Imagine being able to hear soft music or speech only with assitive listening devices or not at all. This is a reality for people born without the ability to hear or develop deafness or hearing loss of various degrees due to other circumstances. This number is difficult to calculate due to the vague definition for the term but some put the number between 5 and 40 million.
While some may see deafness negatively, the deaf community have wholeheartedly embraced the difference and formed a unique lifestyle and culture all their own. The deaf culture prides itself in its rich heritage and recognizes its ability to overcome adversity as individuals and as a group. The complexity of the culture can be seen in art and theatre using ASL and deafness themes, as well as poems about hearing loss and experiences in a hearing world. Deaf youth easily find role models in such events as The Miss Deaf America Pageant started in 1972 and the Deaflympic Games making its appearance in 1924. And, if you’re looking for love, the deaf community also has its own online dating sites.
The deaf community is united by values, shared experiences, pride and a common language.