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Encyclopedia > Deaf

The word deaf can have very different meanings depending on the background of the person speaking or the context in which the word is used. Medically, the term can be used to mean having profound hearing loss, a physiological condition causing an inability to receive or process aural stimulation (i.e., sound). Culturally, it can be used in reference to individuals who see themselves as part of Deaf culture. The word “deaf” used in a cultural sense is almost always capitalized (Deaf), while in a medical sense is almost always lower case (deaf). Hearing impairment or deafness is decreased or absent ability to perceive auditory information. ... Physiology (in Greek physis = nature and logos = word) is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. ... Deaf community and Deaf culture are two phrases used to refer to persons who are culturally Deaf as opposed to those who are deaf from the medical/audiological/pathological perspective. ...


In the medical view, the global deaf population is very roughly estimated to be 0.1% of the total population (1 in 1000). [1] The figure is likely to be higher in developing countries than developed countries due to restricted access to health care. Worldwide, at least 5% of the population (1 in 20) is estimated to have less than average hearing. The great majority of people with less than average hearing are elderly or developed hearing loss after leaving school. [2] A developing country is a country with low average income compared to the world average. ... A developed country is a country that has achieved (currently or historically) a high degree of industrialization, and which enjoys the higher standards of living which wealth and technology make possible. ...


A minority of deaf people are part of Deaf culture. They are mostly either individuals who were born deaf (Pre-lingual) or became deaf at an early age (Peri-lingual or Post-lingual) and who have a "severe or profound hearing loss;" or are children of deaf parents. Members of Deaf culture use sign language as their primary language and often emphatically see themselves as not disabled, but rather as members of a cultural or language minority. Members of this group use Deaf as a label of cultural identity much more than as an expression of hearing status. Deaf community and Deaf culture are two phrases used to refer to persons who are culturally Deaf as opposed to those who are deaf from the medical/audiological/pathological perspective. ... A profoundly prelingually deaf individual is someone who was born with insufficient hearing to acquire speech normally, or who lost their hearing prior to the age at which speech is acquired. ... Peri-lingual deafness means to contract deafness while acquiring a first language. ... Post-lingual deafness means to contract deafness after acquiring a first language. ... CODA is an acronym for Child of Deaf Adult. ... Deaf community and Deaf culture are two phrases used to refer to persons who are culturally Deaf as opposed to those who are deaf from the medical/audiological/pathological perspective. ... A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses manual communication instead of sound to convey meaning - simultaneously combining handshapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speakers thoughts. ... The definition of a minority group can vary, depending on specific context, but generally refers to either a sub-group that does not form either a majority or a plurality of the total population, or a group that, while not necessarily a numerical minority, is disadvantaged or otherwise has less...


Deafness is not limited to humans, but can also occur in animals. Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... Phyla Porifera (sponges) Ctenophora (comb jellies) Cnidaria (coral, jellyfish, anemones) Placozoa (trichoplax) Subregnum Bilateria (bilateral symmetry) Acoelomorpha (basal) Orthonectida (parasitic to flatworms, echinoderms, etc. ...

Contents


Terminology

Deaf vs. Hearing Impaired

Outside of the deaf community, deaf usually means a total hearing loss and someone with a partial hearing loss is more likely to be referred to as hearing impaired. These terms are used in the pathological sense, to indicate an illness or disability. People who are hard-of-hearing or have partial loss of hearing have moderate amounts of hearing loss but not enough to be considered deaf. ...


Political correctness has led to a preference, by hearing people, for referring to a person as hearing impaired rather than deaf. In this sense it is a euphemism for all with any degree of hearing loss. In fact, Deaf people who consider themselves part of the cultural and linguistic minority, the "Deaf World", take great affront at the use of the term hearing impaired. They consider it a politically incorrect term. Political correctness is the alteration of language to redress real or alleged injustices and discrimination or to avoid offense. ... A euphemism is an expression intended by the speaker to be less offensive, disturbing, or troubling to the listener than the word or phrase it replaces, or in the case of doublespeak to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ... Deaf community and Deaf culture are two phrases used to refer to persons who are culturally Deaf as opposed to those who are deaf from the medical/audiological/pathological perspective. ...


In contrast, the Deaf cultural world view uses the terms Deaf, with a captial d; hard-of-hearing and hearing in an "us" or "them" sense. In this view, "Deaf" (us) means to experience the world and embrace the values that Deaf people embrace, while "hearing" (them) means to experience the world and embrace the values that hearing people embrace. This creates a Deaf cultural view in which hard-of-hearing represents a view of the world that embraces values from both the Deaf and hearing world. Indeed, within Deaf culture the terms hearing and hard-of-hearing are sometimes used to denigrate, provoke or insult both Deaf and hearing people. Deaf students from one school have been known to playfully refer to deaf students from another school as "hearing" during athletic competition. Historically speaking, Deaf culture has never embraced the term hearing impaired in this "us" versus "them" view because it is thought to be a generalization on pathology that tells nothing about an individual's values. Further, the deaf view of this terminology parallels that of a language minority rather than being a description of pathology or disability. The term deaf has been the traditional identification of culturally Deaf people for over two and a half centuries, or before the serious examination of hearing loss by medical practitioners and speech teachers, who introduced pathological terminology such as semi-deaf, semi-mute and the modern hearing impaired to the language, even began. Deaf remains the preferred term of group identification among culturally deaf people today. Members of the Deaf community often interact through organization such as the National Association of the Deaf ([3]) and through culturally Deaf web portals such as DeafSpot.net ([4]). These organizations and websites are cultural artifacts, not self-help or medical resources. DeafSpot. ...


Not all people who view themselves as Deaf are unkind to hearing people. They simply do not like being referred to as "impaired" (i.e., broken). Some deaf people refer to hearing people as "Deaf impaired","thumb impaired" (nearly resembling the sign for incompetent), or "language impaired" as a joke, to make fun of the "hearing impaired" label.


Total deafness is quite rare. In fact, most people who are in the "Deaf World" can hear a little, but since hearing loss is frequency-based rather than amplitude-based, a deaf person's hearing is not usable. (They can usually only hear bass sounds and/or really high-pitched sounds, if anything.) Thus, they, and deaf-friendly hearing people, believe the narrow "total hearing loss" definition of deaf is inaccurate because they have the same needs as someone who is totally deaf. This article is a physical description of hearing impairment. ...


Other meanings of 'deaf'

  • Deaf is also used as a colloquialism to refer to a recalcitrant individual or someone unwilling to listen, obey or acknowledge an authority or partner. The third line of Shakespear's Sonnet 29 provides an example:
"When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,"

A colloquialism is an expression not used in formal speech or writing. ...

As an acronym

The Deaf Equipment Acquisition Fund or DEAF is a trust fund designed to pay the cost of specialized telecommunications equipment for the deaf or hearing impaired and to pay the cost of operating and deploying a dual-party relay system. ...

Categories of deafness and hearing impairment

These categories may be overlapping. Deafness or hearing impairment may be:

Age of onset is also a significant factor. People with unilateral hearing loss can hear normally in one ear, but have trouble hearing out of the other ear. ... A profoundly prelingually deaf individual is someone who was born with insufficient hearing to acquire speech normally, or who lost their hearing prior to the age at which speech is acquired. ... Peri-lingual deafness means to contract deafness while acquiring a first language. ... Post-lingual deafness means to contract deafness after acquiring a first language. ... People who are hard-of-hearing or have partial loss of hearing have moderate amounts of hearing loss but not enough to be considered deaf. ... A person who is tone deaf lacks relative pitch, the ability to discriminate between notes. ... Tinnitus, ringing ears or ear noise is a phenomenon of the nervous system connected to the ear, characterised by perception of a ringing or beating sound (often perceived as sinusoidal) with no external source. ...


See also

Deafness, or the state of being deaf, is most commonly defined as the inability of the unaided ear to perceive sounds. ... This is an incomplete list of notable deaf people. ... A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses manual communication instead of sound to convey meaning - simultaneously combining handshapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speakers thoughts. ... The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, which prefers to be referred to as RNID, seeks to represent all deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK. RNIDs headquarters are in Islington, in Central London (19-23 Featherstone Street, LONDON EC1Y 8SL). ... National Deaf Childrens Society (NDCS) is the only British charity solely dedicated to providing support, information and advice for deaf children and young people, their families and professionals working with them. ... Deafblindness (or deaf-blindness) is the condition of having little or no useful sight and hearing. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Deafness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1192 words)
Members of Deaf culture use sign language as their primary language and often emphatically see themselves as not disabled, but rather as members of a cultural or language minority.
Deaf students from one school have been known to playfully refer to deaf students from another school as "hearing" during athletic competition.
Deaf is also used as a colloquialism to refer to a recalcitrant individual or someone unwilling to listen, obey or acknowledge an authority or partner.
deaf - definition of deaf in Encyclopedia (3244 words)
Deaf, often capitalized, may also describe a culture and community whose members may or may not be able to hear but for whom the medical condition of deafness is somehow relevant or present to their lives.
When deaf education entered the realm of public education in Paris in the latter half of the 18th century, for the first time deaf people had access to social opportunities that were made possble by their acquisition of sign language.
Deaf culture also includes the understand that the device isn't just for the deaf; that hearing people use it also and that the connotation that such a device is exlusively for the deaf is like saying that pencils and chalk are technologies used by the hearing to overcome their communication barriers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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