Deaf Community in Washington, DC

Washington DC
Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

The deaf community in Washington D.C., or as some like to refer to it, the Washington-Baltimore area, has one of the largest concentrations of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. No one knows how many, but the estimate has been in the hundreds of thousands.

Area-Wide Event Calendar

The metro DC area is home to Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university for the deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing. Area residents can easily check the Gallaudet University calendar online to see if there is anything happening at Gallaudet University.

The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (NVRC) maintains a community calendar and also has a mail list.


For people seeking interpreting services in DC, the Office of Disability Rights maintains a list of area sign language interpreting agencies. Some of the listed services include:

Movie Theaters

DC-area theaters have captioned films. In addition, most of the city's museum theaters have IMAX captioned films. Plus, some of the Smithsonian museums offer free foreign subtitled films. Check for the most current information on available captioned movies. For example, AMC theaters have CaptiView available and Regal theaters have SONY Access Glasses.

Organizations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing DC Residents

DC and Northern Virginia have chapters of these organizations:

National Organizations Based in the DC Area

The metro DC area is home to many, if not most, of the nation's deaf and hard of hearing organizations. A deaf tourist visiting the DC region could get acquainted with all of these organizations:

Areawide Organizations and Services

Still, more organizations and activities are available that invite participation from people from all over the metro DC area:

Schools and Colleges in DC Area

DC is home to Gallaudet UniversityModel Secondary School for the Deaf, and the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School. There is also a private oral charter school, the River School.

Maryland is home to the Maryland School for the Deaf, and some counties also have deaf education programs:

  • Montgomery County schools have three programs: Rock Creek Valley Elementary School (oral); Lucy Barnsley Elementary School (total); Flower Valley Elementary School (cued speech)
  • Prince George's County schools also have services

Virginia has a state school, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB), in Staunton. Staunton is not part of Northern Virginia, but deaf children from Northern Virginia may attend school at VSDB. Fairfax County in Northern Virginia offers three center programs based on communication options:

Middle school is at Frost Middle School and high school at Woodson High School.

Loudoun County has its own services for the deaf. Prince William County provides both itinerant services and center programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. Arlington and Alexandria reportedly continue to send deaf students to the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School in Washington, DC and do not have deaf education programs.

Sign Language

If you live in Washington, DC and are interested in learning sign language, here are some resources.

Maryland offers plenty of opportunities for learning sign language. Just a few of them:

  • Montgomery College
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, Adult Education
  • The Hearing and Speech Agency, Baltimore
  • University of Maryland (credit courses)
  • The Community College of Baltimore County (interpreter education program)

Social Services

The District of Columbia has a few social services programs for deaf adults. For decades, Deaf-Reach has provided residential services, mental health services, employment services, and more to deaf adults in need in Washington, DC. The organization frequently holds social fundraising events.

Maryland's state government has an Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In Virginia, one of the most important social services agencies is the NVRC. Statewide, services are available through the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing state agency (this agency may be folded into a parent agency).


Virginia has offices for quite a few captioning service providers:

  • CaptionMax (South Riding, VA)
  • National Capitol Captioning (Arlington, VA)
  • National Captioning Institute (Chantilly, VA)
  • Creative Caption & Video (Richmond, VA)
  • Visual Audio Captioning (Fairfax, VA)
  • Henninger Media Services (Arlington, VA)
  • VITAC (Arlington, VA)

Religious Worship

These churches in the DC area provided services for the deaf. Be sure to check for their current availability. 

  • Gallaudet University, in its Chapel Hall
  • Bethesda Baptist Church (near Gallaudet) 
  • Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC 
  • National Community Church offers interpreter services. Check for locations and times.
  • Tifereth Israel Congregation, a synagogue in Northwest Washington DC, provides services for the deaf.

Anne Arundel County

  • Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf at Magothy United Methodist Church, Pasadena

Baltimore/Baltimore County

  • Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf at Fulton-Siemers Memorial United Methodist
  • Grace Bible Baptist Church (interpreted services) (Baltimore, MD)

Frederick County

  • Christ United Methodist Church of Ballenger Creek, Frederick (interpreted)

Montgomery County

  • Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf (in Calvary Lutheran Church), Silver Spring
  • Deaf Silver Spring Seventh Day Adventist Church at Silver Spring Seventh Day Adventist Church, Silver Spring
  • Hampshire View Baptist Deaf Church (Silver Spring, MD)
  • Silver Spring Church of Christ, Silver Spring St. Barnabas Mission of the Deaf, Chevy Chase
  • St. Martin of Tours, Gaithersburg, MD (interpreted)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church, Silver Spring

Prince George's County

  • Potomac Deaf Assembly of God (Lanham, MD)
  • St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Catholic Church at Center for Deaf Ministries, Landover Hills, MD
  • Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (interpreted 11:00 am), Bowie
  • Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Beltsville (interpreted)

Northern Virginia

  • Fairfax Church of Christ Deaf Ministry, Fairfax, VA
  • McLean Bible Church, McLean, VA
  • Grace Community Church has sign interpreters. Meetings held at Key School in Arlington, VA.
Was this page helpful?