About Ephpheta > What is Deafness
What is Deafness?
There are variations in definitions when we talk about deafness and hearing loss.
The word “Deaf” and the “Deaf Community “ are descriptors for the behaviours, social norms, values and history of the community affected by ‘deafness’. The common denominator of this community is the use of signed language as the dominant form of communication.
Members of the ‘Deaf Community’ will often describe their experience of deafness as a human experience or way of life rather than a medical condition. For this reason the Deaf Community often includes in its membership family members that may have the ability to hear, together with institutions and organisations that adhere to the social norms of the community etc.
Deaf Culture as defined above is mentioned and recognised in the United Nations Convention in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The correct term for a person with a hearing loss who does not define themselves as a member of the Deaf Community – typically a person who does not use signed language as their main form of communications, identifies themselves as a person with an identity similar to one who has fully functioning ability to hear, yet lives with a medically diagnosed hearing loss- is ‘hard of hearing ‘.
The terms, "Deaf and Dumb" and "Deaf-Mute" are unacceptable terms to use when talking about a deaf person.