Did You Know?

FACT OR FICTION? About the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Canada

All culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people are good lipreaders.

FACT: Not necessarily. Lipreading is a learned skill. People with hearing loss are not instinctively better lipreaders.

All Deaf, oral deaf and deafened people know a signed language.

FACT: Some Deaf people know and use a signed language, but many people with hearing loss do not.

Deaf people can’t speak.

FACT: Some profoundly Deaf people have learned to communicate orally, and those who became deaf later in life often have clear and modulated speech.

There is one universal sign language.

FACT: There are over 100 signed languages in the world. They are as distinct from each other as the world’s spoken languages are distinct from one another.


  • Approximately 4 in 1,000 Canadian babies are born with some degree of hearing loss or will develop early progressive childhood hearing loss. (Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2007)
  • 10% of Canadians actually identify themselves as culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing. (CHS Awareness Survey, 2002)
  • More than one million adults across the country reported having hearing loss, but other studies indicate that the true number may reach three million or more Canadian adults, as those suffering from hearing problems often under-report their condition. (StatsCan, 2015)


  • Only 55% of the Deaf population have obtained a high school diploma, compared to the national average of 81% of boys and 92% of girls between 20 and 24 years old. (Survey on training and employment for hard-of-hearing individuals, Dominique Pinsonneault et Martin Bergevin, 2006)
  • 37.5% of Deaf people in Canada are unemployed. In fact, for Deaf people between ages 15 and 34, the rate of unemployment is higher than the employment rate (Pinsonneault and Bergevin Survey, 2006)
  • In Canada, 8,995 people reported a sign language as being one of their mother tongues and 43,090 reported knowledge of a sign language. (StatsCan, 2006)