Dating Deaf People

I’m lucky I found someone early in my life so I didn’t have to deal with the stressful dating game for long. Deaf people — at least in my case — who live outside of the Deaf culture feel insecure when it comes to the dating game. Although it’s wrong to dislike someone just because of a difference, it’s human nature.
A person who is deaf wrote to Dr. Romance about returning to the dating pool:

I want to tell you a short story about myself. I am deaf since birth and I grew up being deaf. It’s hard for me to fit in, because this society doesn’t understand about us very well. I was married to hearing man for 13 years and we’ve been divorced for 10 years . I have wonderful sons, I love them so much and I have given up a lot to raise them. Now I am ready to date and trying to meet men on line, and chatting with them seems to go well; but as soon as I let them know that I am deaf they have stopped talking to me as if I had leprosy or something.

Its hard to meet men who aren’t scared of deaf people; the ones I meet seem not willing to try to be patient or to know me better. They never find out I’m a lot of fun like other people in general; and I like the outdoors, riding bikes, and camping. I also have job, because I can do anything but hear.

At the bar scene or anywhere when men talk to me and I try to understand them by reading lips, they act like I’m weirdo so I have to tell them that I am deaf. I hate to LABEL myself “I am deaf.” Then they say, “Oh, can you read my lips?” or “Never mind” and they walk away from me it hurts and frustrates me.

We the deaf people who love hearing people and want to prove them that we can be like they are and enjoy dating. It seems very limited for us to date people in general. They need to get better educated about us and to understand us better. It wont hurt to try!

Dr. Romance‘s reply:

I love your dating tips for deaf people, and I’m going to post them on my blog. To meet a hearing man who understands deaf people, why not go to classes in American Sign for the hearing? There you’ll find people who understand what it is to be deaf (many have relatives who are deaf) and who won’t be ignorant or afraid of deaf people. If you search online, be up front about being deaf in your profile — that will filter out the people who don’t understand. Try reading my article, “Where is Love?” .

How to Date Deaf People: (written by Dawn)

*If you meet a deaf person and you want to talk, let the person know by waving “Hi” or write a note to give to her or him.

*When you want to say something; Have a pen and paper to communicate with them so he or she can understand.

*If you invite a deaf person out out on a date, please face your date, to make it easier to read lips, and use the pen and paper when you don’t understand. Also, listen to what he or she has to say.

*If you have cell phone with you, don’t answer it unless you warn your date first [Dr. Romance says this is true of any date, not just a deaf person.] Understand that a deaf person probably can’t tell what you’re saying when you’re talking into a cell phone, so it’s polite to let your date know why you’re answering the phone and what the call is about (for example, it’s work calling, or someone who is ill. Non-essential calls can wait.)
*If you take this date to a party, introduce your date and let them know that she or he is deaf. Sometimes, people knew some sign language — you never know.

*If the other person is talking and your date doesn’t understand, help him or her stay in the conversation by briefly explaining the gist of the conversation.

*It’s helpful and kind to ask your date how to say some words in sign language. Your date will be impressed that you are willing to learn to communicate with them in their own language.

*Phone calls are easy — text messaging always works. Even when you’re on a date, texting something on your phone and handing it to your date will work if you don’t think you’re understood.

*If you’re going to the movies, ask in advance if there are closed captions for the hearing impaired.

*Remember your date can’t read your lips in a darkened theater. This is a good place to use texting — you can just hand your date your phone.

*If you want to be able to talk, it’s better to take your date out to mini golf, a nice small cafe or the park.

*Understand that American Sign is a different language, with different grammar, so don’t be offended if your date is sometimes hard to understand. As with any different language, it takes a little patience. You’ll get used to it after a while.

*I encourage you to learn sign language. Classes are fun, and you’ll impress your friends.

*Your date will be happy to answer questions if you ask.


Skip to comment form

    • trina on August 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Why limit one to dating only hearing man or woman?

    • Nikki on August 5, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    That is fabulous!!

    • Abbie on August 6, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I find dating is incredibly hard, I’ve practically given up and decided that I’m going to grow up to be little old lady all by herself. 🙂

    • Brian on August 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    @Abbie, all kinds of women feel that way. One of my friends just emailed me saying the same thing yesterday. I hear it all the time from my friends. Just relax.
    I would guess that deaf women would need to work a lot harder at getting the ball rolling. When I cute guy bumps into you, how is he supposed to get from “Oh, sorry” to “What’s your number?” It is very similar to the problem I had with non-English-speaking women who liked me–they couldn’t communicate with me right away and so nothing ever got started. At least a deaf woman could write me a little message like “You’re cute, what’s your name?” (or something a little more subtle) and start something that way.
    When a guy approaches you and you say “I’m deaf,” that is a big surprise and that would cause a lot of guys to be thrown off their game; when that happens, guys often retreat to avoid embarrassing themselves or offending you.
    It is also difficult for a guy to start things because we don’t want everybody around us to think we’re trying to take advantage of “some poor defenseless deaf girl.” That is why some guys might seem to treat you like you “had leprosy”. If I think a girl is less than 18 years old, I will get away from her as fast as possible just to avoid any possibility that somebody will think I am trying to take advantage of her. It is the same kind of thinking.
    Also, I think it is really unrealistic to expect your date to do things like check that a movie theater can do the closed captioning. More likely, a guy won’t invite you to a movie because he doesn’t know anything about the captioning, and he will think it is dumb to invite you to a movie because you won’t be able to hear it. If you want to be invited to a movie you have to say something like “I really want to go see the Dark Knight” and then hope that he asks you how it works. Once you have been dating for a while, he will get the hang of these things and then you can expect him to take care of them more.
    The other thing that would be difficult is the breaking up part. If I go on a date with you and I don’t like you, then how do I break it off without looking like a jerk? I can just imagine people being like “Oh, you broke up with that sweet deaf girl for no reason, you jerk. If you were a decent guy you’d give her a break.” It seems like a possibility for big drama, and drama is best avoided. You have to convey that you are easy-going about dating; “I’m going to grow up to be little old lady all by herself” is pretty much the opposite of what any guy wants to hear from any woman.
    Anyway, again, I would like to emphasize that I’ve never even met a deaf woman before, and I don’t know any guys that have met any deaf woman either. And, to be honest, I spent a few years hitting on women on a regular basis at shopping malls, coffee shops, clubs, libraries, college campuses, beaches, airports, gyms, sporting events, etc. I’m pretty sure I would notice a pretty girl furiously signing away; if she gave me any indication of interest I would probably go over to chat, for curiosity’s sake, if nothing else. But, since I’ve never seen you ladies, that makes me think you might not be hanging out at the places where you can be found, or you are not looking approachable (nicely dressed, smiley, friendly looking, physically fit). I think if you have an active and social lifestyle you will eventually bump into a few guys that will like you and that you like. Plus, your (hearing) friends can help you out by reducing guys’ (dumb) fears about asking you out, can’t they?
    Anyway, after you met a guy then I think it is just a matter of whether or not you are compatible with each other. The longer you date a guy I imagine the less important the hearing issue becomes. As a guy, I can say that we definitely care a lot more about sex and doing fun things than we care about any inconveniences that your lack of hearing might have. I’m more likely to break up with you because you are boring in bed than because you can’t hear my jokes. If you asked guys if they’d rather date a deaf girl or a girl that was ugly, they’d all pick the deaf girl. If you asked guys if they’d be more likely to break up with their girlfriend for gaining weight or losing her hearing, they would say gaining weight.
    If one of my friends avoided going out with a hot, smart, friendly girl because she was deaf, I would consider him to be an idiot. I’ve never met anybody that had anything against deaf women. So, I think you ladies have a more level playing field than you might think.
    Hope that helps. Good luck!
    Hugs and Kisses,

    • Farkus Bulkmeier on July 19, 2009 at 7:45 am

    My story is the exact opposite. I’ve been trying to get with a certain deaf girl for nearly two years now. We dated sporadically and I spend a load of money doing it. I have even been taking ASL classes. And one day she emails me saying “I don’t see us ever being more than just friends. I’m seeing other people.” oh well, C’est la vie

    • ken on November 7, 2009 at 12:05 am

    I’ve recently met a hearing impaired (amusia) woman at my college. In fact, she’s my chemistry partner. I want to get to know her, and date her. I’m not sure how to get the ball rolling. We only get a few minute to just hang out in between classes and stuff, and I want to talk (you understand) more, and ask about 8 billion questions. I finally asked for her email address, and asked her to peer review my paper just so that I could have a chance to talk to her. I don’t know how to crack her shell, to get her to notice me. She tells me only a little about herself in emails. When she responds to my emails, it’s like she didn’t read anything that I wrote, like she isn’t responding to me. Is it possible that she’s just insecure, or is she just totally not into me. At school, when we see each other we smile so much that we start laughing. I’m all head over heals with her, and don’t know how to not scare her away. Any advice?

    • Connie on November 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    That hearing impaired woman may be in love with you. She may not express herself in email or writing well enough, but you can ask her out in email and then pick her up at her house. Good luck!

    • ken on November 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Well, didn’t go so well.
    She totally blew me off, she said she simply isn’t a “people person”. Such a shame, she’s wonderful. Oh, well.

    • Jessie on May 31, 2014 at 7:40 am

    The comments section of this website is so helpful, thank you. I have one question, as a hard of hearing person, I’ve recently started online dating and I’m grappling with the dilemma of whether to let the guy know before the first date or wait and see if he can spot my deaf accent lol

    • Brenda on June 8, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Well I’m a hearing impaired person and I say the same things, I’m not a “people person,” & “I’ll grow up to be alone…”

    & that’s because if you are sitting next to her of course she can hear you but the problem is when you guys get to know her you’ll realize how actually the hearing loss impacts someones daily life especially when interacting with people in groups such as meeting your friends or maybe family, etc. That gets hard and then the hearing impaired person can look or sound rude because they’ll think she is ignoring. Or they’ll think she is dumb/slow because the sound waves take longer to process and put the words together, since we don’t hear well we train our brains how to put certain sounds together and make words and according to what we’re talking about we’ll be like oh okay yeah that’s what was said. So yes there is a lot of insecurities when someone doesn’t hear well.

    I was born with moderate hearing loss, and that is enough to make me anti social because of all my bad experiences in every single part of my life. Imagine someone with severe or profound hearing loss. Ugh, you guys seriously take it for granted it’s definitely not as bad as having poor eye sight.

    So unless you can adjust to practically be a hearing aid of someone then yeah go for it otherwise don’t bother! (my frustration) hope that sums up why us hearing impaired women feel the way we do.

    • Scarlett on June 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    My new boyfriend is also hearing impaired. And honestly, I cant even notice it.
    he laughs with me, he enjoys alot of the same things I do, and I absoloutley adore him?
    He is amzing. And im learning ASL just so we can communicate in other ways.
    I honestly dont see a difference between him or any other man, asside from the fact that he is wonderful, and I cant imagine not being with him?

    • Singledeaf on August 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Hi there
    Why normal girls don’t want to date me ? But I’m abit deaf and wearing hearing impaired, I had water infection in both ears and I can talk very well like normal person


      • on August 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Only your family and friends can answer that because they know your personality.

      • Rebecca on December 8, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      I am a single hearing woman, who worked in an HI/& deaf classroom. I’m not a great signer, but LOVE sign! I learned ESL with the children & to be better with them took outside classes. I have some hearing loss from childhood (fire cracker blowing up by 1 ear & teen years sitting by speakers @ concerts), but couldn’t really afford hearing aids back then, Now, after working w/ HI & deaf children & having listened to what they get w/aids, don’t think it would be worth my money- EVERYTHING is amplified, including all the background stuff. I went to “Deaf Dinners” in the city I lived in for a while in hopes of maybe finding a relationship with a deaf or HI guy. Some would talk with me, but usually ‘pick’ with my signing since it was signed English not ASL. I am middle aged & now live in a very small town 30miles from that big city where there were many deaf people. I miss the interactions with deaf people & their culture & STILL would so much LOVE to try finding a partner who is deaf/or HI. I’ve looked on-line, but this is as close as I’ve come to figuring out a way to meet deaf singles. I’m such a visual person signing just makes sence to me. Anyone have any suggestions besides moving back to Charlotte as its not affordable for me to do so. I just feel very comfortable with deaf & hearing impaired people & believe there may be someone out there for me. Thanks! Rebecca

    • faines on April 10, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Oh! I’m so happy to get more knowledge about how I can dating deaf guy. I’m really in love
    With deaf man but I think he don’t trust me because he don’t believe if I’m really loving him
    But I’m still trying to fighting for that love which I have for him

    • datingdeaf on May 19, 2015 at 4:46 am

    I’ve been dating a deaf woman, and am hearing. In the beginning there was a lot of excitement that I was willing to learn ASL. Ive been learning, but slowly. There are classes in my area, but during my work hours, so not ones I can take. Things seemed to have been going well, I got encouragement to learn, but now suddenly I seem to not be learning fast enough, and they want to ultimately live with someone who will sign all the time.

    It’s been a year, she lip reads well and is well educated. We text chat a lot and I thought things were going well. I feel a bit blindsided by this new ultimatum that I need to show better progress in ASL, when I had been getting feedback I was doing well.

    Is this expected? Should I have known all along I needed to get on the ASL bandwagon fast and furious or just not even try with the relationship? Seems I should have known the expectations of ASL or nothing sooner than a year in.

      • on May 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      I can’t answer this for you even though I’m deaf and my husband is hearing. Every situation is different as is ours. Hopefully, someone will respond. Have you considered taking ASL online. I’ve seen many online resources. Good luck!

    • Christian on June 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you expanding.
    My new girlfriend janet is deaf and I am a man of hearing I don’t mind dateing janet. Janet is very understanding and make me laught and smile. I got to love janet for who she is not because janet is deaf I really like when honest about everything I ask her. I fell god sent me a Angel from heaven to love me and care for me. Janet is 26 and I’m 35 and we get along be we have a great communication and a great relationship we build with trust. I’m trying so hard to learn to sign because I want to show janet I care so much for her. Janet signs and reads lips. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

      • on June 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Sounds like you’re both blessed. Thanks for sharing.

    • edgar on June 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Thank you so much .. I’m dating a deaf girl and i know that it’s my own effort to do so.. Of course she is so gorgeous and i love her although she is deaf.. I’m willing to learn sign language to understand her.. Also she reads lips.. When she told me that she is a deaf person i didn’t do anything.. I told her “oh, that’s good and can you read my lips?” She told me yes.. we do our communication by texting, sign language.. I asked her to teach me sign language and she got happy because she saw that i really interested in her.. No matters what she has but i love her..

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