Sign language is a great communication tool to have. It’s like learning another language; but for those with hearing loss, it is a way to get back the communication skills you need. Not only deaf people use sign language, it is a great tool and resource to have in your communication arsenal if you are experiencing any type of hearing loss and is very effective in environments that are too loud to hear properly.
What is Sign Language?
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) defines American Sign Language as a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Learning Sign Language
Nowadays there are so many different ways to learn sign language, it makes it easy to find whichever method works best for you. In addition, there are quite a few free ways to learn sign language, so you don’t have to tax your budget in order to learn it. Here are 10 different tools and methods you can use to learn sign language.
- Start out just learning the alphabet.
- Hire a private tutor.
- Take a class at your local school or community center (or a college that focuses on higher education opportunities for people with hearing loss).
- Find a hearing loss support group near you, this can be a great resource for learning sign language and you can get even more out of it.
- Get a sign language dictionary or a how to book. Free ones are usually available at the library.
- Take an online course.
- Watch videos online. (Hint: YouTube has many free tutorials).
- Ask a friend who knows sign language to teach you.
- There are many different software programs, websites, or mobile apps that teach you sign language. We have a short list below.
- Practice makes perfect! Continue to practice as much as you can.
Mobile Applications and Websites that Teach Sign Language
- The ASL App: http://theaslapp.com/
- Basic ASL: First 100 Signs: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/concepts.htm
- SignLanguage101.com: http://www.signlanguage101.com/
- Sign Language Apps: ASL Coach, ASL: Fingerspelling, and Marlee Signs (by the acclaimed movie star, Marlee Matlin).
HearingLife has options for people with hearing loss
Across the nation, the team at HearingLife is always here to help you through all aspects of your hearing health. If you are having trouble communicating and are concerned you may have hearing loss, contact us for a complimentary hearing assessment.*