There are many ways for a person with hearing loss to communicate, including sign language. But if you’ve never had real experience with sign language, then it can seem very foreign. Once you get a few significant misunderstandings out of the way, sign language is a beautiful and diverse form of communication.
Sign Language is Universal
Some people mistakenly assume that, since sign language doesn’t use spoken words, that it is like the common language of the world. After all, people who don’t speak the same language will often resort to gestures to communicate with each other. But sign language is far more complex. You might be surprised to know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of different versions of sign language in the world. American Sign Language, or ASL, is the most common version used here to represent English. Although there may be similarities between different types of sign language, they’re not all the same.
Only Deaf People Use It
In the same way that there isn’t just one version of sign language, sign language isn’t only used by the deaf, nor does every single deaf person know sign language necessarily. Hearing loss and deafness comes in a spectrum, and some people who are hard of hearing are satisfied using hearing aids or reading lips. And there are many uses for sign language among hearing people. Babies can use it to communicate before they learn to talk, and it is often used in speech therapy for people with special needs. Even if you’re not dealing with severe hearing loss, you can feel free to start learning sign language yourself.
It’s Just Gestures
ASL isn’t an exact one-to-one translation of English. Like any language, sign language has sentence structure and grammar rules. To communicate in sign language, you will use certain facial expressions, such as raising or lowering your eyebrows. ASL is not only its own language, but it is part of the culture of the deaf community.
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Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology, and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment, with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
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