9 Best Charities That Support the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Support the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (Complete 2022 List)

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Alycia O'Dell

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Around 430 million people worldwide live with disabling hearing loss, a number that is expected to increase to 700 million by 2050. Unaddressed hearing loss has been linked to impaired communication, speech, and cognition. Furthermore, deaf and hard-of-hearing people often face discrimination, leading to poor employment, education, and social outcomes. Fortunately, organizations around the world are working to improve the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. So, we had to ask: what are the best charities that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing?

The best charities that support the deaf are the American School for the Deaf and the American Society for Deaf Children. Charities such as the Hearing Health Foundation and the American Hearing Research Foundation fund the most innovative and promising research on hearing to better understand, prevent, and cure hearing loss.

Whether you want to advocate for the rights of the deaf community, ensure that parents of deaf infants have access to crucial resources, or help a deaf person feel more secure with the aid of a hearing dog, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support the deaf are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Support the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some support the deaf internationally.

Many of these charities focus on utilizing the latest discoveries and technological breakthroughs to restore hearing and aid in vocal communication. Others help deaf families embrace deaf culture by providing education, resources, and social connection. Some work to promote safe listening practices to prevent hearing loss, while others advocate for the rights of the deaf community and fight discrimination. Yet, they all share a common goal: to support the deaf.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Below are our favorite charities that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing:

  • American School for the Deaf
  • American Society for Deaf Children
  • Hearing Health Foundation
  • American Hearing Research Foundation
  • Central Institute for the Deaf
  • National Association of the Deaf
  • Hearing Loss Association of America
  • Dogs for Better Lives
  • Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

American School for the Deaf: Inclusive Deaf Education

The American School for the Deaf was founded in 1817 by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Dr. Mason Cogswell, and Laurent Clerc as the first permanent school for the deaf in the US. Today, they are a national leader in providing educational programs and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the American School for the Deaf a 100% rating for Finance and Accountability. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver rating for transparency. 

“ALL ways able.”

American School for the Deaf

What they do: The American School for the Deaf provides members of the deaf community with quality education in a barrier-free, language-accessible environment. The school utilizes a Bilingual Approach to communication, which includes instruction in both English and American Sign Language. They serve children of all ages, from infancy and early childhood to High School. And, their Transition Services program helps students prepare to enter the workforce or begin college. Furthermore, their PACES Program offers residential treatment to students with significant emotional or behavioral challenges.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American School for the Deaf has educated hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, remaining flexible to meet the needs of their diverse student population. For example, in 2016, they broadened their scope to serve deaf and hard-of-hearing students on the autism spectrum with their Autism Expansion. Furthermore, they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by launching their Online Academy in 2020, making education accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing students around the world.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American School for the Deaf via their website. You can also participate in their annual Golf Tournament.

American Society for Deaf Children: Parents Helping Parents

The American Society for Deaf Children was founded in 1967 by parents of deaf children to support other families raising deaf children. Today, the organization ensures families have the resources they need to help their deaf children succeed.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the American Society for Deaf Children a 90% rating for Finance and Accountability. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver rating for transparency. 

“Bringing Families together through American Sign Language.”

American Society for Deaf Children

What they do: The American Society for Deaf Children works to ensure all deaf children have the opportunity to effectively communicate by providing valuable and trustworthy information. For example, they help parents learn to communicate with their child via American Sign Language through online classes. And, they allow them to practice their skills with other parents through their ASL Ambassadors program. Furthermore, their Knowledge Center provides role-specific resources to families, educators, and providers. Also, they help deaf children connect with each other through their Friends Like Me program.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American Society for Deaf Children has reached thousands of families of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. In 2020 alone, they helped 1,728 participants learn American Sign Language through 105 online classes, webinars, and events. In the same year, they connected deaf children and families through 2,125 virtual sessions of Friends Like Me and ASL Ambassadors. In 2021, they released Fingerspelling.xyz, a free browser app that helps people hone their ASL skills by tracking hand movements and providing instant feedback.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Society for Deaf Children via their website. You can also give a gift of membership or choose them as your charity of choice while online shopping through AmazonSmile.

Hearing Health Foundation: Investing in Hearing and Balance

The Hearing Health Foundation was founded in 1958 by Collette Ramsey Baker to support hearing and balance research after a cutting-edge operation restored her hearing. Today, the charity improves the lives of those affected by hearing loss by funding groundbreaking research. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Hearing Health Foundation a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“A world where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy life without hearing loss and tinnitus.”

Hearing Health Foundation

What they do: The Hearing Health Foundation partners with and funds scientists who work to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure hearing and balance conditions. For example, their Hearing Restoration Project is an international collaboration of scientists researching the regeneration of hair cells to cure hearing loss and tinnitus. In addition, their Emerging Research Grants program provides support for hearing and balance research in the early stages. Furthermore, their Keep Listening campaign promotes hearing loss prevention by broadcasting public service announcements on television and social media.

What they’ve achieved: The Hearing Health Foundation is the largest nonprofit funder of hearing and balance research based in the US. They have funded research that has led to some of the most important developments for the prevention and treatment of hearing loss, including cochlear implants. In the 1990s, their advocacy efforts led to universal newborn hearing screening legislation, which was adopted by 45 states in the US.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Hearing Health Foundation via their website. You can also create your own fundraiser or choose them as your charity of choice while online shopping through AmazonSmile.

American Hearing Research Foundation: Funding Hearing Innovation

The American Hearing Research Foundation was founded in 1956 by Dr. George E. Shambaugh to fund research on hearing loss and balance disorders. Today, the organization works to better understand hearing and balance, and educate people on hearing loss prevention. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the American Hearing Research Foundation a 100% rating for Finance and Accountability. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold rating for transparency. 

“Making new discoveries possible for more than 60 years.”

American Hearing Research Foundation

What they do: The American Hearing Research Foundation provides seed grants for novel research to better understand and overcome hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. Their Research Committee chooses 5 to 10 projects to fund a year, prioritizing proposals that include groundbreaking research ideas. For example, in 2002, they funded research that led to the discovery of the human deafness gene. They also work to educate the public about hearing loss prevention through their bi-annual newsletter and their website.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American Hearing Research Foundation has funded hundreds of projects to advance the understanding of hearing and balance disorders. Between 2010 and 2022 alone, they funded 106 projects with over $2.5 million in grants. For example, in 2012, they funded a project that led to the discovery of hair-cell roots, changing the way scientists think about the inner ear.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the American Hearing Research Foundation via their website. You can also sign up to receive their newsletter.

Central Institute for the Deaf: Spoken Language Education for Deaf Children

The Central Institute for the Deaf was founded in 1914 by Dr. Max Aaron Goldstein to teach deaf children how to speak. They were the first spoken language school dedicated to children with hearing loss, and continue to provide students with the most promising and progressive teaching techniques.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Central Institute for the Deaf a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“Listen. Talk. Read. Succeed.”

Central Institute for the Deaf

What they do: The Central Institute for the Deaf utilizes the most current and cutting-edge techniques and treatments available to help deaf children learn to vocally communicate. Through live and virtual sessions, they provide individualized therapy programs to children as early in life as possible to prepare them to attend their own local kindergarten and elementary schools. They also offer instruction in a classroom setting which includes peers with typical hearing development, so students can learn the nuances of social and behavioral interactions. Furthermore, their affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine ensures that their students benefit from the most progressive techniques and treatments available.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Central Institute for the deaf has impacted the lives of thousands of deaf children and their families. Many of their students have gone on to study at some of the top colleges and universities in the US, and are enjoying successful careers in their chosen professions. In 2021 alone, they provided 1,343 virtual therapy sessions to children across the US and served 165 children on campus.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Central Institute for the Deaf via their website. You can also volunteer at their campus, or attend an event.

National Association of the Deaf: Advocating for the Rights of the Deaf Community

The National Association of the Deaf was founded in 1880 by deaf leaders to advocate for the interests of the deaf community. Today, the organization protects and promotes the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Association of the Deaf a 100% rating for Finance and Accountability. 

“The vision of the NAD is that the language, culture, and heritage of Deaf… will be acknowledged and respected in the pursuit of life, liberty, and equality.”

National Association for the Deaf

What they do: The National Association for the Deaf advocates for the rights and interests of the deaf community at local, national, and international levels. Their core value is the use of American Sign Language, and many of their advocacy efforts focus on ensuring all deaf people have the opportunity to develop proficiency from birth. For example, in 1978, they advocated for American Sign Language to be taught in public schools. Furthermore, they provide legal representation for those facing discrimination to establish powerful legal principles of equality and equal access. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Association for the Deaf has impacted millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people across the US. Some of their earliest achievements include advocating for basic civil rights for the deaf community, such as the right to federal civil service employment and the right to drive a car. They have also been a part of several landmark discrimination lawsuits. For example, in 2019, they brought legal action against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for failing to adequately caption their online content.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Association for the Deaf via their website. You can also show your support by becoming a member.

Hearing Loss Association of America: Helping Deaf People Help Themselves

The Hearing Loss Association of America was founded in 1979 by Howard E. Stone, who lost his hearing during World War II. He created the organization after experiencing the lack of services available to those with hearing loss. Today, they are the leading organization for people with hearing loss in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Hearing Loss Association of America a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“Leading the charge for hearing health.”

Hearing Loss Association of America

What they do: The Hearing Loss Association of America helps facilitate communication for people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support, and advocacy. For example, they offer educational webinars on topics such as pediatric hearing loss, federal employment for people with disabilities, and the psychology of hearing loss. Furthermore, their network of local and state chapters offers people with hearing loss the opportunity to connect with other members of the hearing loss community on a local level. And, their premier fundraising event, Walk4Hearing is the only nationwide event focused on hearing health while raising funds to support people with hearing loss. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Hearing Loss Association of America has impacted thousands of people with hearing loss. For example, their advocacy efforts have led to important victories for those with hearing loss, such as Over the Counter Hearing Aid Legislation. In 2021, more than 4,700 people participated in Walk4Hearing events in 19 cities across the US, raising over $1 million to support people with hearing loss. In the same year, they hosted the first-ever Externally-Led Patient-Focused Drug Development Meeting on Sensorineural Hearing Loss, giving members of the hearing loss community a chance to provide input to shape the development of future treatment.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Hearing Loss Association of America via their website. You can also volunteer with a local chapter, or help out at a Walk4Hearing event near you. 

Dogs for Better Lives: Improving Deaf Lives with Hearing Dogs

Dogs for Better Lives was founded in 1977 by animal trainer Roy G. Kabat after he worked with the American Humane Society to train dogs to assist deaf people. Today, the organization trains service dogs to help people with a variety of needs, including the deaf.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Dogs for Better Lives a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“Our name is our promise.”

Dogs for Better Lives

What they do: Dogs for Better lives professionally trains service dogs to enhance the lives of people with disabilities, including the deaf. They match their trained dogs with people in need based on lifestyle, living situation, and personality. Hearing dogs are trained to respond to a variety of household sounds, including the doorbell, telephone, and alarms. The dogs also provide their owner with an added sense of security when out in public or at work, and let strangers know that their owner might require alternate communication in an emergency situation. All training and placement services are provided at no charge.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Dogs for Better Lives has trained and matched more than 1,600 dogs with people in need. In 2021, they rescued 64 dogs from shelters to become professionally trained service dogs. In the same year, they expanded their operations to the northeast region of the US by opening an expansive facility, allowing them to serve clients nationwide more cost-effectively

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Dogs for Better Lives via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering to be a Puppy Raiser, Breeder Caretaker, or foster and transport dogs.

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: A Legacy of Communication

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was founded in 1890 by Alexander Graham Bell to promote teaching deaf children how to speak. Today, the organization is dedicated to ensuring that all deaf and hard-of-hearing children have the opportunity to communicate vocally.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“A life without limits for children with hearing loss.”

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

What they do: The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing supports families with deaf children through their Listening and Spoken Language communication program. They also emphasize the importance of early intervention through their Cradle to Career Initiative, which provides services for parents of newly diagnosed children. For example, the Listen-Learn-Link Parent Support Line connects new parents of deaf children with experienced parents for advice and support. They also offer programs to children as they age, including their Leadership Opportunities for Teens program, which teaches valuable life skills to deaf and hard-of-hearing teens. And, they provide financial aid opportunities, such as Parent and Infant Financial Aid, financial assistance for hearing technology, and college scholarships. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has enhanced opportunities for thousands of children and families by utilizing Listening and Spoken Language to communicate. Launched in 2018, the Listen-Learn-Link Parent Support Line was the first-ever confidential hotline dedicated to parents of newly diagnosed deaf children. And, since 2005, they have credentialed more than 1,000 professionals in 33 countries as Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialists to ensure that children around the world have access to the most qualified educators available. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing via their website. You can also directly help children learn to communicate by earning your certification in Listening and Spoken Language.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to supporting the deaf and hard-of-hearing – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Alycia O'Dell

Alycia loves to research and write about organizations that invest in the health and welfare of marginalized communities. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and works with children with autism. Outside of work, she is a new mom to twins and loves helping them learn and explore.

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