This study investigated the civic engagement, political participation, and choice of news media of the deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) community at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York. Socialization factors that contribute to civic engagement and political participation were examined and contrasted with a hearing sample of students at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Activity Orientation Scale combined with the Political Media Gratification Scale were used to measure the likelihood of political engagement among the DHH and understand their media viewing habits. Socialization factors affect where DHH individuals get their news, what media are used, and who they trust regarding political news and information. The Deaf community is bilingual, often using written and sometimes spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Credibility of news sources among DHH and hearing communities may differ due to use of closed captioning and ASL. Rich media theory is used to explain how political news and information can be better tailored for the DHH. Additional factors such as political party affiliation, social media engagement, and consumption of news media are examined to understand how the DHH population is politically involved and how it may differ from a hearing community.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Deaf--Political activity; Hearing impaired--Political activity; Mass media--Political aspects

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Rudy Pugliese

Advisor/Committee Member

Aaron W. Kelstone

Advisor/Committee Member

Grant Cos


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes