American Sign Language (ASL) would not exist if there were no need. Perhaps those of you outside the Deaf Community have sometimes wondered how people become deaf? Certainly there are a variety of conditions and situations that can lead to such things, but there are a few worth mentioning when answering that question. As you likely have guessed, genetics and heredity can play a complete or partial role in creating deafness in a person. The circumstances of birth can also be a factor, such as premature birth or birth defects. Some life experiences can result in deafness, whether accidents that involve trauma to the head, certain illnesses or disease (i.e. rubella, Scarlet Fever) or prolonged exposure to loud noises. Many are familiar with the natural loss of hearing over time, which can sometimes lead to deafness in old age. At times, as with anything, the root cause is simply unknown. Yet, whatever the reasons for its origins, it is more important to focus on the rich life of those in this special subculture… and one way you can do that? Learn American Sign Language of course (you knew that was coming)!