Hawkeye, Eternals, and the Impact of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Hawkeye, Eternals, and the Impact of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Hawkeye premiered on Disney(plus) on Wednesday, and fans have been eagerly anticipating the MCU’s next offering. The highly anticipated series not only continues the story of Clint BartonHawkeye (Jeremy Renner), one of the Avengers we’ve spent the least time with, but also introduces a beloved character, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), to the screen, and both fans and critics are praising the performances and Marvel’s return to street-level stories. Hawkeye, on the other hand, is thrilling for another reason. It’s the first time a hero in the MCU is shown with hearing aids. In addition, Maya LopezEcho, a deaf character, will appear in the series (Alaqua Cox). When you consider that the MCU’s most recent theatrical entry, Eternals, also featured a deaf hero, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), you have significant – albeit long overdue – representation for the deaf and hard of hearing community, and it’s representation that is more important and impactful than you might think.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 15% of adults in the United States aged 18 and up have hearing problems. That’s roughly 37.5 million people, and while that number includes anyone with a hearing problem, hearing aids might help around 28.8 million adults in the United States. Hearing loss in both ears affects one out of every eight people in the United States over the age of twelve. That’s a lot of folks who have a hearing problem. That’s a lot of individuals who can recognize themselves in Marvel’s deaf and hard-of-hearing heroes, but beyond that, deaf and hard-of-hearing representation also provides education and change. Since the debut of Eternals, there has been a surge in interest in learning sign language, as well as a rise in the use of open captions in theaters.

AMC Theatres stated earlier this year that open captions would be added to hundreds of their theaters across the United States. While open captions, which are akin to subtitles, are helpful for those with hearing impairments, they’re also valuable for people who don’t speak English as a first language. Furthermore, many people believe the availability of open captions to be a safety benefit, as there are sometimes concerns about aided listening devices being reused, something that isn’t… Brinkwire Summary Entertainment News

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