Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comm Sciences and Disorders


Hearing Sciences & Disorders

Committee Chair

Robyn Cox

Committee Member

David Wark

Committee Member

Linda Jarmulowicz

Committee Member

Lisbeth Berbary


African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are underrepresented in the use of hearing health care (HHC) compared to White individuals. Although some researchers have speculated about possible cultural barriers that might deter racial/ethnic minorities from seeking HHC services, no audiologic literature was found that explored these topics. This study was designed to explore cross-cultural differences in perceptions of hearing-health and HHC services. The goals of this study were 1) to understand the sociocultural components that influence individuals when seeking HHC services;2) to understand how these sociocultural componentsmight be influenced by cultural background; and,3) to understand the role of race and ethnicity in the decision to obtain HHC services. Use of constructivist grounded theory guidelines for analyses of semi-structured interview transcripts led to a hierarchical model of factors that contributedtoHHC utilization for African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Caucasian adults in Memphis, TN. A theoretical model then was constructed to illustrate how cultural patterns of beliefs, values and commitments, expected behaviors, and resources are inextricably linked to the appraisal process and coping behaviors of individuals who experience hearing impairment. The results of this study suggest that hearing help-seeking is linked to racial/ethnic background in multiple and complex ways. Widespread cultural beliefs and values, and cultural demands and resources vary across races and ethnicities, and are influenced further by socioeconomic status, gender, and individual differences. These factors influence situational demands, personal resources, individual beliefs and values, and reactions of others to hearing impairment. When deciding upon a method of coping withhearing impairment, these culturally-influenced factors are negotiated relative to the potential impact of the hearing impairment on an individual's well-being.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.