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Review of social integration of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in Bulgaria

Ani Dzakova, Petya Genova, Peter Boranov, Snezhana Stancheva, Adem Hadjimehmed


Introduction: This study aims to emphasize the importance of social equality and its influence over the development of young people with hearing disabilities in Bulgaria. Children with congenital deaf­ness are likely to have delays in language development resulting in depression in their early life, while acquired deafness might generate isolation and excessive levels of anxiety due to the accumulating limitations of the surrounding circle.

Materials and methods: We conducted an electronic pool targeting two social groups, differentiating the participants in one of them into four categories: first group - deaf children under the age of 18; their hearing friends and classmates; members of families with deaf children; second group - hearing people without relation to anyone with hearing disabilities. The results were analysed and sorted in charts according to the individual characteristics of the participants from different groups.

Results: The survey reveals that at this stage, Bulgaria is in the process of improving the existing methods of integration. Results are that regardless of the high percentage of social acceptance and care among the family members and friends of the children with hearing disabilities, the rest of the participants show low level of preparedness to interact with deaf people. This obligates the deaf in Bulgaria to live in small groups isolated from the rest of the society, which could lead to cognitive im­pairment.

Conclusion: According to social research of the European Union of the Deaf in 2004 there were 120 000 people in Bulgaria with hearing disabilities, but only 50 000 of them were able to communi­cate through sign language. Our study confirms that the percentage of people practicing the Bulgari­an sign language is still less than 1%, resulting in persisting low levels of social integration of deaf and hard-of-hearing. Concluding from the relation between social tolerance and the level of physical and mental development, raising awareness among the hearing is extremely important.


social integration; deaf; otorhinolaryngology; research; deafness



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