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Deafness facts for kids

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Alexander Graham Bell and his Scott Circle School
Alexander Graham Bell with teachers and students of the Scott Circle School for deaf children, Washington, D.C., 1883

Deafness is defined as a degree of hearing loss such that a person is unable to understand speech, even in the presence of amplification. In profound deafness, even the highest intensity sounds produced by an audiometer (an instrument used to measure hearing by producing pure tone sounds through a range of frequencies) may not be detected. In total deafness, no sounds at all, regardless of amplification or method of production, can be heard.

Deaf culture refers to a tight-knit cultural group of people whose primary language is signed, and who practice social and cultural norms which are distinct from those of the surrounding hearing community. This community does not automatically include all those who are clinically or legally deaf, nor does it exclude every hearing person. It includes any person or persons who "identifies him/herself as a member of the Deaf community, and other members accept that person as a part of the community, an example being children of deaf adults with normal hearing ability.

It includes the set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness and which use sign languages as the main means of communication.

Members of the Deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability or disease.

Neurologically, language is processed in the same areas of the brain whether one is deaf or hearing.

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