This is the "Hearing Children of Deaf Parents (CODA)" page of the "Children & Parents Research Guide" guide.
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Children & Parents Research Guide   Tags: deaf, research guide  

This guide offers resources and suggestions for research into parent-child relationships with differing hearing abilities.
Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Hearing Children of Deaf Parents (CODA) Print Page



Hearing children born to deaf parents are often called CODAs or codas ([Hearing] Children Of Deaf Adults). Many of these hearing children grow up in a deaf-culture environment. Many of them learn to sign before they learn to speak. They are often pressed into service as interpreters for their parents, even while they still are very young children. Their parents usually involve their hearing children in deaf activities and events. At the same time, these children must function as part of the hearing world, because they are in fact hearing and go to hearing schools, and they usually grow up with hearing friends and participate in hearing activities and events. Hence, CODAs often feel caught between two cultures: they are hearing, but grew up "Deaf"; they usually like music and other distinctly "hearing" things, but also must reconcile those with their "Deaf" identities. Many adult hearing children of deaf parents are members of a support group called CODA, which helps them to come to grips with the conflicts involved.

Remember, this guide will not tell you about all the materials the Library has about this topic. You must do the basic research yourself. This guide will give you some starting points to begin your search for information. If you need further assistance, please ask at the Reference Desk.


Books are good places to get in-depth information and the historical background of an issue. Books are not good places to find recent information. Hint: Don't forget to check the bibliography (list of resources) at the end of most books to find other suggestions of where to find information!

Two books are suggested for introductions and starting points:

Bull, Thomas H., On the edge of deaf culture: hearing children/deaf parents, Alexandria, VA: Deaf Family Research Press, 1998 (DEAF 306.874016 O57 1998).

  • This contains annotated references to thousands of books, periodical articles, videotapes, and other materials relating to hearing children of deaf parents, grouped by topics.

Preston, Paul, Mother father deaf: living between sound and silence, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994 (DEAF 306.874 P73m 1994).

  • An excellent orientation to this topic, covering the two "cultures in collision" with reviews of previous research, personal experiences of many different people, and examinations of psychological and social factors, especially self-identity and social acceptance.

You can find other books about hearing children of deaf parents by using the  ALADIN Catalog. Use the following terms in a Keyword (AND, OR, NOT) search:

  • "hearing children" AND "deaf parents"
  • "hearing children" AND "family relationship"
  • "parent child relationship" AND "hearing children"
  • children AND "handicapped parents"


To find articles about hearing children of deaf parents, you can either use ERIC, which is accessible to the public, or other databases, which are limited to Gallaudet students, faculty, and staff. You can use the following terms in a keyword search:

  • hearing children and deaf parents
  • hearing children deaf parents

The online Index to deaf periodicals will help you find articles in several historically popular deaf periodicals. Use these terms in a Browse...Subject search:

  • hearing children of deaf parents
  • children of deaf adults



To find DVDs and videotapes on this topic, use the ALADIN Catalog and the Keyword (AND, OR, NOT) search with the following terms:

  • "hearing children" AND "family relationship" AND videorecording
  • "parent child relationship" AND "hearing children" AND videorecording
  • "hearing children" AND "deaf parents" AND videorecording

World Wide Web (WWW)

Children of Deaf Adults (CODA):

Interpreters with deaf parents interest section (RID):

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Revised by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
October 2001

Revised and updated by James McCarthy
Instruction & Reference Librarian
July 2012


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