An agreement (1991) between the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the International Federation of the Hard of Hearing (IFHOH) recognises and respects the right of individuals with a hearing loss ranging from mild to severe to regard themselves as either "deaf" or "hard of hearing". These organisations have endorsed the "deaf" or "hard of hearing" terms. SOURCE: Deaf Australia
Terminology used by Deaf Australia to describe people with different degrees and types of deafness or hearing loss:
- Deaf (with a capital D) is used to describe those people who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) to communicate, and identify themselves as members of the signing Deaf community. These people may also identify themselves as "Culturally Deaf." They are more likely to have been born deaf or become deaf early in life, are pre-lingually deaf and use sign language as a primary or preferred communication mode.
- deaf (with a small letter, d) is a general term used to describe people who have a physical condition of hearing loss of varying degrees irrespective of which communication mode they use such as Auslan and lip reading for example. SOURCE: Deaf Australia Inc
Read more about Deaf Terminology in Australia here