The Deaf Culture

This passage is about changes within deaf culture.

Lexile Level: 1420L

Categories: Sports & Health Science & Technology

There are nearly 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States. Many of these people consider themselves to be part of a distinct community with its own history, its own language, and its own bitter and often difficult struggles against discrimination. For centuries deaf people were considered disabled and even intellectually deficient. Deaf people fought for years to be accepted as fully functioning members of society and for their deafness to be seen not as a liability but as a unique gift. In the 1980s, an electronic device was designed to stimulate hearing in people who have severe to profound hearing loss. The device, known as a cochlear implant, triggered a fierce debate in the deaf community between those who chose to use the implant, and thus join mainstream "hearing" society, and those who rejected the device on the grounds that it was an assault on deaf culture itself.

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