A Compelling Desire for Deafness

J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. Summer 2006;11(3):369-72. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enj043. Epub 2006 May 12.


A case is described of a patient who has a compelling and persistent desire to become deaf. She often kept cotton wool moistened with oil in her ears and was learning sign language. Living without sound appeared to be a severe form of avoidance behavior from hyperacusis and misophonia. She had a borderline personality disorder that was associated with a poor sense of self. Her desire to be deaf may be one aspect of gaining an identity for herself and to compensate for feeling like an alien and gaining acceptance in the Deaf community. Will a compelling desire for deafness ever become a recognized mental disorder one day for which hearing patients may be offered elective deafness after a period of assessment and living like a deaf person? Those working in the field of deafness should be aware that individuals may occasionally be seeking elective deafness or self-inflicting deafness to obtain a hearing aid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperacusis / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Sign Language
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Isolation / psychology