Deafness is defined as having profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing in one or both ears. You may have heard the term 'Deaf' in the context of a person, or a group of people with profound hearing loss. 'Deaf' is a cultural identity that describes a community of people who are deaf, their shared experiences and language.
Other people with hearing loss, who don’t identify as being deaf, may be described as being hard of hearing. This may be the case when their hearing loss increases over time, or their level of hearing loss is mild or moderate.
A person may identify as deaf or hard of hearing—it’s their choice.