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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

Understanding Deaf Culture

What is Deaf Culture?

Deaf Culture is a term commonly used in the Deaf community to describe the unique characteristics found among the population of people who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH). It is often indicated using a capital letter D in Deaf. It is used to describe the set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness and who use American Sign Language (ASL) as the main mode of communication.

Culture is used to describe the patterns, traits, products, attitudes, and intellectual or artistic activity associated with a particular population. The Deaf community has its own unique culture. People who are D/HH produce plays, books, artwork, magazines, and movies targeted for audiences who are D/HH. In addition, the Deaf community engages in social and political activities exclusive to them such as clubs and political advocacy campaigns.

PBS: Through Deaf Eyes
This documentary highlights various perspectives of Deaf culture. Some topics in the documentary include Deaf history, deaf education, oralism, and using hearing technology. Many perspectives on these topics come from people who are D/HH themselves.

American Deaf Culture
This website briefly introduces American Deaf culture, its language, behaviors, values, and traditions.