Editor’s note: The term “deaf” is used to describe those who were not born with hearing loss, but lost their hearing throughout their lives. The term “Deaf” refers to those who were born with complete hearing loss and grew up immersed in Deaf culture.
The Netflix original documentary “Deaf U” focuses on a group of deaf young adults as they face the adversities that stem from relationships and from hearing loss.
“Deaf U” was released Oct. 9 and was created by executive producer Nyle DiMarco, a deaf activist, model and actor.
The series follows students at Gallaudet University, a Washington, D.C., based private university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Students Dalton Taylor, Daequan Taylor, Renate Rose, Alexa Paulay-Simmons, Tessa Lewis, Rodney Burford and Cheyenna Clearbrook are documented over the course of a few months as their relationships and secrets with each other grow and intertwine.
Each of the students have various levels of hearing loss, some being born Deaf and having grown up immersed in Deaf culture while others experienced hearing loss later in life and had to adjust to the culture shock of Gallaudet University.
“Once I got into Gallaudet, it took me two years to learn ASL [American Sign Language],” Daequan Taylor said, in regards to his different deaf background. “I get to bring in a new deaf culture.”
Daequan Taylor’s history with hearing loss is highlighted in the first episode of the series, “My Left Ear Broke as Shit." After some medical problems with seizures in childhood, Taylor lost most of his hearing in his left ear.
Clearbrook is a name fans might recognize due to her large social media following. Clearbrook has over 57,000 followers on Instagram and 121,000 followers on YouTube. She commonly posts videos about fashion trends, makeup tips and Deaf-related content.
“Deaf U,” while it mostly emulates reality TV shows, also gives insight to deaf cultures and the stigmas surrounding those who don’t fit the Deaf standards. Those who weren’t born Deaf are more likely to face being seen as an outcast from the Deaf community.
Final verdict: 8/10