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The University of Southampton

Research project: Exploring the experiences of adolescents with cochlear implants - Dormant

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The aim of this project is to utilize action research to investigate the problems that young people have in using their cochlear implant.


  1. To facilitate a group of young people (13-19 yrs) with cochlear implants to develop a website for others to share their experiences of having an implant. Key areas of interest are psychological and social aspects, choice of mode of communication, education, identity issues, and physical effects.
  2. In collaboration with a group of young people who use cochlear implants, to invite others to contribute to the website
  3. To identify the main themes related to the young peoples’ experiences by carrying out qualitative analysis of the contributions.
  4. To measure how supported the young people feel as a result of using the website.

The number of adolescents receiving and using cochlear implants has grown over recent years, however very little is known about the outcomes for this age group beyond those associated with speech and hearing. A recent study investigated the experiences of young people with cochlear implants and their decision to have an implant using a structured interview schedule developed by professionals in the field (Wheeler et al, 2007). However, previous research with parents of children with cochlear implants has shown that the validity of the data can be enhanced when the participants are involved in generating the focus of the research (O’Neill et al 2004). This research aims to reveal the ‘insider perspective’ by using an action research approach. In this approach, participants play a central role in the research process which can lead to more relevant insights than using conventional methods of qualitative data collection such as interviews or questionnaires. Another key feature of action research involves empowering participants to bring about change of benefit to the group, which in this instance is the introduction of a website to support young people with cochlear implants.

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