The Deaf Community in India

Rapidly Developing Deaf Community


Life for deaf and hard of hearing people in India continues to improve. There are more schools for the deaf, a growing number of educational and training opportunities, plus several organizations for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Demographics of Deafness in India

India is a very populous country (estimated 1 billion plus population) so the number of deaf people can not be definitely estimated. It is known to be in the millions - some estimates are as high as 60 million.
Although India is rapidly developing, there is still plenty of poverty, and thus a high rate of deafness.

Genetics is also a factor, and the article "Genetics of deafness in India" in The Indian Journal of Pediatrics, volume 71, number 6, 2004 looks at that. In addition, the Indian Council for Medical Research ( has a project doing genetic studies of Indian families for deafness.

Deaf Culture in India

India celebrates the International Week for the Deaf in September, and September 26 is recognized as the "Day of the Deaf" in India.

Deaf Organizations in India

India has several deaf organizations at the national, state, and regional levels. A listing of the ones I found is at the end of this article. Even deaf women in India have their own organizations. There is the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women, and the Madras Foundation of Deaf Women.

Deaf Sport in India

India has a handful of deaf sports organizations, including:

  • All India Sports Council of the Deaf
  • All India Cricket Association of the Deaf
  • Delhi Sports Council for the Deaf
Deaf Publications

The only deaf publication I could find was The Deaf Way, a free publication sent to schools and institutions in India. Another one was Silent World, published in Bombay in the 60s through the 70s.

A search for cross-disability publications found that the Ability Foundation based in Chennai publishes Success & Ability, which includes deafness articles.

Deaf Entrepreneurship in India

Illiteracy, discrimination, and unemployment plague India's deaf population. Some deaf people in India have been successful in launching their own businesses. One such company is Virtual O (, a greeting card company that sells work by deaf artists in India.

Sign Language in India

India is a huge country and has many variations, or dialects, of sign language. One example is Delhi sign language. Deaf people in the country are reportedly working towards a single sign language. Sign Media ( had produced a Signs Around the World video series that included a tape on India showing people in India using sign language.

Make the Sign for India

The sign for "India" is online at

* = Paid site

Interpreting in India

Sign language interpreting is growing as a profession in India. There is a professional organization for Indian sign language interpreters, the Association of Sign Language Interpreters.

Cochlear Implants in India

At the time this article was researched, India already had hundreds of implantees.
There is a Cochlear Implant(ation) Group of India ( The organization holds annual conferences. There is also a Cochlear Implants Parents Association (New Delhi).

Hearing Aids in India

Some hearing aid companies have India subsidiaries. For example, there is Widex India, which has given free hearing aids to children in India. Another one is Phonak, which has a subsidiary in India. India also has its own hearing aid manufacturers, such as Elkon ( Another one is Arphi,

Television Accesss

Captioning and subtitling services are readily available in india, although according to a 2004 article about the International Conference on Dubbing and Subtitling, captioning services for the deaf on television are reportedly not existent in India. One company, Translation India (, advertises captioning services on their website, so maybe things are changing in India.

Deaf History in India

One deaf history resource I found was The Silent Worker (, which had a few articles on deafness in India. Of particular interest is the article "The Deaf and the Blind in India." This article was published in The Silent Worker, vol. 33 no. 2 (November 1920). It is photo-illustrated and has interesting historical facts, such as in 1920 there were only 10 schools for the deaf in India! (Many more deaf history resources can be found in the section on Research on Deafness in India farther down this page.)

Education of the Deaf in India

India has numerous schools for the deaf. Several are run by Christian organizations or missions while others are government schools. There are in fact too many to list. At the end of this article is a listing of states and cities with schools for the deaf (not intended to be comprehensive). Some regular schools mainstream or educate deaf children along with children with other disabilities.

Parent Organizations

In addition, there is a parent-run organization, The Deaf Way ( Unfortunately, their website appears to not have been updated for a few years. There is also a parent-run organization, Suniye, based in New Delhi.

Deaf Education Organizations

India also has deaf education organizations that set up schools for the deaf and hard of hearing, offer speech and auditory therapy, provide educational placement services, and train teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, such as:

  • Andhra Pradesh state - Society For Education Of The Deaf & Blind
  • Haryana state
    • Welfare Centre (Society) for Hearing & Speech Handicapped branches in several cities: Ambala, Guragon, Hissar, Sirsa, and Sonipat
    • Chandigarh Society for the Deaf & Dumb
  • Karnataka state - Parents Association of Deaf Children (Mysore)
  • Maharashtra state
    • Central Society for the Education of the Deaf
    • Education Audiology & Research Society (Serves children, trains teachers, has a school)
    • Aural Education for the Hearing Impaired (auditory verbal)
    • Blind Deaf and Handicapped Vidyalaya
    • Shri Swami Samarath Deaf & Dumb Teachers Training Centre (Solapur)
    • Suno Center For Hearing Impaired Infants and Children (auditory therapy)
  • Rajasthan state - Badhit Bal Vikas Kendra (Kota) (

Government and Community Services for the Deaf in India

Government Agencies

The Rehabilitation Council of India ( interpreter training, maintains a National Directory of Interpreters, and provides training to teachers of the deaf.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi runs the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute For The Hearing Handicapped( It is a national government agency with both regional and district centers. Ali Yavar runs an auditory verbal preschool, does research, and offers vocational training.

The Institute also offers bachelors degrees in deaf education and has a website devoted to jobs for the deaf in India,

Speech and Hearing Centers in India

India has many speech and hearing centers. Centers can be found all over. For example, in Karnataka state there is the All India Institute Of Speech & Hearing in Mysore, and the Institute Of Speech & Hearing in Bangalore.

Social Service and Vocational Training

India has several vocational training centers and social service organizations for the deaf, including:

  • Deaf Relief Association of Calicut (Kerala state)
  • Deaf and Dumb Co-operative Industrial Society Ltd (New Delhi)
  • Multipurpose Training Center for the Deaf (New Delhi)
  • Deaf and Dumb Industrial Institute of Latur (Maharashtra state)
  • Training Centre For The Adult Deaf in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Uddami Computer Training Centre ( of West Bengal teaches deaf and hearing computer skills together.

The All India Federation of the DeafThere had published the out of print book, Services for the deaf in India.

In addition, blind organizations service the deafblind. For example, the Blind People's Association ( The case studies page on their website included a story about a young deafblind woman who, after the education she received through the association, became a beautician.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Ministries in India

Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

Many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operate in India, providing support to deaf schools, offering vocational training, etc.

  • Ann Foundation ( has supported schools for the deaf, providing hearing aids
  • Deafchild India is a Deafax program ( operated by the Nambikkai Foundation. The Nambikkai Foundation was itself started by Ian Stillman, who was involved in some controversy earlier. Deafchild India focuses on children as its name implies, providing education and computer training.
  • Deaf Reach in Hyderabad ( focuses on employment for deaf adults, although it also provides leaderhip, computer, and English training. (Note: This organization is not to be confused with the Washington, DC-based Deaf-Reach).
  • Educare ( provides financial help to schools for the deaf in india
  • I Hear Foundation (, based in Mumbai, promotes oral education for young deaf infants and babies. Provides infant hearing screenings.
  • India Development and Relief Fund ( provides support to two oral schools for the deaf in Calcutta, West Bengal.
  • The International Deaf Children's Society (IDCS) India program ( provides support for services to improve the lives of deaf children and families in India.
  • Monsoon Trust in the U.K. ( supports deaf education and a school in Jaipur.
  • Project Deaf India (, a joint project of Rotary Club Newport Balboa, California in the United States and the Rotarians of Rotary Mysore in India's Mysore, Karnataka state. Project Deaf India focuses on total communication schools and technical education for deaf people in India.
  • Sense International India ( partners with more than twenty organizations working with the deaf or blind, to encourage them to add services for deafblind people. Their home page estimates that India has over 400,000 deafblind children. One of Sense's partners is The Helen Keller Institute for Deaf and Deafblind, Mumbai, Maharastra, which runs a school for deafblind children, and provides training for working with and teaching deafblind people.
  • Voice for the Deaf is a project of the Family Care Foundation ( that works with deaf and hard of hearing children in Hyderabad, Mysore, and Secunderabad. Voice for the Deaf offers computer education and starts job ventures such as earmold-making laboratories.

Deaf Ministries in India

Deaf ministries working in India fill educational gaps, providing vocational training and running small Christian schools. A few examples of deaf ministries (and some regular non-deaf ones) active in India:

  • Asian Aid USA ( is associated with the Seventh Day Adventist church, and it supports a deaf school in Kollegal, Karnakata state.
  • Catholic Mission in Australia ( supports a school for the blind and deaf in Madras.
  • Ebenezer Fellowship of the Deaf in Kerala(
  • International Lutheran Deaf Association ( a mission project in India supporting the Ep-phatha Lutheran Deaf School.
  • Maharashtra Deaf Fellowship of India ( is active in Aurangabad, Bombay, Nagpu, Nasik, and Pune.

Research on Deafness in India

A handful of deaf education professionals have published several articles on deafness in India.

Ila Parasnis is part of the research faculty at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.

A listing of her projects, presentations, and publications that include topics related to India is on the RIT website.

Dilip Deshmukh is another expert on deafness in India. He has been associated with a deaf foundation in Maharashtra state. Deshmukh wrote a book, Sign language & Bilingualism in Deaf Education, which includes topics such as the status of sign language in deaf education in India.

Jill Jepson published at least a few articles in Sign Language Studies and elsewhere:

  • "Two Sign Languages in a Single Village in India." Sign Language Studies, 70:47-59
  • "Urban and Rural Sign Language in India." Language in Society, 1/2:37-57
  • "Some aspects of the deaf experience in India." Sign Language Studies 20/73:453-9

Older issues of Sign Language Studies that have these articles can be obtained on a CD from Gallaudet University Press (

Madan Vasishta is an associate professor in the Department of Administration and Supervision at Gallaudet University, and has been a superintendent for deaf schools. He also returns to India frequently to teach. Vasishta has published or co-authored several works on deafness in India, including:

  • Three articles on sign language in Bangalore, Bombay, and Calcutta, in the Gallaudet Research Institute Monograph, issue number 4.
  • Deaf in Delhi: A Memoir. Gallaudet University Press. (Not yet published as of the time this article was written. Publication date is March 2006). (compare prices)
  • Co-authored an Indian sign language dictionary, An introduction to Indian Sign Language that focused on the sign language of Delhi.
  • "Sign languages in India: regional variations within the deaf populations," Indian journal of applied linguistics, v.4 no.2, p.66-74.
  • Clubs for deaf people in India. In: Erting, Carol J. et al (eds): The deaf way : perspectives from the International Conference on Deaf Culture. Washington, DC : Gallaudet Univ. Press (1994) - pp. 532-534

    Other Articles on Deafness in India

    Additional articles on deafness in India:

    • "Education of the deaf in India," in the book Global perspectives on the education of the deaf (compare prices)
    • Presentations on deafness in India at conferences of the International Congress on Education of the Deaf. For example, the 1980 Congress had "A study of the existing facilities for the education of the deaf in India in the light of the country's social and economic conditions," and "Pre-school education and parent counselling for integration in India."
    • "Signs of Development in Deaf South & South-West Asia: histories, cultural identities, resistance to cultural imperialism," is a research article examining deaf education and sign language history in south asia, especially India. Read it at A similar resource is "Sign, Gesture & Deafness In South Asian & South-West Asian Histories," at (site may be inaccessible).
    • Another resource was found, "Historical Bibliography on Educational & Social Responses to Disabilities & Childhood in some Middle Eastern & South Asian Countries, from Antiquity to the 1950s," at According to this resource, it looks like the first school for the blind and deaf opened in 1901 in Mysore. It also includes early sign language information. Each resource has a detailed summary. If you are seriously researching India deaf history, this article is a good resource.
    • Hearing Healthcare Worldwide - Getting A Global Perspective: India, in Hearing Instruments, Vol 40, No 12, Dec 1989, P 24.
    • "Deaf children: catch them young," in Health for the Millions, Vol 16 No 1 1990, about the Parents Association of Deaf Children in Mysore. (Found via
    • The National Rehabilitation Center database ( turned up a handful of articles from the '60s through the '80s:
      • Training Teachers For Hearing Impaired Children: All India Workshop For Teachers And Parents Of Hearing Impaired Children: Selected Papers, NARIC Accession Number: O09198
      • Rhythm And Deaf Children: All India Workshop For Teachers And Parents Of Hearing Impaired Children: Selected Papers, NARIC Accession Number: O09187.
      • The Role Of The Government To Improve The Services For The Education Of The Deaf Child: All India Workshop For Teachers And Parents Of Hearing Impaired Children: Selected Papers, NARIC Accession Number: O09196
      • Reaction Of Special Educators Of The Deaf To Mainstreaming Of Hearing Impaired Children In India: All India Workshop For Teachers And Parents Of Hearing Impaired Children: Selected Papers, NARIC Accession Number: O09194
      • Establishment Of Two Pilot Rehabilitation Centers For Vocational Evaluation, Adjustment And Other Rehabilitation Assistance To Physically Handicapped Persons: Final Project Report Kurla, Bombay, India Jan 1 1968-Jun 30 1972. NARIC Accession Number: O01135
      • Establishment Of Two Pilot Rehabilitation Centers For Vocational Evaluation, Adjustment And Other Rehabilitation Assistance To Physically Handicapped Persons: Final Project Report Kurla, Bombay, India Jan 1 1968-Jun 30 1972. NARIC Accession Number: O01135.
      • Hearing And Speech Services In India: Review Of Progress And Problems: Proceedings Of The Special All India Workshop New Delhi, May 21-23, 1970. NARIC Accession Number: O03447.
      • Research, Training And Rehabilitation In Speech And Hearing In India: Proceedings Of The Third All India Workshop On Speech And Hearing Problems In India: Vellore, South India, January 24 25, 1969. NARIC Accession Number: O03133
      • Proceedings Of The Symposium On Rehabilitation Of The Hearing Handicapped: India, October 15 - 16, 1966. NARIC Accession Number: O03685
    • Finally, deaf history researchers interested in deaf education in India can find clippings at the Gallaudet University Library (Washington, DC) archives.


    Listings of Deaf Associations and Schools

    Deaf Associations in India

    • Andhra Pradesh Association for the Deaf
    • Bihar Association of the Deaf
    • Bhopal Deaf Association
    • Delhi Association of the Deaf (
    • Calcutta - Society for the Deaf
    • Ghaziabad Association For The Deaf in Uttar Pradesh state
    • Madras Deaf Club in Madras, Tamil Nadu
    • Madras Association of the Deaf
    • Malabar Association Of The Deaf & Blind in Calicut (Kerala)
    • Orissa Assocation Of The Deaf
    • Tamil Nadu State Federation Of The Deaf

    Schools for the Deaf in India

    The states and cities I was able to find, are listed below.

    • Andhra Pradesh has many schools for the deaf, in Chittoor, Cuddupah, Godavari, Guntur, Hyderabad, Kakinada, Karimnagar, Kirshan, Kuppam, Nalgonda, Nellore, Prakasham, Proddatur, Punganur, Secunderabad, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam, Viziangaram, Vijayawada, and Warangal.
    • Assam - Govt Bhawani Devi Sarawagi Sch. For Deaf
    • Bihar - Arrah Deaf & Dumb School in Bhojpur
    • Delhi has schools in New Delhi. One school is run by the All India Deaf & Dumb Society.
    • Goa
      • Sanjay School For The Hearing Handicap, Goa
      • Shree Gujrati Samaj School For Deaf & Dumb, Margao
    • Gujarat has schools for the deaf in Adipur, Ahmedabad, Balsad, Baroda, Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Gandhinagar, Himatnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Kachehh, Mahesana, Palanpur, Rajkot, Sabar Kantha, Surendranagar, Surat
      • Jammu & Kashmir
        • School For Hearing Impaired, Jammu
        • School For The Hearing Handicap J&K, Jammu Tawi
        • Deaf & Dumb School, Srinagar
      • Haryana
        • Mata Prakash Kaur Welfare Centre For Hearing School & Speech Handicapped, Karnal
      • Himachal Pradesh - Deaf & Dumb School in Simla.
      • Karnataka has schools in Bangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Dandeli, Dharwar, Gulbarga, Kamagere, Kolar, Mysore, and Sirsi.
      • Kerala - has several schools, in Calicut, Kasargod, Kottayam, Malappuram, Manakala, Moovattupuzha, Quilon, Thiruvalla, Thrichur, Trichur, and Wayanad.
      • Maharashtra has schools in Ahmednagar, Akola, Aurangabad, Chandrapur, Dombivali, Gadchiroli, Kolhapur, Mumbai (Bombay), Nashik, Parbhani, Poona, Pune, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Sangli, Satura, Sindhudurg, Sholapur, Solapur, Thane,
      • Manipur has a government deaf school.
      • Madhya Pradesh has Anand Niketen School For Hearing Handicapped in Bilaspur
      • Nagaland has the Boarding School For Deaf & Dumb in Dimapur.
      • Orissa - Orissa has many schools for the deaf, and schools for the blind and deaf, in Baragarh, Berhampur, Bhubaneswar, Bolangir, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Kamaraj, Keonjhar, Khurda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Phulbani, Puri, Sambalpur, and Sundargarh.
      • Pondicherry has a Government School For The Blind, Deaf & Dumb
      • Punjab has schools in Faridkot, Jullender, Ludhiana, and Patiala.
      • Rajasthan has schools in Ajmer, Bikaner Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Sirohi.
      • Sikkim does not seem to have a school for the deaf but does have a unit for deaf children within a hearing school in Gangtok.
      • Tamil Nadu has many schools, including those in Chennai, Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Kancheepuram, Kanyakumari, Madras, Madurai, Mayiladutuvinm, Nilgiris, North Arcot, Periyar, Pudukkottai, Ramanand, Salem, Tanjore, Tiruchy, Tirunelveli, Trichy, Tutioorn, and Vellore.
      • Tripura has a school in North Tripura and another in West Tripura.
      • Uttar Pradesh has a school in Ghaziabad.
      • West Bengal has schools in Burdwan, Calcutta, Darjeeling, Howrah, Midnapore, Murshidabad and Parganas.

      Continue Reading