Date of Defense



Speech Pathology and Audiology


In this study, a survey was designed to study the impact of hearing loss on intimate relationships. For the purpose of the study an intimate relationship was defined as "a relationship or partnership (usually of marriage or cohabitation where partners live together) where there is a strong emotional component and commitment involving love and the ability or desire to confide in each other and share one's deepest thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears." The subjects were five hearing-impaired males who had normal-hearing partners, five normal-hearing males who had hearing-impaired partners, five hearing-impaired females who had normal-hearing partners, and five normal-hearing females who had hearing-impaired partners. The ages of the subjects ranged from the 30-40 year category to the 70-80 year category for males and from the 20-30 year category to the 50-60 year category for females. The degree of the hearing loss, for each of the grouped subjects, ranged from mild to profound. It has been suggested, but not empirically determined, that the impact of a hearing loss on an intimate relationship is greater for the female than the male, regardless of which partner has the hearing loss. This study generally showed agreement with such an hypothesis. However, further study taking into consideration such variables as subjects' ages, degree of hearing loss and rehabilitative efforts is needed for more conclusive evidence.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only