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Permadeaf is an unofficial conduct in some variants of NetHack that requires the hero to be deaf for the entire game.

To activate permanent deafness, you must set OPTIONS=deaf before starting the game - checking your stats refers to this conduct as deaf from birth. Once activated, the conduct is automatic, and there is no way for the hero to break the conduct or to cure deafness, even with an artifact.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit ffb61612, permadeaf becomes an official conduct, and is logged in the achieveX field in xlogfile.


Being permadeaf entails the following:

  • You cannot use the #chat extended command.
  • You cannot use a stethoscope.
  • You will not hear "ambient" sounds, e.g. from vaults and shops.
    • However, if you visit a shop, the shopkeeper will accommodate you; you can still buy, sell, and price-identify.
  • You cannot chat with aligned priests and therefore cannot purchase divine protection or other benefits; aligned priests do not accommodate deaf worshipers.
  • You cannot chat with a foocubus to initiate an encounter. However, a hostile foocubus may still initiate an encounter with you; foocubi will not ask you permission or talk to you about removing your armor, and will instead silently decide whether or not to remove each armor piece.
  • If your quest leader starts roaming, you cannot chat to them. However, the quest leader will still speak to you if you corner them in a corridor or other spot where they have nowhere to move.


The November NetHack Tournament

In The November NetHack Tournament, the permadeaf conduct is available, and there is an achievement for receiving the quest with the permadeaf conduct intact. In the 2022 tournament, 4 players earned this achievement.[1] In the 2023 tournament, 4 players earned this achievement.[2]

In the DevTeam quest, you cannot chat to devteam member Mike Stephenson, but can still complete the quest by throwing each scroll of missing code to him.


xNetHack offers the permadeaf conduct.


SpliceHack offers the permadeaf conduct.