[RPG] Positive and negative effects of being permanently deaf PC


I'm creating a deaf Fighter for a campaign, which I hope will last a while (10-12 sessions). The DM has allowed it, but we have not yet agreed on how the deafness affect my PC mechanically (I used gestures and sign language known only by the party, kind of home sign language, for the roleplay). However, we have agreed that the deafness must have a meaningful impact to the PC mechanically.

This answer suggest that there are both pros and cons being deaf. Except failing ability checks that require hearing, what is the complete list of other effects (both positive and negative) of being deaf?

Things I'm not sure of is whether there is penalty to passive and active perception and when casting spell (I heard there is failure chance?)

Best Answer

I am a hard of hearing person, this is how I would translate my experience into the game

Ability Checks

  • Advantage on all perception checks based on vision
  • Automatic fail on perception checks based solely on hearing (your DM would decide when the sound would be felt by you in which case it would be at disadvantage)
  • Disadvantage on persuasion, deception, and intimidation when speaking
  • Advantage on insight
  • Either normal passive perception or two different passive perceptions one boosted and one lowered that your DM would pick based on the situation.

Languages and Communication

  • Ability to lip-read any language you know
  • A sign language on top of the other languages that you know
  • Silent communication
  • Communication between translucent barriers or long distances


  • All attacks against you that are based on sound fail
  • No effect on spellcasting and your DM can decide if verbal spells can be cast with sign language if it impacts roleplay.


You and your DM can decide how prevalent your sign language is, and if there is discrimination against the deaf.

You can also decide if you have magic hearing aids, and how those work: Perhaps disadvantage on hearing perception checks instead of automatic fail with a chance of malfunction or needing to charge them

What exactly your character's background is will affect the mechanics. Please ask if you want any explanation or have any questions on role-playing the deaf character.