An Investigation of the Influence of Exposure to Deaf Communities on Deaf Identity of Young Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients

Name: Heidi Likins
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Advisor: Dr. Donald Goldberg
The purpose of this study was to investigate young adult cochlear implant recipients’ Deaf Identity and how it is influenced by their “amount” of contact with people who are culturally Deaf. This study uses a quantitative research method via an online survey that was sent to young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years who have at least one cochlear implant. The survey utilized items adapted from the Revised Deaf Identity Development Scale (Fischer & McWhirter, 2001) and the Deaf Acculturation Scale (Maxwell-McCaw & Zea, 2010). The major conclusion from this study is that participants had high “Bicultural” identity scores while reporting that their Deaf identity was important to them and that being part of the Hearing world was also important to them. Participants also reported that they neither agreed nor disagreed that being part of the Deaf world was important to them. One implication of these findings is that there may be another “Deaf” identity that is separate from a culturally Deaf identity. Parents and professionals can use this knowledge to better connect young cochlear implant recipients to culturally Deaf peers. By making these connections, young cochlear implant recipient scan make more meaningful relationships and feel less lonely and excluded from both hearing and Deaf peers.
Keywords: Deaf Identity, Cochlear Implants (CI), identity development, Deaf Identity Development Scale, Deaf Acculturation Scale

Heidi will be online to field comments April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 4, 2021.