Feature Stories

An in-depth look at key programs and issues that matter

Quiet support

A growing number of businesses and communities are working to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Sept. 18-24, 2017 International Week of the Deaf this year.

2017: Amber Galloway-Gallego uses body movements to visualize noise for deaf fans at 2017 Lollapalooza in Austin, Texas.

2017: South Africa announces it could soon give sign language official status. Sign language already has official status in a few African countries, including Zimbabwe.

2017: Scientists at the University of California, San Diego develop a smart glove that translates American Sign Language into digital text.

2017: Newport Beach, Calif., named a “Deaf-friendly city” designation because of its wide use of the Language People app on tablets placed in some government buildings and restaurants. The app provides sign-language interpretation via on-demand, real-time remote video conferences.

2017: Holly Maniatty becomes a YouTube sensation for her sign language interpretation for famous rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Wu Tang Clan and Eminem, at major music festivals.

2016: Starbucks announces it will partner with Malaysia’s Society of Interpreters for the Deaf to open a new cafe, in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur that is staffed by deaf baristas. A Starbucks in London’s Jubilee Place works with We Sign Café teaching British Sign Language to its staff.

2015: Four new technologies are created to improve quality of life those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

2013: In an effort to be more inclusive, Union Market in Washington, D.C., uses design guidelines from Gallaudet University for the Deaf and hires deaf and hard-of hearing workers as well as sign language interpreters at events.

2009: At Tradeblock Café in Melbourne, Australia, students from Victorian College for the Deaf to work as baristas, kitchen help and wait staff. The hearing people use an app that teach them sign language so they can order.

2008: The Federal Communications Commission begins requiring Video Relay Service, an alternate to the typed text many deaf and hard-of-hearing people used, and also requiring Internet Protocol relay service providers to use existing 9-1-1 networks to route calls to the appropriate emergency response centers (i.e. fire, police, medical, etc.) or Public Safety Answering Points.

2005: Poet Bob Arnold founds ASL Slam in New York, where deaf and hard-of-hearing literary and performance artists can show off their talent.

1997: National Association of the Deaf creates National Deaf History Month, March 13-April 15.

1983: The European Deaf Sport Organization is born to promote deaf sports around the world. Today, 1,000 deaf sports clubs in 40 countries with 50,000 athletes are members.

1964: Robert H. Weitbrecht, James C. Marsters and Andrew Saks develop technology that allows a typewritten conversation through telephone lines. That technology eventually became the teletypewriter, or TYY, that enabled deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate by telephone.

1958 The World Federation of the Deaf, now comprised of the 130 national deaf associations and works with the United Nations, launches the International Day of the Deaf. The celebration eventually morphed into the International Week of the Deaf.

1951: The Italian Deaf Association, at the first World Congress of Deaf Associations, establishes the World Federation of the Deaf in Rome, Italy. WFD now holds a World Congress every year in a different country.

1864: Abraham Lincoln signs a charter authorizing the board of directors for Gallaudet University, formerly Columbia Institution of the Deaf and Dumb, to grant degrees.

1817: The American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Conn., becomes the first public school for the deaf.

Tell us what we missed? What organizations do you know of that support deaf and hard-of-hearing communities?

California Residents

Exercise your rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act here.