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E-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.

Hearing Loss Quiz

How knowledgeable are you about people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing? Information we’ve presented elsewhere points out that hearing loss is the most prevalent of any disability. You probably know someone with a hearing loss, a co–worker, family member, or friend. Or perhaps you have a hearing loss yourself, or will in the future. So many of us are influenced by hearing loss! It is worthwhile for everyone to have an accurate understanding of the disability.

Do you think you’re savvy on the subject? Take this test and find out.


Consider the following questions and choose either TRUE or FALSE. Write down your choice, and then read on. No fair peeking before you finish the test!

Hearing Loss Quiz

  1. T/F Most Deaf Children are born to hearing families.

  2. T/F The percentage of accuracy for persons who lip–read is between 30% – 40%.

  3. T/F AHearing aids make speech sounds clear and understandable.

  4. T/F American Sign Language (ASL) is the universal language used by persons who are Deaf.

  5. T/F Michigan law prohibits people who are deaf from driving.

  6. T/F People who are Deaf read Braille.

  7. T/F A person with partial hearing experiences fewer communication difficulties than a person who is deaf.

  8. T/F The term “hearing impaired” implies that one is hard of hearing.

  9. T/F A person with a profound hearing loss can still enjoy music.

  10. T/F Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing have below average intelligence.


  1. True. The majority of deaf children are born to hearing families. While it is estimated that well over half of all cases of childhood deafness stem from a genetic cause, surprisingly, deaf parents are more likely to have hearing children than deaf children.

  2. True. The best lip readers, or more accurately, speech readers, only achieve 30 - 40% accuracy. Only about 30–35% of the English language is visible on the lips and many speech sounds look the same on the lips. Take for instance the words: bump, mump, pump, or mad and bad. Say these words in a mirror and you will see that b, m and p all look the same to the speechreader. In addition, many characteristics about a speaker (i.e. mustache, lip movement, rapid speech) interfere with speechreading.

  3. False. Hearing aids amplify all sounds. Turning a hearing aid louder may distort sounds causing comprehension of speech to be even more difficult. Many speech sounds may be outside the range of a hard of hearing person’s ability to hear them, and thus the person has more difficulty discriminating, or understanding, these sounds. Most hard of hearing people have lost the ability to hear in the high pitch range where consonant sounds are heard. Thus, instead of hearing, “Who you are makes a difference,” the hard of hearing person may hear, “ho ou ae aes a ierence,” – even when wearing hearing aids. The aid does not give back normal hearing but helps a person to hear speech sounds better. The hard of hearing person is dependent on their hearing aids, speech reading, body language and knowing the topic of the conversation to understand what is being said. The characteristics of the speaker and the speaker’s use of communication strategies also influence understanding.

  4. False. American Sign Language (ASL) is not universal and not all people who are Deaf use it. Some people who are Deaf choose not to use sign language at all. The sign language agreed upon for use in international settings (like the Deaf Olympics) is based on the use of gestures and is called Gestuno.

  5. False. Hearing people sometimes ask if persons who are deaf or hard of hearing can drive and find it difficult to believe they can. Driving requires 99 percent vision. People who are deaf and hard of hearing have proportionately fewer accidents than hearing drivers because they pay attention to the road more. Hearing people turn on their car radio and use cellular phones while driving. When the radio and air conditioner are on and the windows are closed, the hearing person also has difficulty hearing sounds that impact on one’s driving ability.

  6. False. People who are blind use Braille. Braille is a method of translating written language and symbols into a pattern of raised dots that can be “read” by the fingertips of the person who is blind. While persons who are deaf use their hands to communicate with sign language, most can see to read; blind persons, on the other hand, use their hands to feel Braille patterns, but can generally hear and speak. The exception is those individuals who are both deaf and blind.

  7. False. All persons who have a hearing loss frequently experience significant difficulty communicating with other people. The absence of an interpreter, or the use of an unqualified interpreter, results in inadequate communication access for people who use sign language, or no access at all. For a hard of hearing person, hearing only parts of a word makes it difficult to understand communication, even when the message is delivered loud enough for it to be heard.

  8. False. Michigan’s Special Education Law defines the term, hearing impaired, as referring to all degrees of hearing loss, from mild to profound. Thus, it includes those who are hard of hearing or deaf alike. Most people who are deaf dislike the term ‘hearing impaired’, believing it promotes a negative image of deaf people as defective and needing to be fixed. People who identify themselves as ‘hard of hearing’, may use the term ‘hearing impaired’ interchangeably.

  9. True. People with a profound hearing loss often enjoy music. While they may not hear melodies, they can feel the musical vibrations and beats that are heard by people who are hearing. It is becoming increasingly popular for young adults who are deaf to install elaborate stereo systems in their cars and homes that include base boosters and flashing lights that coordinate with the music.

  10. False. People who are Deaf or hard of hearing are born with normal intelligence, the same as anyone else. However, there are several factors that may give this impression. Access to information and education may cause a person to appear to have lower intelligence. Hearing people take for granted the amount of information we receive by hearing. Over hearing other people’s conversations, radios, and easy access to education provide knowledge with little effort. People with hearing loss either do not receive this incidental information, or must work very hard to get it.

    You may notice that some people who are deaf cannot read or write well. The average reading level of deaf adults today is between 3rd and 4th grade. Reading ability depends on the age of onset of the hearing loss. Those who are born deaf or become deaf before age 3 may have difficulty developing English language skills. The reason is that English is primarily an oral language. We learn it by hearing it and reading is taught by phonetics, sounding out the word. For most of us, our ability to learn English is dependent on our hearing. Reading ability depends on when the hearing loss is detected and how early in life education is started.

    Another reason for the perception that a Deaf or hard of hearing person lacks intelligence may be due to the lack of, or inappropriate, responses on the part of the person with the hearing loss. If a question is asked and the person does not hear the question, or hears inaccurately, the response may not be what is expected.

    While these factors may impact the appearance of intelligence, people with hearing loss are as capable of learning as the general population. It just takes more effort to do so because of communication barriers.

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