Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Deaf-Family relationships, Deafness, Hearing loss, Congenital hearing loss, Family, Families, Deaf, Hard of hearing, Parent and child, Deaf-Services for.


This qualitative research was conducted to study how people with congenital hearing loss experienced the impact of being raised in families where all other members were hearing. Literature pertaining specifically to people with congenital hearing loss was limited. Therefore this study reviewed previous written works mainly on families with a deaf member and linked them to the topic of people with congenital hearing loss in hearing families. The literature spoke to the importance of family members collectively contributing to the needs of a person with a disability on many levels. The theoretical framework of family therapy was used to study this topic. The experiences of 12 adults who identified as having a congenital hearing loss and growing up in hearing families were explored through in-person, narrative interviews. People who participated were diagnosed with the condition of hearing loss from birth or early childhood. Questions were asked of participants about the general impact growing up with a hearing loss in addition to specific questions about parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, school experience, and services used. Participants of this study were found to experience challenges and hurdles in their families whether it be in school, in social situations, or in communicating and getting their needs met by parents. Participants were also found to experience some sibling rivalry and be closest to a female family member. Despite challenges, participants were loved and accepted for who they were in their families regardless of having a hearing loss.




iii, 63 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 49-52)