Being social used to mean spending more time in the company of others than the solitude of your own home but the term has taken on a while new meaning with the advent of social media. Today a person can chat with their online friends, share pictures and ideas with others all over the world, find romance, or network professionally — all from the comfort of their easy chair.
Online communities for a variety of special interest groups, including the hearing impaired, exist to help connect like-minded individuals. If you or a family member is Deaf or has a hearing impairment, these communities may be an opportune place to find information about hearing loss and connect with others who are experiencing the same medical issues. Whether you’re looking for advice, romance, news on the latest technology, or just want to voice your opinion on hearing health-related matters, online communities for the hearing impaired can provide the opportunity. We’ve identified a few of the sites for your convenience.
Deaf.com: One of the oldest companies on the web, this site features Deafchat, where the deaf community can connect online, DeafNotes, an online message board for the discussion of controversial issues facing the Deaf community, and DeafPeople, where achievements of Deaf people, living and deceased, are recognized and celebrated. Founded in 1996, the company’s motto is “Making the world a better place for the next Deaf generation – and for Deaf people now.” The site also maintains breaking Deaf community news and a bulletin board for posting ads of upcoming Deaf conferences. The site is planning to add and online store in the near future.
DeafandHoH.com: Bookmark this site if you’d like to participate with other Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, along with audiologists, teachers, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and students, in a weekly online chat. The site was founded in 2008 with the goal of helping the hearing impaired community interact socially and find hearing health information. The site also maintains a listing for audiologists, schools for the deaf and hard of hearing, and financial resources (coming soon).
AllDeaf.com: This site offers a variety of options for their users. Registered guests can participate in a variety of Deaf Community chat rooms, read about trending topics for the Deaf and hearing impaired community, connect with others looking for relationships and parenting advice, learn about new technology, and respond to bulletin board posts by other members.
Deafsinglesconnection.com: If you’re strictly looking to meet other Deaf and hearing impaired singles, you might want to visit this site. Founded in 2003, Deafsinglesconnection is one of the leading websites for Deaf singles. Much like other popular dating websites, members register, create a profile and view photos of other singles. The site offers opportunities to connect through private email, chat rooms and message boards.
Deafplanet.com: Kids who are Deaf or hearing impaired will love following the adventures of Kendra, Max and WILMA (Wonderful, Indispensable, Language Machine) on Deaf Planet, one of the first the television shows and websites in American Sign Language. Here, kids can watch 20 educational adventures of the trio on Deaf Planet where the characters speak and sign; captions on the side provide text of the conversation. The colorful site also offers 18 interactive games.
As in all your online communications, safeguard your personal information. Never share your real name and address on blog sites or in chat rooms and only shop on secure sites.