When I was researching on deafness for my current project, my audiologist friend Erin Desmarais suggested me to watch Sound and Fury. As a person who values hearing the most important asset and skill, this documentary about deaf culture was a shocking eye-opener. Below is the summary of the documentary from PBS.
SOUND AND FURY documents one family’s struggle over whether or not to provide two deaf children with cochlear implants, devices that can stimulate hearing. As the Artinians of Long Island, New York debate what is the right choice for the two deaf cousins, Heather, 6, and Peter, 1 1/2, viewers are introduced to one of the most controversial issues affecting the deaf community today. Cochlear implants may provide easier access to the hearing world, but what do the devices mean for a person’s sense of identity with deaf culture? Can durable bridges be built between the deaf and hearing worlds? Find out.
I assigned my acoustics students to watch the documentary and write their opinions on whether the protagonist should get the cochlear implant or not. The followup debate was loud and full of emotions.
A simple YouTube search will give you an access to a full documentary and its short sequel (watch the original first!). I strongly recommend it to all my music friends. We musicians cannot imagine the life without sound, and it is fascinating to learn about the culture that does not have/need sound. Find out the “fury” portion of the documentary by yourself.
PS: My research on deafness was for this upcoming show. More information will be posted at therenegadecompany.org soon.