“Mapping Hearing Impairment: Sound tracks in the corner space,” The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies, Edited by Michael Bull, Routledge: New York, 2018.
Deaf culture and Deaf community builds the basis for Deaf activism, which aims to fight against deaf oppression. This oppression is enacted by a hearing culture that typically misunderstands the experience of the deaf or hearing-impaired person (such as the myth of a silent deaf world), and where a deaf or hearing-impaired person experiences discrimination in their everyday life, such as the failure of a hearing person in learning how to communicate with a deaf person, in hiring a deaf person for a job, or even in the lack of comprehension towards American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is oftentimes stigmatized, and not even considered to be a “legitimate” language that has its own set of variations, dialects, and phonologies. One of the goals of this chapter is to disrupt the mainstream preconceived and stereotypical ideas of the deaf and hearing-impaired experience, which typically assumes that they live a life of mostly silence, where they retain little to no concept of sound. This disruption of stereotypes is achieved through the work of the hearing-impaired artist, Darrin Martin. Sound is a medium in which Martin feels creatively comfortable: sound is not just a medium that he experiences on a daily basis, but he also carves out a relationship with the medium through his practice. Through his multi-sensorial encounters with sound, he produces new knowledge.