I can hear the crisp flutter of a leaf as it drifts across the street, but I can’t hear the engine of a car. I can catch a whisper in a quiet room, but I can’t comprehend a bearded man rambling in front of me. This is the bizarre world of severe reverse-slope hearing loss, a disability I’ve spent my life pretending didn’t exist.
When I was growing up in the 1980s, hearing loss was typically depicted one way: at the expense of an elderly person who was “comically” deaf. These portrayals subconsciously taught me that deafness must be concealed.
While film and television are beginning to show the deaf experience, the deaf community is still under-represented. Approximately 15 percent of adults age 20 to 69 have hearing loss, and one in eight Americans age 12 years and older have hearing loss in both ears.
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