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10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf

10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf

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This post is about dumb things the hearing say to the deaf

I am deaf, and have been since I was a child – and after asking hundreds of other deaf people about dumb things that have been said to them, I compiled a list based on the results, and (since I’m a Trekkie), I added Captain Picard in for some fun.

Please enjoy, realize this isn’t (too) serious, and if you are deaf, let us all know your favorite/not favorites in the comments!

10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf:

1. “You don’t look deaf!”

10 dumb things the hearing say to the deafThere is no way to look deaf.

You don’t need to ever tell a deaf person, “you don’t look deaf!” because really, how could you look deaf? Carry a grammaphone around? Have ears of some type of better yet, something in American Sign Language (ASL) tattooed on your forehead?


picard ears

A lot of people shout at us.

But think about that for a second. Shouting at a deaf person. Shouting at someone who can’t hear?
Okay, it’s true that many deaf people can hear in various degrees, but shouting is almost always simply an exercise in rudeness and condescension, not to mention futility.


picard facepalm

Add talking uber-slowly to shouting.

4. “Oh hey! I sign too!”

picard signing

I can’t count the number of times someone has whipped out their hands and their own creative interpretations of signing a cat, rain or sun… “creative” being the operative word.

But on the heels of this, you probably want to remember that:

5. Not All Deaf People Use Sign Language Either!

Although I have been deaf for most of my life, I only started to learn some sign language when I was 30.

Deaf people are not born knowing how to sign and if you become deaf, you don’t automatically receive an infusion of sign language along with your first hearing aid or gulp of silence.

6. “You can talk?!”

picard talk

Not everyone can talk, and not everyone enunciates like a hearing person does, yeah!

Many of us deaf folk do indeed talk!

7. “So…you lipread”

picard frowning

Personally, I am a ninja at lipreading.

I am a fierce lipreader, so good that most audiologists are shocked when they they discover how little I really hear. But I’m not the norm – many of my deaf tribe don’t lip read at all and many more still do lip read a bit but don’t want to use it as a means to communicate with a hearing person.

It’s a lot of effort on our part and it’s exhausting – so it’s not something to be taken for granted, if someone does it at all. Just sayin’

8. “Do you drive?”

double facepalm


9. “Why don’t you get a cochlear implant?”

picard borg

A cochlear implant is the answer for some people but it’s not for everyone.

You need to be profoundly deaf with no hearing to lose to get one at all, and for many deaf folk, being deaf is not only the absence of hearing but it is the presence of a culture, the Deaf culture.

Not everyone wants to hear – and not everyone would want to give up being Deaf, or would want their children to hear.

10. “I’m sorry”


Oh, if I had a dime for every time someone told me “I’m sorry” in response to my telling them I’m deaf….. yeah….

11. “Oh, that’s okay”

– blank look –

[yay! she’s telling me it’s okay that I’m deaf!]


And so…

There are a whole lot of dum things the hearing say to the deaf, aren’t there?!

The truth of the matter is that being deaf has had its difficulties but most of those difficulties are related to access. That is, it’s hard to find and keep jobs, navigate the system and receive a solid education when society revolves around hearing in the way that it does

But hey! Being deaf isn’t a bad thing and it is certainly not something to mourn – it’s wonderful being able to reach up and turn my hearing aids off and enter a realm of total silence when my kids are screaming, better believe me on that.

– the end.


Remember how I asked literally hundreds of d/Deaf people what dumb stuff was commonly said to them by hearing people? Yeah, well, the best response that I got was this:

– My husband and I (- both Deaf) – were in a restaurant and a waitress came over and saw us signing and said, “Oh you are deaf! Great! We just got some new braille menus!”

picard giggling

Read On:

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Thursday 5th of May 2022

thank you so much i'm sending this to a million folks who are ignorant

signed (no pun intended) Another deaf person


Saturday 7th of May 2022



Sunday 20th of February 2022

I know "sorry" and "that's okay" aren't good responses to "I'm deaf," but what would be some appropriate responses? /genuine question


Monday 21st of February 2022

I personally am probably most happy with genuine in-the-moment responses like, "oh!" (with a smile) or, "that explains it!" (also with a smile) or, "okay!" (still with a smile). I guess the smile or the open acceptance-vibe would be the most important thing, exuding something that says you want to communicate, you come in peace and you want to be friends!

Thanks for asking, Julie


Saturday 21st of August 2021

HDJSBNXHSKZH GIRL I UNDERSTAND I think something that really annoys me is when you ask someone (a hearing person) to repeat what they say, and they just go “never mind.” Leaving you stuck. Y’know? Also the lip reading thing is something I am also good at.

Lee gamble

Friday 24th of July 2020

If you say you are Russian, I should assume you speak Russian? Or if you say you are French, I should assume you speak French? Just because I said I'm deaf doesn't automatically mean that I know sign language. It doesn't mean I don't lipread. I agree with the person that said please ask the best way to communicate. When you say I'm sorry, I am wondering what your sorry about? 55 years of this, gets old sometimes. Now everyone has a facemask and I cannot communicate anymore, can't get a job, can't do the interview, heck, I can't even go to bank and make a deposit. I do not even know if anyone is saying anything. Question, why do deaf people have to let people know that they are deaf? I don't see hearing people saying they are hearing able?

FMP Research – DEAF ESSAY; – Monica's Blog

Wednesday 11th of March 2020

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