Areas of Study


Youth seek connections with television characters as part of the identity formation process. Traditionally, deaf youth have had few opportunities to connect with deaf television characters.

In recent years, there has been increased representation of deaf people on television, including scripted television programs Switched at Birth and This Close, which feature deaf adolescents and young adult characters, and reality television programs America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars, which recently featured deaf contestant Nyle DiMarco.

These programs provide opportunities for deaf youth to engage with deaf media models in new ways, but research has yet to determine how young viewers experience these media models. The current study will use a focus group approach to investigate deaf and hard of hearing adolescents’ engagement with and perspectives on deaf and hard of hearing media models.

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