Ted Evans’ award winning short film, The End, poses the question, ‘if there was a cure for deafness, would you take it?’
In its raw, documentary style The End explores what could indeed happen if deafness was eventually eradicated.
For those of you with hearing or with no exposure to the deaf community, saying ‘yes’ to a cure for deafness would most likely seem an automatic response.
But for those who are well and truly part of the deaf world, the prospect of eliminating deafness would signify a loss rather than a gain.
The existence of sign language, deaf humour and rich artistic expressivity would all cease without the deaf community that gives life to them.
For this community, deafness is seen not so much as a dis-ability but rather an ability to converse in a unique language and enjoy the perks of living in a much quieter world. To them, deafness has many gifts.
I have known deaf artists say it is actually their deafness that enables them to be so successfully creative.
Deaf writers have expressed how it was their deafness that encouraged them to seek wider platforms for their ‘voice.’
Even I, as a dancer, have noticed how my sense of rhythm and musicality is stronger than most – and yes, I am deaf!
Countless deaf professionals have all said it is because of their deafness that they have succeeded and not despite of it. So without it, who would they be?
This is perhaps why charities that focus on ‘curing’ deafness are often shunned by the deaf community. Offering a cure, however well-meaning it may be, could be read as:
“You are not normal.
We want to fix you.”
By emphasising what is lacking or medically lost, is it any wonder the deaf community may feel inadequate when viewed from a medical perspective?
Yet as a friend of mine likes to point out, what is normal anyway?
Without our variations and differences the world would be a very uniform and uninspiring place.
Going back to question, to say that I would meet the offer of a cure with an immediate ‘no’ would be a lie. I was not born deaf; therefore I know exactly what I am missing. And even with all the perks of not hearing, there are times I really do miss music…
For myself I have concluded – should a cure ever be invented, much further consideration would have to be given. It’s simply not as easy as yes or no.
And so congratulations must be given to Mr Evans who, with his thought provoking and poignant film, has encouraged deaf people worldwide to seriously consider The Big Question…