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How did actor Daniel Durant become deaf?

Daniel Durant is in season 31 of “Dancing With the Stars” along with professional dancer Britt Stewart. The “CODA” actor follows in the footsteps of deaf participants from the past, Nyle DiMarco and Marlee Matlin.

The 32-year-old was born deaf, the child of two deaf parents, in Minnesota, according to the New York Times. The exhaust revealed that his mother had left him with a neighbor, who eventually contacted his father. He was eventually adopted by his paternal aunt in Duluth, Minnesota.

His aunt was the first to introduce Durant to American Sign Language.

“He attended mainstream schools in Duluth before transferring to the Minnesota State School for the Deaf in 8th grade,” a press release said. “Daniel graduated from MSAD in 2008 and attended RIT in Rochester, NY and Gallaudet in Washington, DC.”

Durant is no stranger to the stage or screen. According to Disney+, he has appeared in numerous productions for the Deaf West Theater in Los Angeles, California. He also appeared in season 3 of Netflix’s “You”, returning as the character James.

But perhaps most notably, Durant starred in the Oscar-winning film “CODA.” In the film, he plays the main character’s brother.

He spoke about the challenges of having deaf actors on set. “There are already so many challenges. [Deafness] isn’t going to make a huge difference,” Durant told The Hollywood Reporter. “I do not want” [filmmakers] to think that we are this extra burden. We are not deaf actors. We’re just actors, period.”

Although he cannot hear, Durant is no stranger to turning the music up.

“I am completely deaf. I don’t hear anything at all, but I love to feel the vibration through my body,” explained Durant on the show “The Kelly Clarkson.”

As NPR explained, as a child he asked his mother to turn up the volume while driving to football games.

“Sometimes I’d ask my mom, ‘Can you turn it up so I can feel the bass?’ And my mother said, ‘Yes,’ but we struggled to hear it,’ he explained. “So my mom went ahead and bought a new sound system, and I loved it. You could feel the bass. It was so strong. The windows shook. It felt so good.”

According to NPR, there was one time as a child when he “turned on the sound system” while waiting in the car.

“I loved it. I felt the car vibrate. I had so much fun,” he explained, adding that a passerby even rolled down his window and looked at him.

He continued: “I just imagined him having to say, ‘Wow, you’ve got such a beautiful system, playing a great song.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ And I started dancing to him and another person stopped. It was a woman, same thing. I pointed at her and kept dancing.”

But, as his mother revealed when she returned, he wasn’t listening to music, he was listening to NPR.

Season 31 of “Dancing With the Stars” will premiere live on Disney+ at 8 p.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Pacific Times.

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