13 Things to Never Say to a Deaf Person

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

You see someone signing and you squeal to yourself "it's a Deaf person! oh my gosh!"  My answer to you is yes, yes it is.  What does that matter?

Don't get me wrong!  They're Deaf, that's pretty sweet.  But it frightens me when I hear people say things like this: "oh they're Deaf, I'm gonna go say something to them," or "I learned the alphabet when I was a kid, I should go tell them my name."

Eeeeh, wrong!

Deaf people are very social, but do you want people to come up to you and say, "hey! I speak English too!  Let's talk for no good reason!"  If you actually know ASL, then you probably have a little more leeway.

I started learning ASL at a young age and have been involved in the Deaf community since then (I'm getting old so that's a long time).  I am an ASL interpreter, instructor, and TypeWell transcriber.  These are things I've seen hearing people do and Deaf people make fun of and complain about.

Tweet: 13 things to never say to a Deaf person

 Never Do or Say These Things

1.  Don't shout.  They can't hear, right?  So why would you speaking louder make them suddenly be able to hear?

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

2.  Don't over-enunciate or speak slower.  "Helllloooo, mmyyyy naaaaammme iiiiisssss Iiiiidiiioooot."  Nice to meet you idiot.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

3.  Don't talk to the interpreter or hearing person that may be with them.  "What's your friend's name?"  My reply, "how about you ask them yourself?" "Tell them my name is Rude-Face." Consider it done.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

4.  Say I know sign language and then flip them off.  That's lame.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

5.  Say I know sign language and then flap your arms around like a fool.  That's hilarious.  Do that so they can laugh at you.  Not with you. At you.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

6.  Don't ask them how they get through life with their disability.  They're not disabled.  Just ask them.

Go on....

7.  Know you'll be around a Deaf person? Don't keep the lights low or have flickering lights.  It'd be like you trying to have a conversation with either sound cancelling headphones on or in a mega loud bar/club.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

8.  Learning ASL? Awesome! Don't have crazy designs or bright nail polish on. It's super distracting.  Like talking to someone with food in their mouth, or a booger hanging out of their nose.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

9.  Also, don't have a busy pattern on your shirt.  Ouchie on the eyes.

Just a hint - they are being sarcastic.  These are the CODA Brothers. CODA= Child of a Deaf Adult.  

 

10.  Don't talk to them like they're unintelligent.  They speak a different language that's the only difference in their mental ability.  Do you assume someone from Spain or Japan is unintelligent just because they speak a different language?  No, you don't.  At least you shouldn't.

11.  Don't cover your mouth and then ask if they can hear you.  Are you 5?  Apologies to 5-year-olds.

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

12.  Don't ask them to read someone's lips for you.  What are they saying? Tell me, tell me!!  You could totally eavesdrop on people!

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

13.  If you know ASL don't just butt in on their conversation.  "Oh yeah, you should really dump him, he's a jerk!"  Creepy!

What do you do and what do you not do when you meet a Deaf person. Click through to learn these 13 things you may never have thought of

Tweet: I just learned what not to say to a Deaf person.

Tweet: 13 things to never say to a Deaf person.

 

Here's some funny questions I've heard.

I did a follow up post -- 18 (more) Things to Never Say to a Deaf Person