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Deafnesses: reassessing the experiences of deaf-hearers

10 Juni 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

10 June 2022 @ 12:00-01:30 pm

Invited Brown-Bag Lunch Talk by Professor Stephanie Lloyd, Université Laval

Description of the Talk

“Impoverished” and “degraded” are common terms used in medical literature to describe the signals sent by cochlear implants (CIs). This language of lack is used despite their renown as one of the first true bionic devices, considered able to (re)create the sensory experience of hearing. This rhetoric positions hearing with CIs as simultaneously more than deafness and less than acoustic hearing, reflecting the ambiguous place of the devices in long-standing portrayals of deafness as a “sensory deficit.” These representations affect what hearing with CIs is thought to be, from neurobiological to experiential levels, each considered lacking compared to typical hearing. In contrast to these studies, the research I am initiating with interdisciplinary collaborators (many of whom are deaf) will examine what hearing with CIs is, rather than what it is not and how CI users (or past users) do and want to communicate with the world.

This presentation will outline our anticipated methods and approaches for this project that will bring together interdisciplinary expertise to reason across different data sets (e.g., narratives of sensory experiences with CIs, clinical profiles, neurophysiological data) to better understand deaf-hearing. Additionally, I will present anthropological research carried out to date on emerging understandings of hearing with CIs and how they have been influenced over time by unisensory approaches that have dominated many forms of rehabilitation, studies of multimodal sensory experiences, and emerging models grounded in signals (from those considered associated with socioeconomic status to executive functioning) that are recalibrating understandings of what it means to hear.


Stephanie Lloyd is Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Université Laval. As a medical anthropologist, her research examines the production of molecular models that attempt to correlate early experiences to behaviors and traits later in life. One of her research projects focuses on developing a new genealogy of deafness that can include hearing.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you there!


10 Juni 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm