Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Deaf/Hearing Impairment

  • Deborah Witsken
  • Yuan Yuan WangEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1447


Deaf; Hard of hearing; Hearing impaired; Hearing loss

Short Description or Definition

Medical definitions of deafness refer to impairment in the physical structures necessary for hearing and understanding language. The term deaf refers to a degree of hearing loss that significantly impacts access to auditory language; hard of hearing typically refers to a hearing loss that still allows for some understanding of auditory information. Medical and functional definitions of deafness do not necessarily correspond with an individual’s cultural identity. The cultural definition (commonly indicated by the capitalized term “Deaf”) refers to individuals who reject the medical notion that deafness represents impairment per se and identify with a community of individuals who share common experiences, a rich cultural heritage, and a shared language – sign language (Lane et al. 1996).


Konigsmark and Gorlin (1976) have described over 140 syndromes of hearing loss, and the...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of MacauMacaoChina