Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in Iran

Deaf student
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As Gallaudet and NTID become more international in scope, the chances of your meeting a deaf person from Iran may increase.


Iran's deaf population has been estimated at just under 4 million out of a total population of over 60 million.


Deaf children and teenagers in Iran are well educated, and deaf students can go on to college. At least one resource states that all schools for the deaf in Iran use the oral method:

  • Nezam Mafi Technical High School in Tehran is a high school for deaf students.
  • Many schools for the deaf have been established in Iran. According to at least one resource, there are over 400 educational institutions for the deaf such as Baghcheban National School for the Deaf.


Iran has a national "Deaf Day" that happens to be held around the same time as Deaf Awareness Week in the United States (last week of September). It is actually held at that time because it is held in honor of Jabar Baghcheban, who founded deaf education in Iran in the 1920s.

Sign Language and Cued Speech

The national unofficial sign language of Iran is Persian Sign Language, although there is also a secondary sign language called Teahouse Sign Language. A Persian Sign Language dictionary exists and is available through the Julia Samii Research Center at Tavanbakhshi University in Iran. (at University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Kudakyar St., Daneshjoo, Blve., Evin, Tehran - 19834IRAN) The dictionary has gone through multiple printings.

Cued speech is in widespread use in Iran. This was noted by Ali Vazir Safavi in his paper, "Fixed Iran Communication System for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People," on file at Gallaudet University Archives.

Research and Presentations

A deaf man, Abbas Ali Behmanesh presented at the Deaf Way II on deafness in Iran. His fascinating presentation covered the history of deaf education in Iran, mentions the support of deaf education by the former Shah of Iran's wife, discusses audism and the advantages of hearing people (e.g., hearing getting the teaching jobs or management jobs), the history of deaf organizations, and deaf social life. His paper is on file at Gallaudet University Archives.

He was profiled in Gallaudet University's faculty newsletter, On the Green, in its October 13, 1999 (Vol. 30, No. 2) edition in the article "Finding community and country" by Mary Thornley.

At the first linguistics conference, a conference on theoretical and applied linguistics, in Iran, held in January 1991 at Allameh Tabataba'ee University, Dr. Jalil Sadeghian from Alame Tabataba'ee university presented "The Dialogue of the Deaf: The Relation of Theoretical to applied Linguistics."

A scientific journal in Iran, Scientia Iranica, the scientific journal of Sharif University of technology, has published articles on cochlear implantation in Iran.

Sara Siyavoshi sent an e-mail with the following information:

"The first linguistic research in Persian Sign Language and Deafness in Iran has done by me. I have presented a report about Iran Deaf education from linguistic perspective in the "Higher Education for Deaf People in Developing Countries" Symposium held by the Deaf Empowerment Foundation Nijmegen, the Netherlands, 4-16 Jan 2006.

I have [also] participated and presented a paper, "First Conference of the Linguistics Society of Iran", Tehran in March 2006. The title of my paper was: "Persian Sign Language and necessity of revision in Iran Deaf education" that is published in Proceedings of the first Conference of the Linguistics Society of Iran, Linguistics Society of Iran Publications, Tehran, Iran 2006.

Organizations and Associations

Iran has quite a few organizations, associations, and government-sponsored agencies for the deaf and hard of hearing:

  • Iranian National Center for the Deaf, based in Tehran
  • Iranian National Association for Welfare of the Deaf (I am not sure if this organization still exists)
  • Association of Deaf Families
  • Iranian Parents Association of the Deaf
  • Youth Cultural House of the Deaf
  • House of the Deaf
  • Society for the Protection of Deaf Children
  • National Rehabilitation Center for the deaf

Published Writing

Beyond the national boundaries: History of deaf education in Iran, by Azar Hadadian (1996). This is an article in the rare book Collage: Works on International Deaf History edited by Renate Fischer and Tomas Vollhaber with H. Zienert. ISBN 3-927731-59-5. The article details the accomplishments of the father of deaf education in Iran, Jabar Baghcheban.

Baghcheban started in 1924 and founded a school for the deaf in Tehran. In addition, he also developed his own methods of teaching deaf children.


Iran has sports organizations for the deaf:

  • Iranian Deaf Sports Federation (in Tehran)
  • Iranian Deaf Martial Artists


Television news in Iran is sign interpreted.


Iran has its own cochlear implant center, the Iranian Cochlear Implant Center based in Tehran, which is actually a network of implant centers in Iran.

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