Many who are born deaf or who became deaf early in life experience language difficulties all through life; if no special education is available the child remains mute. Communication problems apart, there are indications that deafness has a pervasive effect on the total personality of the deaf person, including his social adjustment, perception and general motor activity. He is severely limited in understanding the world around him, in making himself understood, and in making the most of his learning experiences. He is deprived of the ability to enjoy not only music but also environmental sounds.
Myths and superstitious beliefs about causes of deafness reinforce negative attitudes and determine the way the deaf person is perceived and treated, even in his own family circle. In parts of east Africa, a congenitally deaf child is believed to be obeying an injunction by a god who has warned him not to divulge some secrets confided to him; to avoid possible risks, the child 'chooses' to be born deaf and mute. This, in turn, provides a reason for other people to avoid him.