An opinion essay by Sara Novic (CRF 2017) entitled “Don’t Fear a Deafer Planet” was recently published by the New York Times. Novic cites a 2021 report by the World Health Organization which predicts that by 2050, “unless measures like increased access to health care and noise protection are enacted, 2.5 billion people worldwide, or one in four people on Earth, will have some degree of hearing loss by 2050. Nearly 700 million of them will experience hearing loss ranging from moderate to profound, a 63 percent increase from today’s numbers.” In response to this probable future, Novic warns against “a purely curative focus [as mainstream society has historically taken when addressing the deaf community]… we should be attempting to eradicate the stigma that surrounds hearing loss… We should take a cultural approach that incorporates universal design, dismantles structural barriers, and includes deaf people from the ground up.” Widespread use of closed captioning and American Sign Language are some solutions. Read the full essay here.

Image: Alana Paterson for The New York Times