Terminology -- Deafblind, Deaf/Blind or Deaf-Blind?

There is a certain amount of debate about this at the moment. People who are deafblind sometimes like their condition to be described as deafblind or deaf-blind.

Some people feel that removing the hyphen to create one word separates the condition from deafness and from blindness, reflecting the unique nature of the condition. On the other hand, some people say that hyphenating the words achieve this distinction, and is the usual practice in the English language, unlike, say, German, where words are joined together to create new ones.

Recently, some people who have Usher Syndrome have said that they do not like to use the word deafblind (with or without the hyphen), and prefer to say they have Usher Syndrome (type I, II or III).

The term deaf/blind is sometimes used, but this really looks like deaf OR blind.

I am not going to suggest here which is "right", especially as I am not deaf-blind, but I note this here so that it is understood that there is debate on this matter. My personal feeling is that the term "dual sensory impairment" is somewhat ambiguous (there are, after all, five senses to choose from!), but it is also commonly used, so I will sometimes use it here, especially if I have already used the deafblind (however punctuated) several times in the same sentence or paragraph.

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Last Modified on 03-JUL-1997 by James Gallagher <James@deafblind.co.uk>.