Hard of hearing
People who are hard of hearing may have been born with a hearing loss or subsequently experienced a partial loss of hearing. While they have acquired speech normally through hearing and communicate by speaking, their speech may be affected. Their voice may be too soft or too loud. They understand others by speech reading, by the use of a hearing aid, or by asking the speaker to raise his or her voice or enunciate more distinctly.
Sign language is used primarily by deaf people throughout the world. It differs from spoken languages in that it is visual rather than auditory, and is composed of precise handshapes and movements. This language has evolved in a completely different medium, using the hands and face rather than the voice. It is perceived by the eye rather than the ear.
Sign language is not a universal language shared by deaf people of the world. There are many sign languages that have evolved independently of each other. Sign language portrays the image, identity and culture of the country that the deaf community belongs to. In Malaysia, we have Malaysian Sign Language (Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia, or B.I.M.).