How the African American Community Deals with Hearing Impaired Individuals: A Qualitative Analysis Using Social Learning Theory

Lakeisha O'Neal


It has been estimated that nearly two million African Americans have a hearing impairment; of this population, nearly 22,000 are profoundly deaf. Based on these numbers, African American deaf individuals are a minority group within a minority group. The majority (hearing African Americans) has a greater influence on society. Thus, the minority group of hearing impaired individuals is likely to become underrepresented within the African American community. Hearing impairments are so widely diverse that the severity of hearing reduction can be different from case to case. Within society, it is difficult to identify an individual who is hearing impaired without having some type of in communication with him or her. A hearing impairment is not a visually recognizable disability; because of this, it can be difficult for others in society to recognize the problem. The Social Learning Theory suggests that social behavior is learned throughout environmental factors that are deemed acceptable. Through the implementation of the Social Learning Theory as a framework, this paper will hypothesizes that, if taught to understand and accept hearing impairment, impaired members of the African American community would no longer be a misrepresented group. Using data collected from primary and secondary sources, through the document analysis technique and expert interviews, the research sheds light on the African American hearing impaired population by testing the stated hypothesis. A qualitative research methodology is employed for this task. The findings delineated from the analysis reveal that the hypothesis is acceptable.


Hearing impairments; African-Americans; Community

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