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The keyword entry on “deafness” surveys the history of pedagogical, medical, and technical approaches to hearing difference, as well as the changing experience of deafness, hardness of hearing, and Deaf culture. Central themes are the medicalization and universalization of hearing impairment in Europe and the United States, beginning in the nineteenth century. From the perspective of sound studies, the entry discusses the contributions deafness and deaf people have made to acoustics, phonetics, and electronics. Scholars in sound studies are urged to take hearing variance into account in their narratives.

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