What are the proper terms and definitions to be used to describe deafness and hearing loss?
Remember that the Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing are all very distinct groups.
deaf: an audiological term referring to those people who have little or no functional hearing. May also be used as a collective noun to refer to people who are audiologically deaf.
Deaf (big “D” Deaf): a term referring to those individuals with little or no functional hearing who identify with and participate in the culture, society and language of Deaf people, based on Sign Language.
deafened (also known as late-deafened): refers to individuals who become deaf later in life, but who have typically grown up in a speaking, verbal culture. They may not identify with either the Deaf or hard of hearing communities.
hard of hearing: a person whose hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and whose typical mode of communication is speech.
hearing impaired: considered a medical term; “impairment” refers to a deficiency that a person has and is no longer acceptable in referring to a person with a hearing loss.