ASL’s Importance

ASL’s Importance

Mary Huegel

According to the National Institute on Deafness, approximately 15% of Americans report trouble hearing. Around 600,000 Americans are deaf and between 250,000 and 500,000 Americans use American Sign Language as a form of communication. This means less than 1% of Americans are able to communicate through sign language. While you may not view learning ASL as an important lifestyle change, sign language has a huge influence on our society. 

Learning sign language can facilitate a more inclusive society for the hard of hearing community. Sometimes, people assume that deaf people can communicate through lip reading. However, only 30% of English can be accurately lip read, even if the person has been deaf for years. This means that sign language is the most effective means of communication for deaf people. In order to make life easier for the deaf community, it would be beneficial to learn at least some sign language.

Sign language isn’t just for communicating with deaf people, hand signs can save your life. In events that you cannot speak, such as kidnapping and hostage scenarios, being able to communicate with your hands could save you. A 16 year old girl was reported missing from North Carolina and appeared in distress in a car on the Kentucky interstate. This girl used a new distress signal, created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, to signal to the car next to her that there was a problem. The car then called 911 and she was saved. Read more here: Missing Girl Is Rescued After Using Hand Signal From TikTok. While this girl did not use ASL to save herself, she used hand signals, displaying the importance of communicating without speaking. 

If you are interested in learning some sign language, join the Sign Language Club at CNHS. Meetings are every other Thursday in A128. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.  

Information on the influence that ASL has on society will continue to be released in new articles so stay tuned.