.

Ignorance is something one lacks knowledge. As Lyn Wily puts, "We are all ignorant in our own unique way. The questions give us an opportunity to fill gaps of ignorance with 'correct' information."

Patience is one of the dignities we have about these questions. At the same time, these reveal raw truth behind the wall of perception.

"Can you lipread?"

Instead, ask what means of communication does a person prefer. Writing or typing is a common immediate medium for clear communication. Interpreting is for an in-depth communication (e.g. interview, meeting, etc.). Some Deaf can lipread and/or speak well, some not well, some not at all, or some choose not to do so. The best lipreader can capture as far as 30-40%. See?

"Do you read Braille?"

Depending on who is being asked, a Deaf person may find this question amusing, shocking, or ridiculous. No, Deaf people are not blind.

Deaf people are offered a wheelchair at the airport.

Especially in the older days. Often Deaf people find it offensive, perplexing, or simply ignorant. Their thought was "don't they see we can walk?"

"Can you drive?" or "Do you drive?"

Of course. Deaf people are statistically safer drivers. But, they ask "what about emergency sirens on the road"? Deaf people have four eyes. "But, you need to hear sirens." But, you need to have 120% sight in order to be the safest driver that Deaf people have. Driving requires 10% of hearing and it's all compensated by 120% sight.

"Do you know that there are cochlear implants?"

Ahem, it's a sensitive question that tampers a person's identity and respect for oneself, including their language and culture. This question is as offensive as asking a Black person, "Do you know there's a treatment that can lighten your skin?" Beside this, cochlear implant doesn't simply cure to the perfection.

Related posts

Also see How deaf people hear