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A Hearing Son In Deaf Family 'I'd Rather Be Deaf'

WATCH: CNN Films - A hearing son in Deaf family: 'I'd rather be Deaf'

SAN FRANCISCO -- CNN: Meet the Pedersen family: parents Rod and Jamie; and the children: Zane, Jax and Kaleb. They were all born Deaf, except Kaleb who at age 20, is the oldest child.

"Obviously, I didn't choose to be the only hearing one," Kaleb said on the phone from their home near San Francisco in Pleasanton, California. Thanks to his upbringing, Kaleb prefers Deaf Culture over the Hearing World. "There's more of a sense of belonging in the Deaf culture. They just feel closer together than how hearing people act with each other."

The Pedersens are featured in CNN Films' new Digital Short titled, "All-American Family." They're among an estimated 1 million so-called "Functionally Deaf" people in the United States, and 70 million worldwide, according to federal and United Nations stats.

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Long-established Deaf Schools in and around places such as San Francisco, Rochester, New York; Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles have led to large pockets of Deaf residents in those cities. Many hold on tight to their Deaf identity and Deaf culture.

That's "Deaf" with a capital "D." That's how the community spells it.

Since childhood, Kaleb's ability to hear - along with his command of American Sign Language has defined much of his role in the family. His first language was sign language - English came later. "He's like half deaf inside and hearing on the outside," his mom Jamie Crowley wrote CNN in an e-mail. "Kaleb is naturally our ears."

When the family meets at restaurants, Kaleb orders for everybody. When the doorbell rings, he answers it.

When hearing people ask Kaleb annoying questions such as, "Do you ever wish your family could hear, like you?" - he doesn't get upset... Read More: view the film on the CNN Digital Shorts website.

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