Dating for the deaf

At first glance, it may seem like just another set of niche online dating sites. Two small but growing sites devoted to dating for the deaf, both founded by children of deaf parents, now offer non-hearing singles their own place on the Internet to find love.

But the recent explosion of online dating — about 17 million people at least peeked at a dating site last year, according to estimates — has created a cottage industry of smaller sites hoping to draft off the success of market monster

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“The upside of dating services is you don’t need to join to look around.

You can search profiles and see what you come up with,” she said.

She likes the niche sites, citing the difficulty for single deaf people to find each other.

She considered trying the larger dating sites after her divorce, Berke said, but decided they wouldn’t work for her.

And with that distinct language comes a distinct culture.

“It’s better to think of sign language users as you would think of a language minority rather than a disability group,” Pollard said.Online dating is a natural fit for the deaf, he said.“They are so used to being able to communicate by typing when they talk to someone on the phone,” he said.Web site developer Christiaan Marais wasn’t considering a new career when he started “He was trying to get back into the dating scene,” Marais said.“We were talking about online dating, and I said, ‘You should try one of these sites.’ ” His father was reluctant, Marais said, because it’s hard to find other deaf users on the larger dating sites.Haines said members of his site include the completely deaf, aging singles who are losing their hearing — even sign language interpreters who can hear but are looking for relationships with people immersed in deaf culture. But deaf-hearing relationships are apparently the exception rather than the rule, according to anecdotal evidence.

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