This article will unpack the consequences of the convergence between hearing aids and mobile phones. It deploys an analysis of the marketing of two hearing and communication apps from one start-up: a smartphone-based hearing test and a music app which tweaks users’ audio to accommodate their hearing profile. This article argues that both apps and the marketing for them can be seen as examples of biomediation. Rather than marketing hearing apps through biomedical categories to people who recognize themselves as disabled or “hearing impaired,” these apps are framed as personalizing music to fit a unique “earprint.” The article draws on two concepts used to understand this “disruption of the non-disabled/disabled binary” (Puar 2017, xvii, xviii): debility and diversity. Finally, the article offers a critical perspective on the political meanings of the term “diversity” and argues that the categorization of apps has important political consequences.
- digital health
- mobile media