According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders1 approximately 37.5 million American adults aged eighteen and over report some trouble hearing. Despite the number of people affected by hearing impairment, the hard of hearing and deaf population are underrepresented. The hearing-impaired community faces a myriad of challenges in their daily lives communicating and relating to others. Unfortunately, there is a lack of resources for the hard of hearing and deaf population in schools, and a lack of affordability for hearing aids in the healthcare field. In this critical autoethnography, the author focuses on her experiences of coping with and navigating her world as a hearing-impaired individual. The autoethnographic account explores the author’s face-to-face encounters with her peers, audiologist, medical practitioners, and personal relationships centering her research on the communication barriers that often come with hearing loss including adjustments to sound, relating to others, and overcoming obstacles due to the lack of resources. The stories shared aim to illustrate how those with hearing impairments are disempowered in a world that is geared toward the hearing abled.
Living in Silence: An Autoethnography of Relating, Coping, and Navigating Daily Challenges with Hearing Impairment
Alexis Zoe Waters Johnson (PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is currently assistant professor of Communication at Arkansas Tech University. Her research centers on how people cope with and make sense of narratives involving difficulty and trauma within families, with particular focus on a variety of communicative challenges and sense-making within health contexts such as terminal illness (e.g., cancer, end-of-life), hearing impairment, mental health, and chronic illness.
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Alexis Zoe Waters Johnson; Living in Silence: An Autoethnography of Relating, Coping, and Navigating Daily Challenges with Hearing Impairment. Journal of Autoethnography 11 January 2021; 2 (1): 39–54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2021.2.1.39
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