Facts About Deafness

Here is some general information to know about the Deaf…

  • There are approximately 22-28 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the United States.
  • Deaf people, for the most part, prefer to be called “deaf.”
  • Hard of Hearing individuals have significant hearing loss, but they still have enough residual hearing to be able, with or without amplification, to understand a large majority of human speech.
  • Even the most experienced and skilled lip readers can only understand about 30% of English speech. Most words are ambiguous and unidentifiable on the lips. Also, many different sounds look the same on the lips.
  • Sign language is not universal. American Sign Language is the language used by most Deaf individuals living in the United States and a large part of Canada. There are almost as many sign languages as there are spoken languages in the world.
  • 90% of Deaf children are born to Hearing parents.
  • Video Relay Services (VRS) is a form of Telecommunications Relay Service that enables persons with hearing disabilities who use American Sign Language to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment, rather than through typed text.
  • Deaf/HH individuals participate in the same activities as their Hearing peers. They are involved in the church, community, local/state/federal government, schools, sports programs, college, the arts and most groups and organizations.
  • The Deaf work in fields such as architecture, clergy, corporations, education, entertainment, financial institutions, government, law and law enforcement, medicine, science, and technology.
  • Not all Deaf individuals use sign language as their primary mode of communication. If a deaf person is educated in an oral environment they live their lives and function in the “hearing world” without the use of sign language. Late deafened adults often choose to continue communicating oral-aurally and lip/speech read, using what residual hearing they have left.