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How do Deaf People Learn to Speak Aloud?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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For many people who are hearing impaired, the use of sign language is a easy means of communicating. However, not everyone is familiar with sign language or comfortable with the concept of learning to sign as a way of communicating with coworkers, friends, or family members. At the same time, many deaf persons prefer to verbally communicate with other people instead of utilizing sign language. Fortunately, there are both time-honored methods that help the deaf to learn to speak, as well as new approaches that make use of the latest technology.

In general, any process that involves assisting deaf people in learning to speak aloud is referred to as oralism. Since the development of formalized education for deaf people in the early years of the 18th century, oralism has continued to evolve. Much of the basis for these techniques was aimed at teaching deaf children to relate to the world around them. Over time, the oral methods that were found to be successful with children provided the basis for helping adults who lost their hearing later in life to be able to function in society.

One of the most enduring traditional oral techniques in teaching speech to deaf people has incorporated the use of both sight and touch in the learning process. This process involves the instructor placing the hand of the student on the instructor’s throat while forming specific words. The student learns how the lips move when a word is formed, and also get a sense of how the muscles in the neck move when a particular word is formed. While considered a process that involves a great deal of patience on the part of both student and teacher, the student begins to associate movements with the production of particular sounds. By replicating the movement of the lips and the manipulation of the muscles used in producing sounds, deaf people learn how to receive and send verbal communications. It becomes possible to understand what is being said through employing the sense of sight, and also learn how to verbally respond based on the proper sequence of muscle contractions and lip movements associated with pronouncing a given word.

Computer technology has more recently been a means of inventing new tools to employ sight in the education process for deal people. Visual presentations of facial and lip movements, accompanied by flashing the word that is being pronounced on the screen, allows deaf people to practice articulation in private. While not a substitute for working with a speech therapist who is fully trained in speech articulation with the deaf, computer software of this type can be a valuable support to interactive instruction by a profession, as well as practice with friends and family members.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By DeafAlly — On Apr 09, 2021

Hello. I have been researching and trying to learn more about the deaf community for many years now. As I have done this, I have come across one wording error in your above article. And the very first sentence you use the wording, hearing impaired. Impaired means broken or damaged implying that deaf people are broken or damaged. This is far from true as they are whole, beautiful people who had a wonderful community. Instead I would use deaf or hard-of-hearing. I am unaware if you can make changes to your article, however, I hope you are able to read this comment and take it into consideration if you ever find yourself wanting to use this phrasing again. I also hope this helps whoever else may read this comment. And whoever does read this comment, I hope you do not take it rudely. I simply want to correct a mistake in the easiest way over text I can. Much love to you all!


By anon277506 — On Jun 30, 2012

I am deaf but using hearing aid helps me to listen. My hearing aid has high voltage that helps to stabilize the static hearing aid, which is a special apparatus and advanced technology for hearing impaired. I cannot listen at all without hearing aids. Hearing aids help me to listen. I cannot hear at all. Both ears are deaf.

I do not use the other hearing aid because I use the right hearing aid just because I like to use it. My uncle and my mother family taught me talk when I was a child. It was hard for me to learn to speak. It took seven years to learn to talk. It was not easy. By learning techniques in how to talk gave me the ability to talk. I learned to live with hearing people. I speak a little bit louder because I am deaf.

By dill1971 — On Oct 10, 2010

@anon109917: I am not sure what all this company does but I know that they are doing research on the speaking ability of deaf people. The company is called AG Communication. They have a website.

I think that what you are doing is great and very admirable. Good luck with your daughter-in-law.

By anon109917 — On Sep 09, 2010

I have my deaf daughter-in-law who wants me to teach her how to use her voice because my son is deaf and speaks very well, but since birth I have worked with him, but now I don't know how to teach an adult.

Would you be able to help me with this? Let me know where I could purchase some of this information.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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