Who is the Deaf Community

Who is the Deaf Community?

  • Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people, like any other population, are diverse in ethnicity, education, and backgrounds.
  • Deaf people have their own culture that is different from the majority culture — that is, the hearing/speaking culture. Like other communities, differences in cultures can influence interactions and communication.
  • Each individual has different ways of communication. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Communication access has an impact on everyone involved.
  • Statistical estimates based on census data:
    • Approximate population of ‘Deaf’ individuals and those with hearing ‘loss’
      • Connecticut 300,000
      • Massachusetts 650,000
      • Rhode Island 90,000
      • Tennessee 545,000

Did you know?

  • “Hearing impaired,” “mute,” and “Deaf and dumb” are inappropriate terms. The preferred terms are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
  • Even if a person can speak, this does not equate to the ability to hear.
  • Sign language users often will nod their heads to indicate understanding of what is being said. This does not indicate they agree with what is being said.
  • Large and fast signs may indicate stress or high emotions, not aggression or being out of control.
  • Deaf people’s sight and hands allow communication. If hands are restrained, this may trigger a strong response; imagine a hearing person’s mouth being taped shut. Be clear about any action plan, especially in mental health, medical, and law enforcement situations.

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