American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Position Statement

Hearing Loss: Terminology and Classification

Joint Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Council on Education of the Deaf


About this Document

The following position statement and technical report were developed by the Joint Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED). Joint Committee members responsible for the development of this document include (from ASHA) Joan Marttila, chair 1996–97; Linda Seestedt-Stanford, chair 1994–95; Evelyn Cherow, ex officio; Donald Goldberg; Dawna Lewis; Leslie Ann McMillion; Jane Seaton; Alicia Stewart; and Larry Higdon, vice president for professional practices in audiology and monitoring vice president; and (from CED) Kathee Christensen; Steve Nover; Marilyn Sass-Lehrer; and Patrick Stone. This document supersedes ASHA policy: Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations: Hearing Disorders section.


Position Statement

It is the position of the Joint Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) that terms delineating a continuum of communication function be used to describe individuals with hearing loss. Terms that have general acceptance among some but not all individuals with hearing loss include hard of hearing, hearing impaired, late deafened, Deaf, and deaf. Persons with hearing loss may communicate via signed, spoken, or written languages or other methods or combinations of methods (e.g., cued speech, fingerspelling) depending on communication contexts, partners, and use of amplification and/or other assistive technology. Persons with hearing loss may use a variety of terms to describe themselves with consideration of their degree of hearing loss, communication preference(s), and use of technology. Terminology to describe persons with hearing loss should reflect the personal preference of the individuals involved. Terminology usage should facilitate eligibility for entitlement and access to services and assistive technology.

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Index terms: hearing loss

Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1998). Hearing loss: terminology and classification [Position Statement]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.

© Copyright 1998 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association disclaims any liability to any party for the accuracy, completeness, or availability of these documents, or for any damages arising out of the use of the documents and any information they contain.

doi:10.1044/policy.PS1998-00222

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