Narratives of Hope, Fear And Expectations: Young People With Cochlear Implants

Prof Doc Thesis

Wright, Gillian 2015. Narratives of Hope, Fear And Expectations: Young People With Cochlear Implants. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsWright, Gillian
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Introduction: Research including cochlear implant users is slowly developing
since their introduction in the treatment of deafness. Current gaps in research
point to the inclusion of young people who have received paediatric cochlear
Method: This qualitative study sought to collect the perspectives of young
people (aged 16-18) with cochlear implants in relation to their hopes, fears and
expectations for the future. The eight participants were of equal gender mix
(four females, four males) and were on average 17 years old; they had been
using a cochlear implant for an average of 14 years.
Data was gathered via one-to-one topic focused interviews with holistic
narratives being analysed for content, form, and performative elements.
Results: Overall narratives of hopes were thicker than those of fears and
especially those of expectations. Narratives of hopes included: achievement
through education/career; acceptance of deafness from self and others; a
greater desire for fluidity between communication partners and improvements in
cochlear implant technology. Interestingly how participants framed fears
seemed to vary; yet this pointed to concerns over the visibility of deafness and
non-acceptance from others (i.e. friendships and relationships), particularly with
hearing people. Expectations, linked with narratives of hopes, however were
framed in more vague terms.
Conclusion: The study highlighted commonalities and disparities in the
participants’ future narratives. To conceptualise the psychological
consequences of being a young person with a cochlear implant, models of
adjustment and life transition were used. The study calls for a greater
awareness of deaf issues within professional settings and the wider society.
Through their practice, Clinical Psychologists ought to be deaf aware and take a
critical stance towards negative social narratives of competence. Through
research, Clinical Psychologists should aim to represent the idiosyncrasies of
deaf lives. The study supports a paradigm shift towards a fluid sense of identity
in promoting a greater sense of acceptance.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Oct 2015
Publisher's version
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