Managing Hearing Loss Stigma: Experiences of and Responses to Stigmatizing Attitudes & Behaviors

Brittany N. Lash, Donald W. Helme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Stigma can negatively affect the lives and the relationships of those who are stigmatized. This study examines one such population that is often stigmatized, individuals with hearing loss. Through the use of interactive qualitative interviews, this study explores how these individuals experience stigma surrounding hearing loss as well as the ways in which they chose to respond to that stigma. Interviews were analyzed to identify five major stigmatizing experiences identified by those with hearing loss: feelings of sorry or pity, not feeling worth others’ time, being labeled as “not normal”, the perception that hearing loss limits capabilities and intelligence, and the idea that hearing loss is different from other types of disabilities. Further, thematic analysis identified five types of responses to stigma utilized by the participants: avoiding/ignoring, asserting oneself, viewing it as an education opportunity, having a positive attitude, and reframing stigmatizing experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-315
Number of pages14
JournalSouthern Communication Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Southern States Communication Association.


  • Stigma
  • hard of hearing
  • hearing loss
  • qualitative method
  • stigma response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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