Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kimberly A. Wolbers

Committee Members

Gary J. Skolits, David H. Smith, Stergios George Botzakis


This study investigates the quality of life (QOL) for Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) adults in Saudi Arabia. It is an opportune time to investigate the QOL among this population because of the recent movement to provide college programs for DHH. Education has long been an indicator of QOL for individuals (Corsaro, 1997; Ross & Willingen, 1997; Whaley, 2018). QOL has been studied for a long time among hearing persons; however, there is sparse research addressing it among DHH communities around the world. Furthermore, it is exceptional to find a researcher addressing QOL among DHH in the Arabs region. It is necessary to gauge the QOL among the DHH community in Saudi Arabia, especially with onset of higher education programs that are accessible to the DHH. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which educational background, modes of communication, gender, hearing status, and school placement played a role in the QOL for DHH. A total of 305 participants (228 Deaf, 74 hard of hearing, 3 cochlear implant receivers) were recruited via social media and DHH sites. The study used a self-administered survey designed for DHH (Youth Quality of Life-DHH) that was translated into Arabic and Saudi Arabian Sign Language. The results showed that higher education degrees, modes of communication, hearing status, and school placements were not statistically significant to QOL. Additionally, data showed that participants who are financially self-sufficient reported higher QOL. These findings align with prior research (Al-Khraif, Al-Mutairi, Alradihan, & Salam, 2018) showing that the person’s job in Saudi Arabia, regardless of the educational degree, is an influential factor of the QOL. Also, women reported higher QOL than men, which may be explained by the level of honor and respect for women in the society. Furthermore, this study investigated the satisfaction levels with both family relationships and communication based on participants’ hearing status. The results showed that hard vii of hearing participants reported higher satisfaction with their family relationships and communication than Deaf participants reported. These findings suggest a future qualitative study to explore the specific QOL indicators for DHH in Saudi Arabia.

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