Images of an Invisible Disability: Framing Hearing Limitation in Film and Television

Arising from an internal cause, a hearing disability in people creates no external physical signs. Thus, directors and screen writers of films and TV programs define this invisible disability by resorting to physical and  behavioral stereotypes of characters with it.

This book is based on Nan Edith Johnson’s reviews of around 200 films, made-for-TV movies, TV episodes, or TV series having a character with a hearing disability. She assesses these images according to the lived experience of hearing disability, the accessibility of the show to hearing-disabled audiences, and the changes in these factors over the nine decades covered in her filmography. Her critique is based on the genre of the shows; such as: crime (Chapter Two); horror, science fiction, and fantasy (Chapters Three and Four); romance and marriage (Chapters Five and Six); sports (Chapter Seven); and Comedy (Chapter Eight). Chapter Nine discusses how the accommodations that hearing-disabled people use to empower themselves are portrayed in films and TV. Finally, Chapter Ten evaluates how far movies and TV programs have come  in dropping negative stereotypes of hearing-disabled characters and whether TV shows have been more progressive than films.

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