To simplify a complicated subject,
there are two basic attitudes towards deaf people.
One is cultural, the other is medical.
THE CULTURAL VIEW
In the cultural view, deaf people are seen as whole, non-defective persons, as members of a socio-linguistic minority culture. They have a full-fledged, sophisticated language (American Sign Language in this country) that can be used in everyday life. Deaf people enjoy having their own sign-based schools, churches, theatrical events, and celebrations.
THE MEDICAL VIEW
In the medical view (also known as the "pathological" view), deaf people have a disability that needs to be remedied. If they have defective, damaged, or incomplete auditory equipment, they can use prostheses (hearing aids and cochlear implants) to correct or lessen this disability. Since hearing people use speech and listening to communicate with each other, deaf people should strive to improve their speech and listening skills to fit comfortably into this community. "Separatism" is discouraged. Sign language is looked on with disfavor or indifference, since it isn’t a "hearing" means of communication. Speech is "normal," signing is not.
This is an interesting article about the history of how society viewed and dealt with hard of hearing people.