Acquired deafness: A multi-dimensional experience

P.C. Kerr, Roddy Cowie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the subjective experience of acquired deafness using quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (interview) methods. This paper presents findings from the questionnaire data. Eighty-seven people (of whom 38 had acquired a profound loss) participated in the study. The questionnaire contained items designed to examine both audiological and non-audiological aspects of deafened people's experiences. It also sought to measure the extent to which those aspects affect their quality of life. The questionnaire included three variables (i.e. reported frequency and impact of depression, and overall effect of deafness on one's life) as broad indicators of adjustment. Seventy-three respondents (including all but one of the profound group) completed the questionnaire. Factor analysis of the questionnaire data identified six major themes (with variance >10%) underlying the personal experience of acquired deafness. Three themes-communicative deprivation, restriction, and malinteraction by hearing people-dealt with observable aspects of respondents' experience. Multiple regression found that these factor themes associated with biomedical variables. The remaining three themes dealt with less tangible aspects of the deafness experience. These themes-feelings of distress in interaction, feelings of abandonment and benefit from positive experiences-did not associate with biomedical variables. Finally, multiple regression indicates that respondents' factor scores predict the impact of deafness at least as strongly as their audiological and social characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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