Experiences of hearing parents regarding their child’s hearing loss
Overwhelming evidence suggests that 90% of children with a hearing loss are born to hearing parents. Research indicates that often these hearing parents are ill-informed about the cause and type of hearing loss their child has, leading the hearing parents to feelings of grief and disempowerment. Many hearing parents at the time of the diagnosis experience emotional turmoil as the diagnosis is often unexpected, resulting in a plethora of questions asked. The research approach for the study was qualitative in nature as it set out to explore and describe the experiences of hearing parents of their child’s hearing loss. A phenomenological strategy of design was employed to capture the lived experience from the hearing parents. Data was collected by means of unstructured individual in-depth interviews with 11 hearing parents. Volunteer and snowball sampling were implemented so as to access hearing parents whose children had been diagnosed with hearing loss. Data was analysed according to Creswell (2007) and Klenke (2008) and the trustworthiness of the qualitative study was evaluated against the criteria that Guba described in Krefting (1991). Ethical considerations, such as voluntary participation, informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, no harm done and debriefing, were adhered to. After the conclusion of the research analysis, the findings of the research were discussed and recommendations were made. The findings of the recommendations spoke to the better understanding of the emotions and challenges of hearing parents as well as putting forward suggestions for supportive coping mechanisms to be put in place to support hearing parents whose children have been diagnosed with a hearing loss.