Everyday technology use among older deaf adults

Jenny L. Singleton, Elena T. Remillard, Tracy L. Mitzner, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Technology holds great potential to support Deaf individuals as they age into older adulthood. However, it is unclear to what extent Deaf seniors are using technology in everyday life or whether they experience challenges in using technology. The current study explored technology use among older Deaf adults with regard to attitudes, adoption style, and frequency of use for a wide range of technologies, including assistive technologies (ATs) for persons with hearing loss and general, everyday technologies. Materials and methods: We developed a questionnaire that assessed older Deaf adults’ use of and experiences with technology. The questionnaire was made available in online and paper versions. Participants (N = 109) were recruited from national conferences and organizations for the Deaf. Results: Overall, we found that the older Deaf adults were technology adopters and regularly use and feel comfortable with a variety of devices. However, we also identified a number of technologies that are not being used by this population, including an AT that appears to have become obsolete and technologies that use sound-based alerts. Conclusions: Insights on how older Deaf adults are embracing technology and which devices they are actually using can help policy makers, technology developers, and a range of aging services professionals, better meet the needs of this understudied population.Implications for Rehabilitation: Older Deaf adults use a variety of assistive and everyday technologies and must be considered as consumers and included in the design process. Older Deaf adults are generally positive in their attitudes towards technologies but they are infrequent users of potentially beneficial health technologies, highlighting opportunities for future research and development. Assistive technology for the Deaf (TTY/TTD) appears to have become obsolete with advances in modern communication technologies, which has implications for policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2019


  • Deaf
  • aging
  • older adults
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing

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