How Many People Use Sign Language

How Many People Use Sign Language in 2023? (U.S. & Worldwide)

Published on: July 30, 2022
Last Updated: July 30, 2022
In this article, you will learn how many people use sign language and plenty of other useful information about it.
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Quick Answer 🔍

How many people use Sign Language in 2023?

70 million hearing-impaired and deaf people all over the world use sign language to communicate.

How many people use sign language is our topic of conversation today.

In this article, you will learn how many people use sign language and plenty of other useful information about it.

Having this knowledge might spark something in you to make it your second, third, or fourth language.

You never know when you’re conversing with someone with a hearing impairment.

You also never know when you can be of help to someone with a hearing impairment trying to communicate with a hearing person.

Learning sign language has more benefits than you can imagine. 

The following data will give you an idea of how important sign language is and why it’s so beneficial to anyone with a desire to learn it.

Let’s discuss how many people use sign language.

How Many People Use Sign Language in 2023? 

Roughly 70 million hearing-impaired and deaf people all over the globe use sign language to communicate.

In the United States, 500,000 hearing-impaired and deaf people use American sign language (ASL). 

That’s only 1% of the hearing-impaired and deaf population in the United States.

Unfortunately, not everyone with a hearing impairment has the resources to learn it.

That alone should show us all the benefits of learning and teaching sign language. 

What if you could help someone learn it? What if you could be their resource?

What Are the Benefits of Learning Sign Language?

Knowing sign language helps strengthen the bond between infants and parents. Infants and toddlers can learn basic sign language to communicate.

The earlier they are taught, the better. 

Enhanced spatial reasoning is another benefit of learning sign language in the hearing impaired or deaf.

Spatial reasoning is how we view visual information in our surroundings and consider three dimensional objects. Knowing sign language activates how you interpret body language.

Because sign language embraces hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions, your ability to interpret body language will be enhanced. 

According to studies, sign language also helps with peripheral vision and reaction time. These are things you need for driving, watching television, walking, etc.

Sign language also helps with long-term cognition. Learning a second language in general is great for your cognition. It also helps to protect you from Alzheimers. 

So, learning sign language has many benefits for the user, and for those around them.

Even if you’re not deaf or hearing impaired, you can benefit in the same ways. Plus, you can be helpful to others. 

These are just a few of the many benefits of sign language.

How Many Sign Languages Are There?

Just like there are different verbal languages all over the world, sign language is also more than one language.

All over the globe, there are more than 300 signs used for communication. Every country has its own signs and customs. ASL is not the only sign language. 

The United Kingdom is home to over 80,000 British sign language speakers. Nepalese sign language is used in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

Indonesian sign language came from French sign language. In Indonesia, there are about 900,000 users of Indonesian sign language.

Other countries that have their own version of sign language include Russia, Brazil, Spain, and Egypt.

This is a sample of the countries that have sign language, though there are more known and some even unknown.

There is also an International sign language that is also called International Sign or International Gesture.

It involves simplified gestures for communication between those who speak different languages.  

So, you see that there are many different forms of sign language. 

What Are Some Facts About Sign Language and Its Users?

Sign Language

Here are a few snippets of statistics about sign language. 

  • Marlee Matlin is an actor who is deaf, and who uses sign language. She’s been acting since she was 7 years old. She also reads lips and has won Golden Globe and Oscar awards. As of 1986, she became the only, and the first deaf person to win acting awards. 
  • Sign language is most-sued in Canada and the United States. 
  • Deaf people can text or call 911 in an emergency. Special equipment like TTY, video relay, real-time text, and caption relay are often used. 
  • ASL is considered the fourth most-spoken language in the United States. 
  • Hearing impaired people think in terms of an inner voice, according to research. However, there are some who think in terms of the verbal language they know. 
  • How a hearing impaired person thinks is often determined by whether the person was deaf at birth, or became deaf after they learned to speak. 
  • In 2021, there were almost 10 million people who were hard of hearing, and 1 million who were functionally deaf. 
  • Over 50% of all hearing impaired people (hearing loss or deafness) are over 65 years old. In contrast, fewer than 4% are under 18.
  • Many times, people who use sign language will assign their own sign to people they know. It saves time and effort over finger signing. 
  • Each sign in sign language uses five components. Any sort of change in the five components will change the meaning of the sign. For instance, the direction of the palm will change the meaning of a sign.
  • Certain gestures also represent grammar and punctuation. For example, a question has a specific eyebrow position. The eyebrows are left down for who, what, where, when, why question. However, they are kept up for yes or no questions.

The five parameters used in ASL are palm orientation, movement, expression, location, and handshape. People who use sign language are very aware of each component. 

Conclusion 

Sign language isn’t exclusive to those with hearing problems or deafness. It’s also used by hearing people to communicate with loved ones.

Some people learn ASL as a second language to be helpful, and to be an interpreter in church, court, or in other venues. 

Sign language is considered an official language in 71 countries, but only a few states in the United States.

Five countries that have adopted sign language as an official language include Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, and Bolivia. 

After reading this article, would you consider learning or teaching sign language? Do you know anyone with any level of hearing loss?

If you became deaf tomorrow, would you acclimate by learning sign language?

Now that you know how many people use sign language and its benefits, has your perspective changed? 

Sources

BerltizDe Koop TipsI Love Languages
I Love LanguagesLanguages UnlimitedWorld Federation of the Deaf
NIDCD NIH

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Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that from me here on EarthWeb.
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Last Updated: July 30, 2022
In this article, you will learn how many people use sign language and plenty of other useful information about it.
How Many People Use Sign Language
EarthWeb is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Stay on top of the latest technology trends — delivered directly to your inbox, free!

Subscription Form Posts

Don't worry, we don't spam

Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that from me here on EarthWeb.

Latest Stories