The use of impaired in such expressions as hearing-impaired or visually impaired is a recent addition to the vocabulary of disability. When used as euphemisms for deaf or blind, these terms are superfluous at best and may even be offensive if taken to imply that deafness and blindness are too disturbing to mention directly. However, the notion of impairment is useful in describing conditions involving less than total loss of capacity. Thus a person is best described as hearing-impaired if he or she has a partial hearing loss and as deaf if the loss is profound. When referring to a group of people with varying degrees of sensory loss, from partial to total, you should use the term formed with impaired since it more readily suggests a range of conditions than the more absolute-sounding deaf or blind.    1

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