Mode of Communication, Perceived Level of Understanding, and Perceived Quality of Life in Youth Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Given the important role of parent–youth communication in adolescent well-being and quality of life, we sought to examine the relationship between specific communication variables and youth perceived quality of life in general and as a deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) individual. A convenience sample of 230 youth (mean age = 14.1, standard deviation = 2.2; 24% used sign only, 40% speech only, and 36% sign + speech) was surveyed on communication-related issues, generic and DHH-specific quality of life, and depression symptoms. Higher youth perception of their ability to understand parents’ communication was significantly correlated with perceived quality of life as well as lower reported depressive symptoms and lower perceived stigma. Youth who use speech as their single mode of communication were more likely to report greater stigma associated with being DHH than youth who used both speech and sign. These findings demonstrate the importance of youths’ perceptions of communication with their parents on generic and DHH-specific youth quality of life.