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September 13, 1995

Communicating With Deaf Patients-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois at Chicago

JAMA. 1995;274(10):795. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100034020

In Reply.  —We appreciate the many varied responses to our article. We understand the concerns of Ms Ralston and colleagues about defining deafness. Hearing deficits range from mild to profound, but in an audiologic sense, deafness might imply a severe to profound hearing impairment. Several years ago, the World Federation of the Deaf, made up principally of people with severe hearing impairments acquired early in life who use sign language, and the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People announced that they preferred to be referred to as "deaf" and "hard-of-hearing," respectively.1 This distinction is based on communication and cultural issues rather than strict audiologic criteria. Some people with lesser hearing impairments do use sign language. Other people with profound hearing losses acquired later in life or those who were trained in oral programs during childhood may use lipreading and voicing, though often with the challenges caused by the

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