Objective: The aim of the study was to characterise the experiences of parents whose children have been diagnosed with deafness in Ireland. This is relevant for future planning and development of the professions related to audiology.
Method: The researchers analysed 16 letters to the HSE National Audiology Review Group (NARG), which voice the experiences of parents with deaf children. These invited letters are in the public domain and available in the appendices of the NARG report. Specifically, the researchers analysed these letters using the psychological phenomenological approach (Giorgi and Giorgi, 2008).
Main results: Phenomenological analysis highlighted a range of parental experiences in relation to their children’s deafness. Although some parents reported their experiences of support, coping, resilience and resourcefulness, most expressed anger, resentment and bitterness towards inefficient diagnostic processes, dissatisfaction with services, and inadequate information and counselling in relation to options and prognosis. In many cases, parents expressed loneliness, uncertainty, and a fear of an unsure future for their child.
Conclusion: Parents believed that a great deal of change was necessary to instil confidence and satisfaction in the Irish audiology service.
Key words: National Audiology Review, Ireland; Experiences parenting a deaf child; Irish Audiology Service; Phenomenology.