The most striking thing about Jaipreet Virdi’s book is how it confirms that hearing loss isn’t a minor annoyance that afflicts a few people. Rather, with tremendous archival work, she shows us that, over the past three centuries, Anglo-American culture has been virtually obsessed with trying to cure deafness. The deaf person becomes the icon of the diminished citizen. The sheer number of nostrums, remedies, devices and surgeries devoted to the remedying of hearing loss is staggering. Yet the economic investment and advertising outreach are also indications of a more general insistence that deafness is a misery, that cure is a necessity and that hearing provides “happiness”.
Disability Studies scholar Lennard Davis reviews Hearing Happiness for Times Higher Education.