Deaf with a lowercase “D” is the medical term for people who have lost their hearing.  People who identify as deaf have a spoken language as their first language.  They may or may not know sign language.  People who are deaf may have an assistive device such as a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Typically, people who identify as deaf do not know sign language or participate in Deaf culture.


Deaf with an uppercase “D” is a cultural term for people in the Deaf community.  Deaf people use sign language as their primary language and share a common culture.

For information about American Deaf Culture, read here.