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Hearing Happiness (Kobo eBook)

Hearing Happiness By Jaipreet Virdi Cover Image
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Weaving together lyrical history and personal memoir, Virdi powerfully examines society’s—and her own—perception of life as a deaf person in America.

At the age of four, Jaipreet Virdi’s world went silent. A severe case of meningitis left her alive but deaf, suddenly treated differently by everyone. Her deafness downplayed by society and doctors, she struggled to “pass” as hearing for most of her life. Countless cures, treatments, and technologies led to dead ends. Never quite deaf enough for the Deaf community or quite hearing enough for the “normal” majority, Virdi was stuck in aural limbo for years. It wasn’t until her thirties, exasperated by problems with new digital hearing aids, that she began to actively assert her deafness and reexamine society’s—and her own—perception of life as a deaf person in America.

Through lyrical history and personal memoir, Hearing Happiness raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. Taking us from the 1860s up to the present, Virdi combs archives and museums to understand the long history of curious cures: ear trumpets, violet ray apparatuses, vibrating massagers, electrotherapy machines, airplane diving, bloodletting, skull hammering, and many more. Hundreds of procedures and products have promised grand miracles but always failed to deliver a universal cure—a harmful legacy that is still present in contemporary biomedicine.

Blending Virdi’s own experiences together with her exploration into the fascinating history of deafness cures, Hearing Happiness is a powerful story that America needs to hear.

Praise for Hearing Happiness

“In part a critical memoir of her own life, this archival tour de force centers on d/Deafness, and, specifically, the obsessive search for a “cure”. . . . This survey of cure and its politics, framed by disability studies, allows readers—either for the first time or as a stunning example in the field—to think about how notions of remediation are leveraged against the most vulnerable.” —Public Books

“Engaging. . . . A sweeping chronology of human deafness fortified with the author’s personal struggles and triumphs.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Part memoir, part historical monograph, Virdi’s Hearing Happiness breaks the mold for academic press publications.” —Publishers Weekly

“In her insightful book, Virdi probes how society perceives deafness and challenges the idea that a disability is a deficit. . . . [She] powerfully demonstrates how cures for deafness pressure individuals to change, to “be better.” —Washington Post

Product Details
ISBN-13: 9780226690759
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: August 30th, 2020