April 22, 2022

Hearing Loss in the Spotlight at the Oscars

Hearing loss and the Deaf community took center stage at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. 2022. The movie ‘CODA’ was nominated for an won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The movie ‘CODA’ is about a normal hearing teenager whose parents are Deaf and how she navigates her dreams with supporting her family. The term CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adult(s) and refers to children who are hearing while their parents are Deaf. The lives of these children have generally not been portrayed on the big screen. About 90% of children born with a hearing loss are born to hearing parents while the rate of typically hearing children born to Deaf parents is less well known.

In addition to shining a spotlight on the Deaf community with its plot, two of the film’s main actors are Deaf. Troy Kotsur, who plays Frank Rossi, was born with hearing loss.  He and co-star, Marlee Matlin, who lost her hearing in childhood, use American Sign Language throughout the movie. Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his role. He was the first Deaf male actor to receive an Academy Award nomination, and second deaf actor/actress to receive a nomincation (after Marlee Matlin’s nomination and win for Best Actress in 1986).

Although there are many critics of the movie, the fact that hearing loss is being represented in Hollywood is a long time coming.

CODA has been released by Apple+ Streaming service.

“CODA” cast celebrate landmark wins at the 2022 Academy Awards. From left: Eugenio Derbez, Siân Heder, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones, Daniel Durant, and Amy Forsyth. (Google Images)

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