Deaf Community Definition of "d/Deaf"

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The phrases deaf-mute, deaf and dumb are outdated and no longer acceptable. The majority of deaf individuals have the ability to speak, but choose not to use their voices. It is difficult for them to learn speech when they cannot hear sound, and they simply feel uncomfortable speaking. When we define "deaf", the parameters of the definition should be determined. The audiological definition can be used -- that is, one that focuses on the cause and severity of the hearing loss and whether or not hearing can be used for communication purposes. Generally, the term "deaf" refers to those who are unable to hear well enough to rely on their hearing and use it as a means of processing information. Or a cultural definition may be used, as Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (1988) clarify: "We use the lowercase deaf when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing, and the uppercase Deaf when referring to a particular group of deaf people who share a language -- American Sign Language (ASL) -- and a culture. The members of this group have inherited their sign language, use it as a primary means of communication among them, and hold a set of beliefs about themselves and their connection to the larger society. We distinguish them from, for example, those who find themselves losing their hearing because of illness, trauma or age; although these people share the condition of not hearing, they do not have access to the knowledge, beliefs, and practices that make up the culture of Deaf people." A culture is generally considered distinct when it has its own unique language, values, behavioral norms, arts, educational institutions, political and social structures, organizations, and "peripherals" (su...

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...mild to profound, which can affect not only the volume, but also the ability to process sound. Deafness can be congenital or caused by illness, trauma, environmental factors (such as loud music or machinery) or the aging process. Our role is not to give Deaf people a voice; it is to make sure that the voice already present is heard. And we can do that. We can teach other hearing people to listen. Works Cited DEAF CULTURE VS. MEDICALIZATION, (2002) Retrieved as on 05-24-2003 http://www.cad.ca/english/resources/pp_deaf_culture_vs_medicalization.php Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, 1988 The Deaf Community and the Culture of Deaf People by Carol Padden, 1980. Deaf Culture and Deafness: What Real timers Should Know by Tess Crowder, 1999 Retrieved as on 05-24-2003 http://cart.ncraonline.org/archives/consumer/049961.shtml

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