Children, Deaf, of Hearing Parents

A central fact of life experience for most children born deaf worldwide is that about 90 percent will have hearing parents. This familial circumstance has significant impacts on deaf children’s linguistic and socioemotional development, since the deaf infant cannot learn their parent’s language modality spoken in the way the hearing parents did. The relative rarity of this trait among newborns (1–3:1,000) in Europe and the United States, with levels reaching up to 6:1,000 in low-resource countries, means few hearing parents will have close familiarity with Deaf social groups and the local or national sign languages.

A summary description of the overall social circumstances of hearing parents suggests that poverty, increased population-based epidemic or endemic infections of certain viruses, and high rates of intermarriage in social ...

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