Disclosing Hearing Loss: Managing Boundaries Surrounding a Stigmatized Identity

Brittany N. Lash


The decision to disclose for disabled individuals is a complicated one as it is often a dilemma between gaining access to accommodations or social support and avoiding stigma. Furthermore, should they decide to disclose, these individuals must then make decisions surrounding how to disclose their disabilities to others. Using interactive interviews and communication privacy management theory, this study examines the ways in which hard of hearing and deaf individuals manage boundaries surrounding their hearing loss. Participants discussed various core and catalyst criteria that shaped the boundary management process. They also discussed how they go about disclosing if they should decide to disclose.


disclosure, individuals with disabilities, hearing loss, hard of hearing, deaf, communication privacy management theory

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