From a medical perspective, deafness is defined as having profound hearing loss. It can impact the way an individual learns, communicates, and interacts with others and the world around him or her. Over 30 million Americans are reported to have some degree of hearing loss, and the causes vary from person to person. However, the concept of deafness is much more complex than simply not being able to hear.

For some individuals who consider themselves to be “Deaf” (with a capital “D”), being Deaf signifies a cultural identity of being proud to be Deaf, identifying with other members of the Deaf community, and often using American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary mode of communication. This entry describes deafness from the medical and cultural perspectives, ...

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