Virdi powerfully demonstrates how cures for deafness pressure individuals to change, to “be better.” She believes that deafness — and disability in general — is “an oppression of difference rather than an impairment.” Social norms are forced upon people with low hearing or deafness; in Virdi’s view, eliminating deafness is as much about passing as normal as it is about improving hearing. Those who fail to be cured or to pass for normal are wrongly characterized as having less value in society.
In “30 years of the ADA: Measuring progress and calling for improvements,” Anna Leahy reviews Hearing Happiness alongside two other books that “offer insight into the history of disability and ideas for building on the ADA’s foundation of basic protections to create a more just world for the variety of humans who inhabit it.”
Header: The Rev. Harold H. Wilke, top left, accepts a pen from President George Bush with his left foot, after Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 at a White House South Lawn ceremony July 26, 1990. BARRY THUMA | Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS Copyright: AP1990