1817The American School for the Deaf, the first permanent school for the deaf (K-12) in the United States, is established in West Hartford, Connecticut.
1856Gallaudet University, the first college in the world for the deaf and hard of hearing, is established in Washington, DC.
1964Robert Weitbrecht develops an acoustic coupler that allows the use of the telephone with the teletypewriter (TTY), enabling deaf people to use the phone lines to call each other and type out their conversations.
1965The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) becomes a college of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York.
1967The National Theater for the Deaf (NTD) is established in White Plains, New York.
1974The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) conducts a census of Deaf Americans, recording a population of 13.4 million hearing Americans and 1.8 million deaf Americans.
1985Cochlear implants are approved for clinical testing for people ages 18 and up.
1987On March 30, actress Marlee Matlin receives the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Children of a Lesser God, making her the first deaf actress to receive an Academy Award.
1988Students and faculty at Gallaudet University protest the Board of Trustees’ selection of a hearing person, Dr. Elisabeth Zinser, as the University’s new president. The Deaf President Now Protest (DPN) continues for one week, ending with Zinser’s resignation, the selection of I. King Jordan as the first deaf president of the University, and a reconstitution of the Board to ensure a 51% majority of deaf members.
1990The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is passed on July 26, prohibiting discrimination based on disability. Among other stipulations, the Act requires greater access to communication services and educational and employment opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing.
1995Heather Whitestone wins the Miss America Pageant, making her the first deaf Miss America title holder.

The use of cochlear implants increases. People age 2 and up with severe to profound hearing loss are now candidates for the implants. Some 12,000 candidates have been implanted for a cost of $40,000. An increasing number of parents opt for cochlear implants and mainstreamed education as an educational plan for deaf children. The latest technological advances to the implants are the Nucleus 22 device and SPEAK Speech Processing System (developed at the University of Melbourne, Australia).
1996Mr. Holland’s Opus is released in theaters. The film stars Richard Dryfus as a music teacher who must learn to understand his deaf son.
1998The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) releases new captioning rules for the broadcast and cable television industry. The rules require 100% of cable television to be captioned within eight years and require real-time captioning for many local news programs.
2000Deaf athlete Christy Smith competes on the CBS reality show Survivor: The Amazon. The other contestants are not told in advance that Smith is deaf.
2006The FDA approves cochlear implants for people as young as 12 months of age.
2010The 2010 ICED (International Conference on the Deaf), hosted in Vancouver, Canada, stated a formal apology for the Milan 1880 conference which banned sign languages in deaf education.
2011Switched at Birth premiers on ABC Family. The television series features several deaf actors.

The Hammer, a biographical film about deaf wrestler and MMA fighter Matt Hamill, is released in select theatres across the country.
2012 The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is passed, which mandates that all televised material be captioned, including its online distribution.
2013The ABC Family network’s Switched at Birth broadcasts the first ASL-only episode in the history of mainstream TV.
2014Pastor David Hanson died March 2014. In 1980 he founded and pastored Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, until he died. He was a graduate of Gallaudet college and Temple Deaf College in Kansas. He also served as the president of the Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America.
2015American Actor and model Nyle Dimarco (1989-present) in the first deaf contestant on America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) which the show ran in September 2015. He won this contest for the very last cycle of the ANTM.
2016For the first time in over 20 years, Harvard began offering for credit American Sign Language courses under the instruction of Andrew Bottoms.
2017The United Nations General Assembly declared September 23 as International Day of Sign Languages.
2018Deaf Evangelist John Clark died November 26, 2018. He was one of the first full time evangelists in the deaf world, and was the founder of the DBFA (Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America).

President George H.W. Bush died November 30, 2018. President Bush was the signer of the 1990 American Disability Act (ADA), which also protects deaf people’s disabilities, overall protecting over 50 million Americans with disabilities.