May 18, 2010

I am currently helping one of my students put together a class presentation about successful and/or famous people with deafness. Finding a good resources to get an extensive list of such is hard. Many books I found in the library are outdated. There are plenty of websites that will provide lists of famous deaf and hard of hearing people, but prove to be uninteresting and just that, a list (I am so sick of seeing Helen Keller!).

I found a great website called It contains an interesting collection of various famous and successful deaf people (from past and present). The website seems to contain mainly culturally Deaf or people with severe-profound deafness.

More exposure to successful deaf people should help make the notion, that just about all deaf people will graduate high school with a 4th grade reading level, go away or seem meaningless.

My student and I have yet to find a good website about hard of hearing people or people with mild-moderate deafness like us. There are plenty of information out there, but I like's website. It would be great to have something like My student suggested that we start one. Not a bad idea. He is one smart cookie.

Perhaps people with mild-moderate deafness do not have to overcome as much as people with bilateral severe-profound deafness, so it is not as impressive. However, it would be nice to have a website of successful people who wear hearing aids or who are mild-moderately deaf, like most of my students. I would just like to see more role-models for my students. Maybe if Hannah Montana wore a hearing aid, my teenage student would not be going through so much trouble hiding her hearing aid.


Link cited:


  1. Chances are, most of these deaf did wear hearing aids and had oral speech. So just because they decided not to wear anymore and sign doesn't mean they are not a role model for these kids. Believe me, if these deaf people can get by without speaking and hearing, they can too.

  2. How about Ryan Lane? He was born deaf and is an actor. He's appeared in House M.D., Miami Medical, and Cold Case (and was Dummy Hoy, deaf baseball player in the docu-movie Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero). He's about 22, 23 years old. I don't know how severe his hearing loss is, but he seems like a pretty interesting person.

  3. For the teenage student you have, have her read about Jayna Altman:

    She has a severe-profound hearing loss and was Miss International 2008-2009

    I can think of many HOH professionals, but don't know of a website that compiles information on them.

  4. I guess a lot of people don't realise the impact mild/moderate hearing impairment has on a deaf child/teenager/adult since there is NO information about it really. Hope you find somebody!!

  5. How about you have this student put herself in the ppt? Make her profile with her name, aspirations, accomplishments, etc.

    ALSO- remember that a lot of websites, in an attempt to be "politically correct" will just call all people with hearing loss "Deaf".

  6. Wow, thanks everyone for your suggestions!
    I am going to check out those websites.


  7. Oh, by the way, I am using signing d/Deaf people as role models for my students. Anyone who is making a positive contribution to the world are used as role models, deaf or hearing.

    But, my student also wants to find people like him (hard of hearing, wear hearing aids, and not rely on sign language) who are successful and/or famous.


  8. Visit and click deaf history in categories, you will find some interesting information.

  9. Hi - I'm a first-time poster, but have been reading your blog for several months now. It's excellent, and I really appreciate this post as my five-year-old daughter has mild-moderate hearing loss. I also have been looking for role models for her.

    I have found Dierdre Downs - Miss America 2005 and also a recent medical school graduate.

    Bill Clinton - while not diagnosed as a child, he received hearnig aids at the relatively young age of 50, so he wore them while he was president and he continues to wear them.

    I'm still looking for more because they are hard to find! Hope you can come up with some more too so that I can add them to my daughter's role model folder.


  10. Rebecca,

    Thank you for your nice comment. It makes me happy to know that my writing can have meaning or serve some sort of purpose for some people out there.


  11. Dr. Jim Hutchinson from Idaho. Don't know how you can find more information on him, but he identifies as Deaf, but wears hearing aids and speaks.

    Wendy Osterling, a resident at the Univ. of Utah Hospital, identifies as hard of hearing.

    Have you seen the series of books called something like "Deaf Legends"? Many of the people in these books are still alive.

    Laurene Gallimore is also a great person to include. There's alot of information on her online and she's also in one of the Deaf Legends books.


    1. I have been looking for Dr. Hutchinson from Idaho for several years. We worked together in Othello Washington and became good friends, but have lost contact. Perhaps you can help with some clues of others who may know of his whereabouts.
      James Laurino MD

  12. check out the PEPNet website and their "Achieving Goals" section. Lots about successful deaf individuals, some hoh.


Keep it civil.