Teenagers and Young Adults Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: a Snapshot of Acculturation in High School and Post-Secondary Life

Objectives: The current study investigates acculturation in a group of teenagers and young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) and who were raised in an age of early identification, early intervention, advanced audiologic technology, and inclusive education. Design: The Deaf Acculturation Scale (Maxwell-McCaw & Zea 2011) was administered via online survey to 106 teenagers and young adults (mean ages = 16.87 and 24.65 years, respectively). All participants were alumni of an early childhood program for children who are DHH in the United States learning listening and spoken language skills. Results: The majority of the participants scored as hearing acculturated (79%), with 1% scoring as deaf acculturated, and 20% as bicultural. Teenagers and adults did not differ significantly on acculturation. Participants who identified as hearing acculturated were less likely to use sign language with their friends, at work, or with their families than those who identified as bicultural. Conclusions: These results are in contrast to acculturation patterns reported in other populations of young DHH adults, indicating the need to continue investigating the diversity in cultural values, beliefs, and practices of people who are DHH.


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