Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2022

Document Type


First Advisor

Deborah Schooler

Second Advisor

Caroline M. Kobek Pezzarossi


Social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly popular in modern society; however, there is insufficient research into the impacts of SNS on middle-aged and older Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) individuals. D/HH SNS users belong to the Baby Boomer generation or Generation X (born 1946-1980) were recruited for this study. A mixed-methods approach was utilized, with a survey (n=32) and interviews (n=3), to examine primary reasons for use, perceived accessibility of interactions, the relationship between SNS use and life satisfaction, and noted societal changes. Most participants reported using Facebook and Instagram, which were primarily used for social interaction, information seeking, and entertainment purposes. This study showed SNS interactions with hearing individuals were significantly more accessible than in-person interactions. The thematic analysis of the qualitative data revealed four key themes: exposure and repression, accessibility, privacy, and ideological polarization. The overall feelings towards these platforms were positive. SNS platforms allowed for increased accessibility through reducing communication barriers. Additionally, as SNS platforms have become increasingly prevalent, participants noted increased representation of the Deaf community within movies and television. This preliminary information sets important groundwork for future research, which can be used to increase the positive impacts for other D/HH individuals.

Included in

Social Media Commons



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