Communication is quite varied among deaf and hard of hearing people, whether the person identifies as culturally Deaf or not. There is not one best or established way to communicate as a person with hearing loss. This is because communication is dependent on the individual’s upbringing, experience with language and communication access, and frequency and depth of exposure to language. These are factors that play into determining which expressive and receptive communication modes the deaf person will develop and adapt to.


There are many people with hearing loss who do not identify as culturally Deaf. Often, people are surprised to learn that identifying as a member of the Deaf community does not necessarily mean the person uses sign language as a primary means of communicating. In fact, some culturally Deaf people do not sign at all.


Those who identify as culturally Deaf write the word "deaf" differently from those who do not.


“I am Deaf.” = The person with hearing loss identifies as culturally Deaf and as a member of the Deaf community.

“I am deaf.”= The person with hearing loss does not identify as culturally Deaf and is not considered a member of the Deaf community.


Deaf people who rely on sign language typically use the structural components of a story. Visual, gestural, physical and emotional expressiveness are core components of their language. Deaf people who communicate using sign language typically inspire awe in those unfamiliar with the language. It is beautiful to watch. The visually pleasing aesthetics of sign language, however, should not take away from it being considered a legitimate language and form of communication.

Communication Diversity in the Deaf Community-BCC.mp4

ID: The opening title card has a light blue background with yellow, orange, green and red graphics. The title text is written in dark blue. The video shows Makoto, a Japanese-American man with black hair wearing a black, button down T-shirt with white-trimmed sleeves. The walls in the background behind him are gray and there is an abstract painting on the wall behind him. To Makoto’s right is a brown curtain with living room furniture in front of it.

Link to Transcript

What does it mean to be culturally Deaf-BCC.mp4

ID: The opening title card has a light blue background with yellow, orange, green and red graphics. The title text is written in dark blue. The video shows Makoto, a Japanese-American man with black hair wearing a black, button down T-shirt with white-trimmed sleeves. The walls in the background behind him are gray and there is an abstract painting on the wall behind him. To Makoto’s right is a brown curtain with living room furniture in front of it.

Link to Transcript