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Deaf History: Northern Europe

  • By: Constance M. Dolecki
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Throughout early history, people who were deaf were thought of as inferior and somehow undeserving of equality and development. During the Middle Ages, many organizations were at a loss for what to do while others considered being deaf as a sign of God’s disfavor. As the Renaissance promoted discoveries in science and teaching, opinions began to change, especially if someone in power had a close relative who was deaf. While accommodations for the deaf have increased in Northern Europe since then, different regions have shown different rates of acceptance.

Medieval Times Through the Renaissance

In Medieval Europe, people who were deaf were treated as people who were less worthy than those who could hear. Being deaf was considered a medical and social problem that should be discussed ...

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