Health literacy and difficulty accessing information about the COVID-19 pandemic among deaf and hard-of-hearing parents


Deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) people struggle with information marginalization and limited health literacy, challenging their ability to access information on preventing COVID-19. This study assessed the relationship between language preference, health literacy, and COVID-19 information barriers among DHH parents in the United States. Data were drawn from a larger study focused on DHH individuals who had given birth in the past ten years. Respondents completed a web-based survey between March 2020 and July 2021. We segmented respondents by language preference [i.e., American Sign Language (ASL), English, or bilingual ASL/English] and used logistic regression models to test the hypothesis that language preference and health literacy were both associated with COVID-19 information marginalization. Of the total sample (n = 421), approximately 17% had limited health literacy, and 22% reported experiencing difficulty accessing information about COVID-19. In adjusted analyses, respondents with limited health literacy (aOR = 2.245) and Hispanic ethnicity (aOR = 2.149) had higher risk of reporting information access barriers. There was no association between language preference and reporting COVID-19 information barriers. However, DHH individuals with limited health literacy were at higher risk of experiencing information marginalization during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for tailored information based on access needs.

HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice


  • Is this paper peer reviewed? This paper is published in the journal Health Literacy: Research and Practice. This journal uses double-blind peer review, where the authors and the reviewers do not know each other’s identities.

  • Who paid for this project? Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD090103 and by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research under Award Number 90DPGE0001. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the policy of NIH, NICHD, NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS, and you should not assume endoursement by the Federal Government.

  • Are there any conflicts of interest? There are no conflicts of interest.