Learning and Understanding Sign Language

Sign language helps to bridge the gap between those who can hear and those who cannot. Using a collection of hand gestures and symbols, sign language is an effective means of communication that provides the deaf and those hard of hearing a way interact with the world around them. Learning and understanding sign language isn't just for the hearing impaired—it's also for those interested in being able to communicate with the hearing impaired. Sign language is not difficult to learn, and surveys show that a need for those who can use sign language is growing in business and around the world. Many colleges and universities have developed degrees programs in sign language to fill this need.

History tells us that the hearing impaired were once thought inferior to those who were not, but many hearing impaired or deaf people have made significant contributions to society. If these people were not given the ability to communicate with the world through sign language, then the gifts they had for society could never be shared. To learn more about hearing impairments, sign language, the Deaf culture and communities, and the use of sign language in our society, please visit the sites below:

The History of Sign Language

Learn how sign language got started and how it soon spread.

Center for Disability and Referral

A kid's site that teaches the American Sign Language alphabet.

What is Sign Language?

Sign language was developed as a means to communicate to those who have lost their hearing or are hearing impaired.

American Sign Language Browser

Use the Internet to learn sign language at this site from Michigan State University

Why Study Sign Language?

The importance of learning sign language in business, schools and society.

What are Classifiers in Sign Language?

Sign language is composed of many different elements—discover the meaning of classifiers and how they help to show movement. The site shows videos of each of the different classifiers

American Sign Language as a Foreign Language

Many schools and universities have adopted ASL as a foreign language for students to learn in place of learning a foreign language.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information on occupational noise exposure

What is Hearing Loss?

Understanding hearing impairment and loss of hearing and how it happens.

The Types of Hearing Loss

University of Texas defines the different types of hearing loss experienced by the hearing impaired.

Fact Sheet on Tinnitus

Often linked to noise induced hearing loss, the American Academy of Otolaryngology provides information you need about tinnitus in children.

Hearing Loss in Babies

A guide to help you when you suspect your baby has a hearing loss.

Hearing Loss in Musicians

The Johns Hopkins Medical magazine shares information about hearing loss in musicians.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss and deafness and how it occurs.

Learn how the middle ear works and the symptoms that can occur with hearing loss.

Mobile Sign Language

Mobile ASL is a Washington State University project conducted by students that incorporates new technologies and sign language together.

Gallaudet University

A guide to help the hearing impaired communicate electronically.

The Importance of Captions

Learn about captions and the importance captions play in the deaf community.

The National Association of the Deaf

The National Association of the Deaf helps to protect those who are hearing impaired. Understanding why access to the human language is a basic right.

The World Federation of the Deaf

Current affairs and news at the World Federation of the Deaf to help protect the rights of those who are hearing impaired worldwide.

Sign Language Interpreting in the Classroom

Ohio State University often uses ASL Interpreters in the classroom to help those hearing impaired.

Understanding the American Disability Act

Americans with disabilities are a protected working class – find out how this program works.

The National Theatre of the Deaf

How "Stories in My Pocket" evolved at the National Theater of the Deaf.

Deaf Media Organization

An organization to help bridge the gap between the hearing and the hearing impaired. Why so many of the Deaf community are cut off from mainstream society.

Advances in the Studies of Human Motion

How the use of technology is helping in studies of human motion for integration into ASL.

Using Sign Language in Other Countries

Nicaraguan Sign Language was developed in the last 30 years to reach out and communicate with the hearing impaired.

ASL Shakespeare Project

The ASL Shakespeare Project started when a team of people decided to complete Shakespeare's play, the Twelfth Night in sign language.

International Center on Deafness and the Arts through Education

A background on the International Center on Deafness and the Arts and how it works to help hearing impaired children develop their creativity and talents.

Teaching Sign Language to Primates

Researchers teach sign language to primates as a means of communication.