The generic term Hearing Impairment is a word used to describe all types of hearing deficits, ranging from a mild loss to profound deafness. Hearing impairment is the most prevalent chronic physical disability in the United States with over 13 million individuals being affected. More specifically, Hard of Hearing is a condition where hearing is defective to varying degrees (usually a hearing aid can enhance the understanding of speech.) Deaf/Deafness is a condition in which perceivable sounds have no meaning for ordinary life purposes (hearing aids enhance awareness of vibrations such as horns and sirens, but not speech.)
Title 5 lists Hearing Impairments under the heading of Communication Disability.