Have you seen Sound and Fury, directed by Josh Aronson?  Check out our audiologist, Sarah Caldwell’s, review of this great documentary.  

Movie Review: Sound and Fury, directed by Josh Aronson

Sound and Fury is a compelling documentary highlighting the ongoing politics surrounding different forms of hearing loss intervention, specifically, cochlear implants. Set in the year 2000, Aronson portrays the experience of two brothers and their very different families. One set of parents have normal hearing, but are very familiar with Deaf culture throughout their extended families and communication via American Sign Language (ASL). When they are faced with the decision to implant their two-year-old son Peter, who was born deaf, they are certain that he should be implanted as soon as possible. The other set of parents are Deaf and communicate primarily through ASL. Their six-year-old daughter Heather, who is also Deaf and already uses ASL to communicate, would like a cochlear implant so she can communicate better with her classmates. Unlike the family with normal hearing, they have significant concerns about how the implant will change Heather's relationship with Deaf culture and her Deaf identity within their family. Aronson respectfully depicts the intervention each family chooses, and provides follow-up for each family in a sequel, Sound and Fury: 6 Years Later.

Having recently read I Can Hear Your Whisper by Lydia Denworth, where she discusses the politics surrounding hearing loss intervention in great detail, I was interested in re-visiting the first-hand accounts depicted in Sound and Fury. I had previously watched the documentary and its follow-up account in college, when I was first introduced to Deaf culture and communication disorders.  I think that it is very important for individuals with normal hearing who are interested in communication disorders to watch this series in order to better understand Deaf culture and Deaf identity. In addition, these films also portray the possible spectrum of a family’s emotional experience surrounding cochlear implantation – how cochlear implants can also be interpreted as threatening or even insulting to some Deaf communities, as opposed to extraordinary or miraculous for those with normal hearing.