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
And every day, Haines said, he gets e-mail from happy users who have made new connections thanks to his site.
“A lot of deaf people around the country are quite lonely.
The number of people fluent in American Sign Language is much smaller, however, fewer than 1 million people nationwide, according to Robert Pollard, director of the Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester.“I started doing research and I realized there’s a really big need for the deaf community to have this service. Why not have there be a place where I know that every person in here is at least deaf, hard-of-hearing, or can hear but has a vested interest in the deaf community.” In the first four months of operation, some 1,000 users have signed up — including Marais’ dad, who is still single, but now actively dating.Currently, is free, but Marais plans to start charging a small membership fee in the future to support additional features and Web hosting costs.“Can you imagine what it would be like to not even know anybody else who has your experience, how lonely and isolating that would be?Any way we can increase direct connection between deaf people is a good thing,” she said.“I did look on those hoping to find deaf partners, but of course deafness is not one of the selection criteria ...