The deaf and hard of hearing community was thrilled to see hearing technology, in a sneak clip that was released from the much loved Pixar movie series.
The last time we saw hearing technology featured in a Pixar animated movie was in the movie “UP.”
It was a brief scene, but the main character, an elderly man named Carl Fredricksen, turns off his hearing aid to mute the talking of another character. This scene, however, portrays a common misconception that hearing aids are devices for the elderly.
By showcasing a cochlear implant on a child in the new film “Toy Story 4,” Pixar shows viewers that children also have hearing loss and wear hearing technology. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Through representation from large media companies such as Pixar, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, deaf children will see that their hearing loss doesn’t make them an outcast from an abled world, but rather reflects the diversity that exists in the real world.
Phonak employee, Alice Alkins, explains why this representation is so important.
“One of the key challenges in our industry is the low uptake of hearing aids for those who need them,” says Alkins. “A major factor in this is the stigma around it, and the inclusion shown by Pixar in this film is an important step towards normalizing hearing loss and hearing aids. It’s exciting to see this positive move from such an influential company like Pixar.”
We look forward to seeing which companies will follow Pixar’s footsteps.
Have you seen other movies with hearing aids or cochlear implants featured? Let us know in the comments.