Factors influencing parents' decisions about communication choices during early education of their child with hearing loss: a qualitative study

Teresa Y. C. Ching*, Nerina Scarinci, Vivienne Marnane, Jessica Sjahalam-King, Laura Button, Jessica Whitfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


To explore the factors influencing parents' choice of communication mode during early education of their child with hearing loss. Qualitative descriptive analysis of semi-structured interviews with parents of children with hearing loss. Fourteen parents of children who participated in the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment study. Four themes emerged from thematic analysis of the interview data: (1) parents draw on a variety of experiences and information to make decisions; (2) parents' preferred outcomes for their children drive their choices; (3) child's preference and proficiency drive parental choice; and (4) parents' fears and worries influence decisions. The results reinforced the importance of parents receiving unbiased, descriptive information as well as evaluative information from professionals, so that they could consider all options in making a decision that met their needs. Parents also require continual support for implementation of their choices as they adjust to their children's changing communication needs. Parent decisions around communication mode are rarely made in isolation, but occur within a larger decision-making matrix that include device choices, early intervention agency choices, and 'future-proofing' the child's ongoing communication needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-181
Number of pages28
JournalDeafness and Education International
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • decision making
  • communication
  • early education
  • parents
  • deaf children
  • perspectives
  • qualitative

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