The Cine-Files » THE TINNITUS TROPE: ACOUSTIC TRAUMA IN NARRATIVE FILM.

How—if at all—do increasing or changing representations of acoustic trauma articulate with changing notions of nation, security, and warfare? Tinnitus is the top disability in American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and untold numbers of westerners have experienced it after terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid, London, and Boston. It does seem plausible that consequence-free cinematic explosions began to strain credulity (not to mention morality) after such attacks, even for those who have not directly experienced acoustic trauma. Tinnitus offers an economical representation of trauma in films that aspire to some level of realism and empathy—and in fact, researchers view tinnitus and PTSD as related. Could a nation’s trauma be sounding in the ears of its onscreen heroes?

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