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The terminological issues in the education of the hearing-impaired existed in the majority of the oldest sources.
In modern times there is still a lack of conformity in the terminology of hearing impairments. Therefore the formulations related to this group of disabled persons were, and still are, the subject of dispute among the many specialists. The terminology concerning hearing loss has not even been organised by encyclopedias and dictionaries. Among the large number of terminological definitions, the most comprehensive, to have been adopted, covering all persons with hearing impairments, is the term “hearing impairment”. In Polish it is “uszkodzenie słuchu”. The term “hearing impairment” does not indicate, however, the degree of hearing loss.
The term “deaf-mute” functioned in special pedagogy for more than a century. It defined persons with severe and profound hearing loss. Before World War II the term “deaf” started to be in use additionally. Nevertheless, a significant number of Poles still describe themselves in sign language as being “deaf-mute”, and not “deaf” For many hearing persons in Poland the term “głuchy” (deaf) is associated with the term “głupi” (stupid). The etymological and phonetic similarity of these words was the cause of the occurrence, promoted especially by hearing persons, of another creature of language form – “niesłyszący” (non-hearing). However, it is also not without flaws, given that the prefix “non” already suggests something negative, and because of the similarity with the term “niedosłyszący” (hard of hearing). Among the proposed terminology there have also appeared the terms “niemowa” (dumb), “inwalida słuchu” (person with hearing-related disability), “inwalida narządu słuchu” (person with auditory system-related disability) and “sprawny inaczej” (otherwise functional). Attempts to resolve the dilemmas of contemporary terminology in the education of the hearing-impaired allow some general findings. Certainly, there is still no term that would satisfy all environments. The terms “niemowa” (dumb), “inwalida słuchu” (person with hearing-related disability), “inwalida narządu słuchu” (person with auditory system-related disability) or “sprawny inaczej” (otherwise functional) should rather not be used. It would be more proper to use the following terms: “osoba z uszkodzonym słuchem” (person with impaired hearing), “osoba z zaburzeniem słuchu” (person with hearing disorder/dysfunction), “osoba z wadą słuchu” (person with hearing defect), “osoba niesłysząca” (non-hearing person), “osoba słabosłysząca” (person with difficulty hearing), “osoba niedosłysząca” (hard-of-hearing person), “osoba ogłuchła” (person with acquired hearing impairment), “osoba funkcjonalnie słysząca” (person with functional hearing), but also “osoba głuchoniema” (a deaf-mute person).

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