6 fictional characters who live with hearing loss
Posted on Apr 24, 2018
Whether it's Stranger Things, Friends or Game of Thrones, the average Australian watches around 18 hours of television per week, according to a Roy Morgan report1.
As one in seven Australians live with some form of hearing loss2, we have compiled a list of top TV shows and films that tackle auditory issues, and help to bring such complex and common conditions into the public eye.
Baby Driver was only released two months ago and has already earned more than 2 million USD (AUD$254740000) worldwide. The film focuses on 'Baby' – a young getaway driver who lives with tinnitus.
This condition affects 30 per cent of the Australian population3 and Baby Driver sees the main character listening to music to drown out the annoying sounds that tinnitus can bring – a common treatment adopted by many. Background noise helps to distract the brain and can reduce symptoms greatly.
Music Within is the ultimate 'feel good' film for those affected by a hearing condition. In the film, Richard Pimentel is sent to Vietnam as part of the US Army, but returns home hearing impaired after being exposed to severely loud noises.
After meeting a new friend with cerebral palsy, Pimentel becomes a voice for the disability rights movement and shows that individuals shouldn't be judged and pigeon-holed.
Since being aired in 1969, Sesame Street has become one of the most loved children's TV shows of all time. Linda Bove, a deaf actress, portrayed 'Linda the Librarian' for more than 30 years. She used sign language to communicate with other characters and helped to inform and educate children about what it was like to be hearing impaired.
Although humans use hearing aids for assistance, in a magical and fantasy world full of hobbits, hearing aids may look a little out of place. However, The Hobbit's creators still found a way to incorporate a hearing impaired character and his device into the smash hit movie.
Óin uses an ear trumpet to help him hear (which is later trodden on!) and shows that although he does live with a cognitive condition, he can still be the healer of the group and fight bad guys at the same time!
Showcasing how big film characters manage hearing loss is great for the deaf community as it helps to represent a topic that is not often talked about in pop culture. Creed is the recent Hollywood blockbuster that is the follow on film from the world famous Rocky franchise. It shows rising boxing star Adonis take his journey to the top with the help of coach Balboa.
Bianca, Creed's love interest and musician, lives with degenerative hearing loss and wears a hearing aid to assist her. She also starts to learn sign language – a further look into how the hearing impaired cope in day to day situations – and does so with confidence and sense of optimism for the future.
Switched at Birth
This American drama series follows the story of two teenage girls who were switched at birth and amongst other relatable issues, the show places a great emphasis on hearing loss and auditory conditions. A number of deaf actors are present within Switched at Birth which helps to create a more authentic experience for hearing impaired viewers. The creators were famous for making an entire episode using only American Sign Language – a bold statement and a real in depth look into auditory conditions.
Showcasing hearing impairments on a broader scale helps to further the understanding for auditory conditions. If you're worried about your own hearing, contact the team at HEARINGlife today. Our hearing tests at no cost* are for those over the age of 26. Call us now on 1800 303 502 or click here.
1Roy Morgan, Blockbusters drive cinema attendance to new heights. Accessed September 2017
2Deloitte Access Economics, THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COST OF HEARING LOSS IN AUSTRALIA. Accessed September 2017
3Australian Hearing, Tinnitus: What it is and how to manage it. Accessed September 2017