About DSA

Deaf Seniors of America (DSA) is a nonprofit organization, which serves as an advocate for the Deaf seniors by providing information and education programs designed to enhance their physical, economic and social well-being, and promote the common interests of Deaf seniors. We recognize that Deaf senior citizens have the unique community, language, and cultural needs for which the golden years pose new challenges and experiences. Through resources and support, we ensure communication access, health, education, and social support for all our members, all towards a healthy and thriving Deaf senior citizen community.

How We Support Our Community Of Members

With the support of our members, partners and donors, we are able to provide services in the following areas.

Biennial National Conference

Workshops & Entertainment Attended By Hundreds


Advocacy and Community Interest Representation

Local Chapters

Advocacy and Social Opportunities On A Local Level

State Based Resources

Information About Programs And Services Available On A State Level

Social Support

Social Media Training, Content And Tools To Be More Engaged

Local Events

Various Meetups, Workshops And Other Gathering Opportunities

Organizational Partnerships

Discounts, Perks And Services From Shared Value Organizations

Quarterly Publication, New Horizons

Members Only Digital Magazine With Feature Stories & Interviews

Board Members | 2019-2021

Alfred Sonnenstrahl
President, Maryland
Phil Aiello
Vice President, Florida
Ellen Scheppach
Secretary, Washington
Michael Lockhart
Treasurer, Florida
Renwick Dayton
Board Member, Oregon
Nancy Rarus
Past-President, Virginia
Lance J. Fischer
Board Member, Florida
Raymond L. Kilthau
Board Member, Arizona/Colorado
Elaine Navritil
Board Member, Arizona

Your participation supports all Deaf senior citizens who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened, or Deaf-Blind.

Anyone 50 years of age or over is invited to become a member of DSA. A 2-year membership costs just $20.
Financial support or donations are tax-exempted as defined by IRS.

The Story Behind DSA

Deaf Seniors of America first started in 1992 as an idea for a statewide conference for Deaf senior citizens to be hosted in Austin, Texas. It attracted considerable interest from Deaf seniors across America, and from there, the idea evolved into a national organization focused on the unique needs of American deaf seniors. From 1992 onwards, DSA has been hosting biennial national conferences, which offer an engaging array of resources and entertainment, from seminars to comedians and talent shows. In 1997, DSA’s members decided on Deaf Seniors of America (DSA) as the official name of the organization. In 2001, DSA established a quarterly publication, New Horizons. In 2017, we celebrated DSA’s 25th anniversary a city away from the site of the first conference, in Houston, Texas. Deaf Seniors of America is a thriving organization committed to ensuring communication access, health, education, and social support for all Deaf and hard-of-hearing senior citizens.

In 1992, Ralph H. White worked with the Travis County Association of the Deaf in Austin, Texas, to set up a weekend conference for Deaf senior citizens. They ended up with a remarkably high number of registered people — 850 — for what ended up being the first national conference of deaf seniors. At this conference, the idea of a national association for deaf seniors was floated. White reached out to all known senior organizations around the country, resulting in an overwhelming positive response towards that idea. Two years later, in 1994, the second conference was hosted in Columbus, Ohio. It featured 24 seminars, comedians, a talent show, and even an Oscar-winning actress, Louise Fletcher.

The result of that conference was the organization of the National Association of Deaf Senior Citizens (NADSC), and the decision to host conferences during odd-numbered years. Ralph H. White served as its president from 1994 to 1999.

During the fourth conference of 1997, in Phoenix, Arizona, a name change for NADSC was proposed — and that is how the current name, Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), came about. A new quarterly publication was also established, New Horizons.

At the fifth conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Gertrude Galloway was elected president. After Atlanta, DSA conferences were held in the cities of Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, and Las Vegas. Las Vegas now holds the record of attendees, at 2,334 total. With the unfortunate cancellation of the 2011 conference in Chicago, IL, DSA came into challenges of confidence. However, those challenges were overcome and expectations surpassed when DSA successfully hosted a 2013 conference in Baltimore with an extensive and exciting program. The 2015 conference was hosted in Asheville, NC, at a 100-year-old resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, instead of DSA’s traditional hotel venue. In 2017, DSA celebrated its 25th anniversary in Houston, Texas, one city away from the location of DSA’s very first conference.