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Hearing Happiness - Deafness Cures in History

Jaipreet Virdi



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University of Chicago Press
31 August 2020
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 in order 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.

Weaving 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.
By:   Jaipreet Virdi
Imprint:   University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 9mm,  Width: 6mm,  Spine: 1mm
ISBN:   9780226690612
ISBN 10:   022669061X
Pages:   328
Publication Date:   31 August 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jaipreet Virdi is an assistant professor of history at the University of Delaware. This is her first book.

Reviews for Hearing Happiness - Deafness Cures in History

Poetically weaving her own experiences as a deaf person into a history of hearing loss, Virdi makes a compelling argument that deafness is as much a cultural construct as it is a physical phenomenon. Rigorously researched and eminently readable, Hearing Happiness is packed with historical gems that will fascinate both academic and lay audiences. --Lindsey Fitzharris, author of 'The Butchering Art'

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