Question: Is Deafness a Disability or A Culture?


Share your thoughts and experience.



It’s a disability and your question is offensive.



Hello Droo,

I appreciate your answer and thank you very much. I don’t mean anything about the question that I posted. Today, there are many issues about this question that really matters especially with the people who lost their hearing ability or was born deaf. It’s a question to hear the feelings and experiences of a person who lost his/her hearing ability. We all know that we don’t wan’t to view “deafness” as a disability right? and in the other country they viewed it as culture. We have different views. That’s why we want to hear What’s their view about this and How did they manage it?

Even “Psychology Today” and the "Very Well Health asked this question.
See here:

Thank you,



I am not deaf but have a hearing loss, in other words hard of hearing, and I am considered partly disabled by the Veterans Administration. And to be honest my hearing loss caused me to be forced to retire before I really wanted too.



Hi cvkemp,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for being honest.

1 Like


Depending on the individual, it can be both. Some people who are part of the deaf culture are not physically deaf themselves. (For example, sign language interpreters and hearing children of deaf parents.) I believe that physical deafness is more disabling for those who lose hearing as adults.
Prior to being diagnosed with a hearing impairment myself I took classes in American Sign Language at what was then called the deaf and hard of hearing counseling service in Wichita, KS. Through those classes I became involved with the deaf community in that area. I was often invited to attend various deaf club functions and at one point I was mistaken for being deaf by deaf people.
My involvement with the deaf community pretty much ended when I moved to Tucson nearly 30 years ago. Although I still take an occasional brush-up course in sign language. And these days–while I do not consider myself to be deaf–I am considerably more hearing impaired than I was at that time.
Since moving to Tucson I have been working with Developmentally Disabled adults. For many of the individuals I’ve had contact with over the years hearing impairment is only one of the issues they have to deal with. I also work with a number of individuals who are nonverbal. Ironically, I consider my hearing loss to be an asset in that situation because I believe it helps me pickup on more subtle facial expressions and other cues that I might not be aware of otherwise.



Fascinating question…

I am the father of 5 sons, three of which were born with severe hearing impairment.

When my oldest was about 4, we were living in Seminole Florida at the time, and we started going to the “silent dinners” at the mall. Basically what that is is a congregation of deaf people who get together to eat, and to socialize. We wanted my son to have the interaction and socialization he needed to develop normally, so we started taking him there to interact with deaf people.

Several times we were “verbally” (with sign language) attacked because he was wearing hearing aids.

“Why are you trying to make him a hearing person” was always the question.

It puzzled me then, and still does to this day, as to why deaf people would view the opportunity to hear a little more as an attack on his, or their identity.

It is a world full of hearing people, with a very low percentage being deaf. If he wanted to secure a job, go to college, etc, he would need the skills to interact with people who hear. And often times, even with the laws in place, there is no interpreter, or captioning, or whatever that he might interact the way a hearing person would.



It is either, depending on your perspective. Those of us who acquired hearing loss after adulthood have a different outlook on deafness than those who are part of the big-D Deaf culture.



I think “culture” would follow deafness. Now you’re a member of a specific group. I would define deafness as being entirely void of hearing. This is a hearing aid forum which means people are able to hear some with some assistance.
As for deafness being a disability…of course it is. “Normal” is proper hearing.
Is partial hearing loss a disability? I’m not so sure when assistance is available.



Maybe you ask blind people if blindness is a disability or a culture, too?



A lot of different disabilities have a culture associated with them. Blindness and autism both come to mind. We all view the world differently. Some people view their disability as a core part of themselves and attempts to “fix” them are seen as offensive.



The biggest disability is stupidity.



I believe it was intended as sarcastic, but it’s also another great example. “Stupid” (ignorant) people are often insulted at attempts to educate them.



It’s both. A disability and a culture by necessity. Who better to understand and communicate with than your peers.



It was writen to author of this topic and deaf people enraged by a little kid wearing HA.



Hi Eric.Cobb,

Touching the hearts and minds of others. You’re a good and a strong father. Thank you for sharing your story.

Have a great day

1 Like


Is blindness a culture?



I’d never experienced that sort of attitude, although I know it does exist out there.

1 Like


My paternal grandfather was both blind and deaf, though both happened in early adulthood. I don’t know if he considered himself disabled. He delivered the mail on a rural route for many years. My grandmother would sort it, place it in a box with seperators, and his mule knew to stop at every mailbox. If there was no mail for that box, he just moved on. When my father was about eight, they Model A, and my father drove it with the help of cushions and wooden blocks fastened to the pedals so his feet could reach. You didn’t need a license to drive at that time. It seems that people born deaf consider deafness a culture and those who lose their hearing later in life consider it a disability. If you never had hearing, you don’t really realize what you lost.



As I age and it becomes worse I’m looking at it as more of a disability. Even with HAs, I’m finding it more and more difficult to follow conversations. The phone is sometimes very difficult. Getting new HAs on the 24th and hope for improvement.
By the way, not offended at all but I am a lifelong learner. I don’t know it all yet but am working on it.:stuck_out_tongue: