Deaf & Mute Communication

Updated March 23, 2017

Many deaf and mute people communicate with sign language. Others use speech reading. In situations where deaf people have difficulty communicating with others, they may simply write notes and communicate that way.

Forms of Sign Language

In the U.S., the most commonly used form of sign language is American Sign Language (ASL). ASL has its own grammar and sentence structure and differs greatly from spoken and written English. Some deaf people use other forms of sign language, such as Signed English. Signed English resembles spoken English more closely. In other countries, people use other forms of sign language.

Benefits of Sign Language

Sign language is more commonly used in the deaf community so deaf people that work or attend school with other deaf people may find it easier to communicate with sign than with speech reading.

Limits of Sign Language

Many hearing people don’t know sign language and some deaf people don’t know it, either. Therefore deaf people might find it difficult to communicate in some situations.

Benefits of Speech Reading

Speech reading, also commonly known as lip reading, allows the deaf to understand hearing people that don’t use sign language. They follow the movements of people’s lips as they speak, as well as relying on people’s facial expressions. Some people feel they fit into mainstream society better that way.

Limits of Speech Reading

Many people find speech reading difficult and tiring. In addition, deaf people that speech read usually learn to speak, but mute people cannot speak so they would still need to use sign language or some other way of expressing themselves.

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About the Author

Mike Andrews is a freelance writer and serial entrepreneur focused on small-business and entrepreneurship for average people. He holds a bachelor's degree in biblical studies and a master's degree in theology and has appeared in a wide array of print and online periodicals including "HiCall," "Mature Living" and "Caregivers Home Companion."