Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

How Communication Goals May Alter Handicap

Author(s) Carolyn E. Johnson, PhD
M. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, PhD
Volume 18
Number 4
Year 1994
Page(s) 235-242
Language English
Keywords disability
Abstract Hard-of-hearing individuals often report a degree of handicap considerably different from that predicted by their hearing impairment. This disparity may exist because procedures for assessing hearing impairment implicitly assume that the purpose of language is primarily transactional (the exchange of information). We present data from conversations between hard-of-hearing and normally hearing individuals to argue that assessment of handicap must take into account the interactional as well as the transactional function of language. The relative importance of these two basic language functions varies across communication situations and depends on how individuals interpret these situations. This leads one to predict that, for a given individual, handicap will vary according to communication context, and in a given context, individuals with similar levels of hearing impairment will have different perceptions of handicap.

Les personnes malentendantes rapportent souvent un degré de handicap assez différent de celui qu'on pourrait prédire sur la base de leur perte d'audition. Cette différence pourrait provenir du fait que les méthodes audiologiques supposent implicitement que le but du langage est principalement transactionnel. Les données présentées ici, tirées de conversations entre personnes malentendantes et personnes qui entendent normalement, montrent que l'évaluation du handicap doit tenir compte non seulement de la fonction transactionnelle du langage, mais aussi de sa fonction interactionnelle. L'importance relative de ces deux fonctions de base du langage varie d'une situation à l'autre et dépend de la façon dont chaque individu interprète chaque situation. Il en résulte que pour chaque individu, le handicap variera selon le contexte, et que dans un contexte donné, des individus avant une perte d'audition semblable percevront différemment leur handicap.
Record ID 246
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