There are various terms for describing people with varying degrees or kinds of deafness. The most important of these terms are defined below.
If you are not sure which term to use, it is advisable to check with the person you are talking with or about to determine which term they prefer to use.
The two main international peak organisations - the world Federation of the Deaf and the International Federation of the Hard of Hearing - have recommended that the terms "Deaf" and "Hard of Hearing" be adopted (1995), and Deaf Australia follows this recommendation. However many Australian people and organisations continues to use the term "hearing impaired" in preference to "hard of hearing".
Using the wrong word can easily offend. Culturally Deaf people do not like the term "hearing-impaired", perceiving it as negative and clinical. Hard of hearing people do not like being identified by the terms "Deaf" or "deaf", so it is essential to check terminology with your subjects. Where a large mixed group of people is being referred to, it is appropriate to use more than one term, e.g., "Television subtitles are enjoyed by Deaf and hard of hearing people throughout Australia."
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is not intended as a substitute for independent professional advice.
12-Nov-2015 3:31 PM (AEST)