Spreading deaf awareness and explaining different types of hearing loss can feel like two steps forward, one step back when there is so much misunderstanding amongst the general public. If you’re a deaf or hard of hearing teen, then you’re probably frustrated by the myths you have to dispel. While this can be frustrating at times, the more we can share and educate, the more it will benefit you in interacting with your peers.
Here are some of the most common myths we find that hearing people tend to believe about deaf teens.
Myth 1: Most Deaf Teens Can Read Lips
Lip reading is a skill that only very few people have mastered. Most deaf teens know a little lip reading, but it’s more a helper tool than a consistent method of understanding speech. Lip reading can give most people the gist of what is being said, but it’s often very general.
Myth 2: Deaf Teens Are Completely Deaf
Deaf encompasses both those who are profoundly deaf (cannot hear at all) and those who are hearing impaired. Those who are hearing impaired may be able to hear with the use of a hearing aid. Someone who isn’t completely deaf is still a part of the deaf community.
Myth 3: Deafness is Inherently Genetic
While there are some genetic factors, there’s no guarantee that deaf people will have deaf children. It shouldn’t be assumed that deafness is something that would be passed down (and, even if it will be, many deaf families embrace this).
Myth 4: Deaf Teens Can’t Drive
Deaf teens can start to learn to drive at the same time as their peers. Being deaf does not hold you back from driving, as there are visual signals to react to while on the road. While deaf teens may need to be more careful and cautious about driving, they should otherwise perform just fine. In fact, this can be an important way for any teen to start developing their independence.
Myth 5: Deaf Teens Can’t Speak Clearly
It’s often assumed that people who are deaf do not speak well, or clearly, or intelligently.
The is no link between hearing loss and intelligence.
The ability of a deaf person to speak clearly is largely affected by the age the hearing loss occurred and education background. Often deaf people who had access to speech pathologists and supportive family members and friends have learned to manage volume, pitch, and sound.
Myth 6: If you’re a deaf teen, you must have been born deaf
In fact, an increasing number of teens are losing their hearing through habitual or environmental causes. Going to loud concerts without ear protection, turning up the volume on music, and always using earbuds can contribute to a loss of hearing. It’s important that teens be aware that they could be hurting their hearing early in their life, as the problem could get worse with time.
We’re all working hard to close the gap on hearing loss and the way we socialise with hearing people. There’s misinformation everywhere! Together we can slowly chip away at these myths and connect with peers who understand the challenges we regularly face.
We’re proud of our deaf mentors, who have been there done that, and lived through it! They share their experiences with younger teens and help guide them through these tumultuous teenage years which it can all seem daunting. If anyone would like to reach out to our mentors, contact us here.