From ArticleWorld

Deaf has multiple meaning. Besides its medical meaning, denoting a person with a severe hearing loss or some other condition that prevents the receiving and the processing of the sound, it can also be used in non-medical contexts.

Associated to the medical meaning of the word, there is a cultural one as well. Out of the 0.1% of the world's population who is suffering from a severe hearing loss, some of them consider themselves a part of the Deaf culture. Members of this culture do not see themselves as sick people, suffering from a disease, but rather as a separate cultural minority who have a different way of communicating with each other.

Deafness and hearing impairment

In general, the term deaf refers to a complete loss of the ability to hear sounds, while a hearing impairment is a partial loss of this ability.

However, the trend of political correctness has brought the term "hearing impaired" to the state where it actually refers to a deaf person. However, this is an euphemism, and the members of the Deaf culture actually consider it to be politically incorrect, as they do not view their inability to perceive sounds as an impairment.


There are more types of deafness, and some of them overlap:

  • Unilateral: the inability to perceive sounds with one ear.
  • Pre-lingual: deafness acquired before normal speech was developed, usually not allowing normal development of speaking skills.
  • Peri-lingual: deafness acquired while the first language was still being learned, often causing an incomplete development of the speaking skills.
  • Post-lingual: deafness acquired after the speaking skills were completely developed
  • Partial: a decrease of one's ability to perceive sounds, without causing the hearing to be lost completely.

• Profound: a severe decrease of one's ability to perceive sounds, rendering them completely unable to hear sounds of normal (or any) intensity.