The most popular handbook about the Deaf community


This site contains an overview of the fourth edition of For Hearing People Only, and ordering information.

HPO is written for people who have questions about Deaf culture, sign language, and Deaf life in general, and need a quick answer. It is not intended to be an in-depth excursion into a vast and complex subject, but to provide accurate and provocative answers to over a hundred persistent questions. It is a handbook for beginners. Each chapter is designed as an independent unit focusing on one topic.

It’s for students and casual readers taking a peek into this subject for the first time. It can be used as a handy in-class or supplementary text in beginning ASL, Deaf Studies, or Introduction to Deaf Culture classes. In response to the requests we’ve gotten from teachers, the fourth edition contains more footnotes and citations.

Since its original publication in Fall 1992, HPO has become Deaf Life Press’s best-selling book, and a staple of classes across the nation. It is written, illustrated, and published by Deaf people. It’s for all beginners. (And, yes, we know that Deaf people read it too!)

When we began monthly publication of DEAF LIFE in July 1988, we recognized the need to include an informative column written especially for our hearing readers, featuring commonly asked questions (some of them sent in by our readers, others based on questions we ourselves had been asked time and time again) with our responses. “For Hearing People Only” became one of our most enduringly popular features–perhaps the most popular.

In 1992, responding to an ASL teacher’s encouragement, we published a compilation of “For Hearing People Only” columns in book form–Deaf Life Press’s first book. One year later, we published the revised, expanded second edition. It had 60 chapters. The third edition, published in April 2003, had 768 pages and 131 chapters.

This new edition (1,610 pages and 220 chapters), published February 2016, is approximately double the size of the second one, in two volumes, completely revised and updated.

Smart people can ask dumb questions, but “dumb” questions aren’t necessarily dumb–and all questions deserve good answers. In this book, we hope that you’ll find some enlightening answers to your questions.

Our foremost concern is to provide honest answers to people’s questions. Our perspective is based on our own experiences as deaf persons and members of the Deaf community, and embodies a Deaf viewpoint—a viewpoint that is often suppressed, distorted, or disregarded in “mainstream” media coverage.

HPO4 Homepage Grey HPO4 Orderpage Grey