Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Educational Leadership


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Walter Gmelch

Second Advisor

Michael Duffy


With the passing of federal legislations such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Americans believe all issues relating to disability have been addressed. While Americans with disabilities gained civil rights under these two federal laws and educational opportunities have expanded, they are still struggling against the stigma of disability. They encounter many barriers as they enter the workplace and navigate toward leadership roles in their organizations. This narrative phenomenological qualitative study seeks to understand the experiences of individuals with hearing loss as they enter and navigate through their careers. Its purpose is to gain knowledge on the barriers encountered in the workplace and to identify opportunities to implement new strategies to open leadership opportunities for individuals with hearing loss. This study provides stories from five professionals who have worked in different field such as academia, law, finance, and tech industry. Data for this study were collected through online interviews with five participants. Key findings arose from the interviews with the participants, identifying three main themes. The first is a hearing-impaired self-image and personal experiences with their hearing loss. The second is their experiences in their organization (through the orientation process, the organization’s policies toward employees, the hierarchy, and opportunities to become leaders). The third theme is their interactions with colleagues and leaders that impact their career opportunities. This study calls for the recognition of the social and economic barriers individuals with hearing loss face and the need for changes in organizational policies to open leadership opportunities for them. iv This dissertation, written under the direction of the candidate’s dissertation committee and approved by the members of the committee, has been presented to and accepted by the Faculty of the School of Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education. The content and research methodologies presented in this work represent the work of the candidate alone.