Cochlear Implants

Actually, the title is a wee bit misleading. I’m not actually here to talk about cochlear implants. Honestly, I don’t know enough about them to make a properly informed blog post. Instead, I’m here to talk about my recently learning about the cochlear implant controversy, and the fact that I found there to be a striking number of parallels between that controversy, and things the autism community is dealing or fearing for the future.

First of all, I can’t really give you an in-depth look at the controversy itself. The best I can do is a vague overview. I started here  and will be drawing heavily from this link for this post. I highly recommend that you read it yourself – it’s basically talking about the cochlear implant mess from the perspective of a deaf person. I first heard of this controversy when Nee told me about hearing something on slashdot. What he heard there was that there are claims that cochlear implants are “destroying the deaf community.” There was little else, but it did immediately make me think of the fears of an autism cure in the autism community. So I decided to look into it. What I found was disturbing.

There is fear mongering and ableism. “We have doctors telling new parents who just gave birth to a deaf baby that their baby is doomed–that she will never have a job, lead a normal life, etc. Despite the fact that 95% of deaf people often prove those doctors wrong on a regular basis everyday.”

There is the inspiration porn – all the videos depicting deafness as something tragic and life-destroying, but with a cochlear implant (or CI for short) this poor, broken person got to hear for the first time! How inspiring! *retch*

There’s the ignorance – people advocating for CIs without really understanding what’s involved, what the risks are, what the drawbacks are.

Worth mentioning – apparently none of these issues are making it into the discussions on CIs. Anyway, let’s talk about that last one for a bit. Again, I was certainly quite ignorant. It just wasn’t something I had thought about much. But then the article directed me here and I read the lengthy list of risks and drawbacks and WOW that’s sure never talked about in the inspiration porn videos. One that jumped out at me was MRIs – if you get an CI, no more MRIs for you ever, unless you get it surgically removed. Can you imagine? A central diagnostic procedure is just off the table for life.

Another one that jumped out at me was this one:
“An implant may

  • set off theft detection systems
  • set off metal detectors or other security systems
  • be affected by cellular phone users or other radio transmitters
  • have to be turned off during take offs and landings in aircraft
  • interact in unpredictable ways with other computer systems”

These are not small, easily mitigated risks! They are HUGE negative impacts on a person’s life! Nor are they temporary – these were described as “lifestyle changes” in the list of risks.

Yet despite all the risks and all the drawbacks, people push this “cure” on people who are deaf or hard of hearing, regardless of their actual need. It is treated like some kind of magical panacea, but it is not. It is not a cure – it is unlikely to allow a deaf person to hear the same as a hearing person. It takes a year or more to fully learn to use. It has different degrees of effectiveness on different people. It might not work at all, and in rare cases the attempt can actually destroy what little hearing a person had. It it is quite likely the right answer for some subset of the deaf population, but it is being pushed on EVERYONE, regardless of if it is the right answer for them or not.

The big thing, though, is that the deaf community is facing, RIGHT NOW, what we in the autism community fear happening in the future. The parallels are evident and unavoidable. Honestly, I think we should find a way to get involved. Let’s not say “it’s not us, so it’s not our problem.” Let’s not sit back and let a population of ableist, inspiration-porning people think that it’s ok to shove people towards massive life-changing decisions that may or may not be the best choice for them. Let’s not just turn our backs on another group whose difference is condescendingly treated as some kind of tragic disability by the population at large. Let’s not just sit by and allow a dangerous precedent to be set by fear-mongering doctors and well-meaning but ignorant friends and family members. Right this minute I don’t actually know what we can do, but at the very least we can make some noise. This is me, standing up and saying “this is not ok.”

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “Cochlear Implants

  1. I want to give you a huge hug for writing this. I am autistic and I am hearing. I am part of the Autistic community and only on the peripherals of the Deaf community as I try to become fluent in ASL and learn as much as I can about Deaf culture. Though my biology puts me in one group and not in the other, I firmly believe that our two communities have a ton to gain from each other. The Deaf community has made huge strides against ableism specific to their disability, as well as strides against ableism more broadly! I hardly need to list off the amazing things happening in the Autistic community, despite our community being considerably less well known and respected by fewer professionals.

    A huge part of why I wanted to be a speech pathologist was to increase respect for alternative means of communication, and that very much includes respect for signed languages and Deaf culture, parallel to respect for Autistic culture, and the cultures that form around many types of disability. I wanted to be the kind of speech pathologist who could work with teaching Deaf people to speak by coaching them through their own language, a manual language most suited to their plastic neurology, and who would only work with Deaf people who actually wanted to learn speech.

    When I decided to drop out of my program, it was mostly because of the abhorrent attitudes toward autistic children and the pervasive disability porn. But even when I had made the plan to leave at the end of the semester official, I continued going to classes and doing assignments, just to finish things out on good terms with the school.

    One morning we had a guest lecturer in my pediatrics class – the class that most offended me as an autistic person. The lecturer was the speech pathologist who worked pediatric inpatient at the hospital, working exclusively with children receiving cochlear implants.

    She was an amazing woman – brilliant, talented, passionate…and what she had to say was sickening. She spoke with such certainty about the importance that these children get the implants, that she would not work with the families if they opted to go the “sign language route,” that if they did get an implant no one around them – therapists, doctors, parents…no one – was permitted to use any gesture or sign language at any time with them. Why? Because at that young age the brain is so plastic it will become exceptionally responsive to whatever information it receives the easiest. Since it will most easily interpret visual and tactile information, it must be stripped of any visual or tactile information for communication, and presented only with audible speech.

    Of course, we had all learned a great deal about the plasticity of the brain in our neuro classes, and we all knew that the audio cortex could not physically ever interpret speech as communication as well as the visual cortex could interpret sign as communication. We knew that there is a window for that plasticity, when it is imperative to teach a native language. And yet somehow it was unanimously agreed upon that the only ethically acceptable option was to provide these children with a speech-only diet of communication for the entire window their brain had to develop a native language. As in, these children whose brains are built for every kind of sensation but sound are deprived of the opportunity to truly become fluent in the language they will almost certainly be most receptive to.

    This is completely unacceptable and outright disgusting. I can’t say that choosing sign over a cochlear is the right choice for every single deaf infant ever – it probably isn’t! But the therapy processes that accompany a CI are physically damaging to the brain. They are, in my opinion, the most revolting type of child abuse.

    I left that lecture at the break and never spoke to any of my professors or advisors again. I won’t be a part of that.

    • Kris

      You are wrong. Teaching a deaf child to talk and listen does NOT damage their brain. Teaching those children to talk and listen is what the CI therapy is and you cannot call that abuse and most certainly cannot say it’s the worst form of child abuse ever. Really? I’ve heard of worst things happening to children than teaching them to speak and listen. You are believing what you want to believe but it’s simply not based on fact or science.

      • I didn’t say that teaching a deaf child speech damages their brain. If I did, it was very much poor phrasing on my part.

        However, a cochlear implant does not magically give a deaf person fully functional hearing. The limitations of the technology (at least at this point in time) are such that the primary auditory cortex and even moreso the areas of the brain devoted to speech processing, physically cannot develop to the extent that the corresponding gyri of a hearing child’s brain can. Further, adults who were born hearing and became deaf later in life have described speech with an implant to be similar to “a Dalek with laryngitis.” Notably, CIs are notoriously poor at picking up nuanced speech signals, such as variations in pitch, tone, and volume. Having access to these pragmatic aspects of spoken language are critical to early development, and are a big part of why autistic people – even those of us with near perfect hearing like me – often experience delays or deficits in aural/oral language development.

        In the first two years of development (and to a lesser extent the next four to six years), the language processing areas of the brain (primarily Wernicke’s area, though Broca’s area is also involved, as well as several areas of the temporal lobe in the right hemisphere which aid in pragmatic development, and parts of the pre-frontal cortex which affect speech and language planning and execution), are incredibly – really astoundingly – plastic. Where they will never be able to gain full function of auditory processing in a Deaf child, they are capable of acquiring communication methods in other modalities (usually visual, like signed languages) as fast as a hearing child develops spoken language skills. Many studies suggest that language milestones in Deaf children learning ASL or other signed languages are typically achieved much sooner than their hearing counterparts achieve their verbal milestones, though there is not enough evidence yet on that front to make any broad assertions, only suggestions for further study.

        When you provide a deaf child (with a CI) with auditory only input – which is what CI therapy does, going so far as to even remove speechreading visual cues as the therapist deliberately sits behind the child so that his/her mouth is not visible – their language development is severely limited as it cannot access the visual/tactile/proprioceptive information it requires to fully form.

        The implant itself does not damage the brain (at least, not if the surgery goes well), but depriving the brain of visual input as it learns to process language in the critical period/sensitive period of language development is dangerous, limits communication skills, and yes, is abusive.

        If you have a different opinion on what is abuse, what is trauma, what is unethical…fine. You’re entitled to feel differently.

        You know what is definitely NOT abusive? NOT traumatic? NOT unethical? A parent using their abled body to learn another language in the modality that their child will be most receptive to, that will provide them with the biggest chance of success, that will not teach them they were born broken, and will not deprive them of the rich culture of the Deaf community.

        • “When you provide a deaf child (with a CI) with auditory only input – which is what CI therapy does, going so far as to even remove speechreading visual cues as the therapist deliberately sits behind the child so that his/her mouth is not visible – their language development is severely limited as it cannot access the visual/tactile/proprioceptive information it requires to fully form.”

          Interesting. That’s the first time I’ve ever read this, and certainly contrary to the myriad experiences of age-appropriate language / speech skills at early ages.

          Do you have any sort of scholarly articles to back this up?

          Also, I assume you’re talking about AVT, but there’s really no such thing as “CI therapy.” There are multiple different methodologies which vary significantly.

          “You know what is definitely NOT abusive? NOT traumatic? NOT unethical? A parent using their abled body to learn another language in the modality that their child will be most receptive to”

          So – skip the language that 99% of the language uses because there’s a learning curve? These kids aren’t “abused.”

          “that will provide them with the biggest chance of success,”

          Success in what? The ability to make a living? Reading comprehension levels?

          “that will not teach them they were born broken”

          CIs and oral language are no more about teaching kids they were broken than ASL is. They’re all communicative TOOLS used for a part of the population that doesn’t have the ability to perceive sound like the majority does.

          “and will not deprive them of the rich culture of the Deaf community.”

          And what of the richness of the hearing community? For a parent who wants to give their child access to as much as they possibly can, the fact that the Deaf community is rich is unfortunately only relevant because certain sects within it are repeating the mistakes of the anti-hearing aid movement and rejecting CI recipients. Luckily this crowd is slowly thinning out and will continue to do so as CIs become an increasingly popular tool. It’ll be very interesting to see how the militant members of the community respond when the actual biological treatments start becoming available in the next ten / fifteen years.

    • Samantha

      I truly can’t believe the incorrect statements here. You say “This is completely unacceptable and outright disgusting. I can’t say that choosing sign over a cochlear is the right choice for every single deaf infant ever – it probably isn’t! But the therapy processes that accompany a CI are physically damaging to the brain. They are, in my opinion, the most revolting type of child abuse.” What do you know about the therapy process? My sons were older when they received their CIs (they both were teens) and within 3 months they were scoring 98% on word recognition tests. Both play music and have very clear speech which anyone would take as an indication of what they’re hearing. CIs do sound odd at first but both quickly got used to the way they sound. Both boys asked for their second implant. That sounds like child abuse, doesn’t it? Really – don’t comment on something you don’t know anything about.

      • Well, I do know quite a bit about it as I have taken part in it as the therapist before decided what I was doing went against my values and interacted with members of the Deaf community who expressed points I had never considered, and continued studying the neurology of communication and solidified my convictions.

        Again, I will clarify that the CI is not what I was calling abusive. The therapy involved when you implant an infant or toddler is abusive as it stunts language development by depriving Wernicke’s area of input from the visual cortex. When you receive an implant post-lingually (whether your native language is sign or a spoken language) your brain has already had the chance to develop expressive and receptive communication, and the neuroplasticity of your brain is less of a concern. I’m thrilled that your children are succeeding with their CIs and that it was the right choice for them. That does not make it appropriate to provide hearing parents of deaf newborns with information on CIs/other implants and mainstreaming techniques without also providing unbiased information on the benefits of teaching a signed language first, and integrating into the Deaf community.

        • Samantha

          What I don’t understand is why they need to integrate into the Deaf community. Make no mistake – no methodology is perfect for everyone. But if I adopted a child from Sweden, I’d expect to raise them with my language and while learning Swedish would be nice, I don’t think it’s essential for that child. Same for the Deaf community. We had no clue that both our boys would have hearing loss. When we did learn, we set out to learn everything we could about all methodologies. We didn’t know anyone who signed and had our boys learned, they would have only signed with each other and us. Both are young men in college now and neither feels any need to be part of Deaf culture. Both got very good merit money to attend a college that does a great job with deaf/hoh kids but they wanted no part of that. What IS interesting is that some of their best friends, particularly my younger son, are other kids with cochlear implants. I know many many children and young adults who were implanted as babies or toddlers and most are doing extremely well. They are where they should be by the time they are in preschool with language – receptive and expressive. And as important, they have friends and are part of their communities. I’d like to see scientific literature that’s peer reviewed stating what you say. Speaking for myself and for others who have become close friends through this journey, saying implanting and the therapy afterwards is child abuse is just plain insulting. Are you a neuroscientist? An SLP? A ToD? I’m curious about your credentials.

          • I don’t think it really matters what my credentials are, seeing as I could be the surgeon general and what I say would be just as insulting. I’m sorry to have insulted you, but what I’m really sorry about is the kind of response this post – not mine, the original post – is getting. The author wrote an articulate and open-minded piece expressing her concerns at the parallels between the CI/Deaf struggle of ethics/values/beliefs and the Autism/Autistic communities full on war (although those are my words, not hers of course).

            My response – the first one on the page, you’ll notice – was not intended to attack and insult. I didn’t call social services. I intended to show support for a post that really hit home for me. That this has now been spread among people who feel very positively about CIs is not really my concern. I’m not interested in changing your mind. I’m interesting in showing support for someone who expresses something very close to how I feel.

            I’m sorry that this expressed her opinions without hatred, without insult, without cruelty, but with concern and openness…and is being assaulted with comment after comment filled with hatred, insults, and cruelty.

            If you doubt what I said about brain plasticity and language development, that’s my fault for not being clear, and for not citing sources. I’m afraid, however, that I’m done with this. The author of this blog meant no harm, and every comment I add is putting fuel on the fire. Not at all what I had intended.

            Andraya – if you’re still reading this, I’m sorry if I caused you distress either directly or indirectly. My intention was to support you, but I did not do that well. Please feel free to delete or edit any of my comments to better represent the kind of message you were trying to spread with this post. You were not militant or inappropriate, and I am very very sorry if my comments have inaccurately represented you.

            • Samantha

              Oh hmmm – no credentials or none that you’ll share. Okay – got it. No – you won’t sway me because your information is not correct. And not being able to back up what you’re saying with any sort of scientific research means what you’re saying has no validity. If you care to provide references, I truly would love to see them.

            • Hey. Actually, I really appreciate the support. I suppose I should have seen this coming – if I post about a controversy, of course the controversy is going to show up and shout at me.

              However, some of the comments have confused me. Like the questions about where I got my information and I’m so misinformed – if they had read the post, they’d know. I got my information from the website of the FDA. The link is right there. If they consider it wrong, they should take it up with the FDA.

              Mostly, though, I feel like they are responding as though I said that CIs are bad, and that saddens me. I was not trying to say that at all, and I worry that my post was unclear. I was, however, saying that inspiration porn is bad (and I know it exists – I’ve seen it), fear mongering is bad (I’m just trusting my source here), and treating difference and brokenness is bad (I know that happens to, as I’ve seen it).

              All this hate is definitely a bit wearing.

  2. tam

    Please talk to families who have made this decision who have acknowledged and accepted the lifestyle choice that comes with accepting a CI for their children which incorporates hospital stays , medical intervention but who also embrace their children’s deaf identity and sign with them, actively encourage interaction with deaf peers and role models before you comment and demand an uprising! Some of us are forging a path that is difficult to travel with lots of second guessing and soul searching. I wouldn’t dream of judging your intervention choices so please walk a mile in the shoes of a parent of a deaf child before blogging more!

  3. You are right, you are absolutely not well informed enough to write this blog post. You should have ended after that sentence.

  4. Jules

    As a cochlear implant user I can inform you that your comments are 100% wrong and so absurd its almost funny. I can have an MRI and have never set off alarms! If you ever had a child that was born blind but could see with an implant but had to do it within the first year of life, I’m sure you would want to give him that chance. It seems you have fallen for the Deaf radicals worried about their inevitable loss of members. You should be ashamed you didnt do more research.

  5. Greg

    We are all exponential dumber for having read that piece…

  6. Greg

    Exponentially…

  7. Wow! All I can say is ….wow. I’m pretty sure my IQ just dropped 10 points after reading your blog. My daughter is bilaterally implanted and I am by no means trying to cure her. I wanted to give her access to the world of sound. She does not set off alarms at stores nor the airport. She has gone through multiple medical detectors and none have sounded. Also she can have an MRI if it has to be done. You act like not being able to have an MRI is the end of the world. There are other imaging procedures that she can utilize if the need arise. Your stupidity with this blog post is astounding. I suggest you do a little more research into cochlear implants before you go and run your mouth about something you know little about.

  8. Danielle Austin

    If you have to start a blog post stating how ignorant and uneducated you are about a subject, that should be your first clue not to write it. I am a proud mother of a CI child who is 3 and received his first CI at just 5 1/2 months old (gasp…shocking for you to wrap your ignorant mind around, I’m sure). Your statement about 95% succeeding is also wrong. According to the latest GAO report, 92% of kids are getting implanted. A new dawn is upon us and thank God for that!!! You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading such untruths and I can only hope that anyone going through the CI process that is unfortunate enough to stumble across your ridiculous blog post will take the time to read some comments from those of us going through this. And by the way, it took my son less than a week to learn to use:respond to his CI…and he has a southern accent…doesn’t sound like some programmed robot…another shocker for you, I am sure. I think what I’m most upset about is that I let your ignorance upset me enough to even justify a Response to your foolishness because quite frankly, your post is so outlandish, it’s not deserving of a thoughtful and educated response.

  9. ashy

    Are you serious? Firstly you admit to not knowing enough about cochlear implants yet you continue with a load of untrue statements!! Switching off ci on takeoff and landing? Untrue. No more mris? Untrue. Setting off alarms? Untrue. I could go on. Where do ou get your information?
    What a load of bulls**t you write!!!

  10. Beth

    You seem like a person who likes to research so please research more and edit your comments as most of them are not true. I am not sure where you live but i live in the UK and when I was told that my 6 week old baby was severely deaf the doctors did not tell me he was doomed, or that he could not have a normal life or normal job, they were never negative about his deafness and offered hearing aids as in the UK every deaf child I know has been offered hearing aids not cochlear implants and CI are only offered when hearing aids give the child no useful hearing, for my son hearing aids have given him good hearing levels but for many of his deaf friends hearing aids did not give them any useful hearing and then their parents were offered the option of CI. The parents of these deaf children then have an extremely difficult choice to make, they know and understand the risks of CI but also know that is an option that will give their child the possibility to hear and learn speech and probably make it easier for the child to have a ‘normal’ life and a ‘normal’ job. Please understand these children are profoundly deaf, which means in most cases they literally can hear nothing. The parents that choose for their children to have CI are not saying that being deaf is not good enough, they are hopefully not trying to change who their child is, they are simply giving their child technology that will hopefully make their life easier and give them a chance to have access to the hearing community as well as the Deaf community. The children who have CI, and children like my son with hearing aids, will always be deaf and I have never felt that was a negative thing and have never been sad that he is deaf, but I feel happy and sure of my decision to give him the technology of hearing aids to let him hear voices and help life be a little easier for him, I am so glad I had that option and that CI weren’t his only option for hearing and I respect those parents that have made the difficult decision to give their children the technology of CIs as the only option to give their children some hearing.

    • In the US, there are still many places, doctors, audiologists, etc, who warn against using ASL with deaf children. There are still many who the CI doesn’t work for, even implanted early, even with a tremendous amount of therapy, devoted parents, doing “everything right” for success. But there are also many children who do fantastic with them. There are many adults who do wonderfully with them as well (myself included in this). But it is still exhausting to hear (at least for me) and a CI is not 100%, there is still quite a bit that is missed. ASL fills in those gaps for me, and allows me to be a part of BOTH worlds, as well as be a bridge between the two.

  11. Samantha

    OMG – just no. If you don’t understand something, don’t try to write about it. My children both have bilateral cochlear implants and it’s opened up worlds for them. My older son’s speech is so clear that he auditioned for a play, landed the role, and about 3 weeks after starting rehearsals the director discovered he was deaf. My younger son is a pre-med major. Possible without CIs? Maybe but infinitely easier and smoother with. I truly can’t believe you posted given you obviously know nothing about it. And please don’t think I’m anti-Deaf culture – I’m not at all. This is what worked for them. Hmmm – I think I’ll go post about aspergers (knowing very little about it) and then perhaps you’ll see how we feel. Way to go with promoting ignorance.

  12. Mel McMullen

    Not only is this destructive to the lives of our children , it’s incorrect ! You do not have to take your processor off on take off or landing , it does not interfere with phone or computer! There are many more points to be said on this issue . Our children / adults do not need this kind of report, look at the amazing good this CI has fine for our community. Why do the CI users have to continually fight to be heard or listen to this kind of rott! Proud mum of a independent fully integrated , talking intelligent 12 year old! By the way A grades too- don’t think it damaged his brain !

  13. people are able to learn more than one language, in more than one form. People can be fluent in ASL as well as spoken language. There doesn’t need to be a one or the other philosophy, people can (and do) have both.

  14. Cyndi

    As the mother of a child who is 14 and just decided himself to become bilaterally implanted (first implant at the age of 3), you really should not write about what you lack knowledge of.
    When I was first told my child was deaf I was not looking for a “cure”, there isn’t one. Even though my child is implanted he is still deaf and always will be. An hour after I was told I was in the nearest book store and bought every sign language book they had. I was not told that day or even for months about the cochlear implant. Once I was told about them I researched and even watched the surgery online and this was 11 years ago. I talked to people in the deaf community, it’s not necessarily that they oppose CI’s it’s that some oppose the fact that hearing parents of deaf children believe that it’s a cure, it’s not. Two that they can’t be bothered to learn sign language, might be true for some parents but not all. Three that the deaf child will not be accepted, not true in this case either. My husband and I also had decided that when our son was old enough he could choose whether to wear the processor or not. As you can tell this year at the age of 14 he came to us and asked for the second implant..This time he did the research, watched the surgery and the ENT told him the risks, which trust me were not the same as you thought. As I was writing this he came in and asked what I was doing, when I told him he laughed and said that most of the things you wrote were stupid. He is a honor roll student who excels in science and math, signs fluently and is oral and lip reads. He knows that CI’s are not a “cure” for being deaf, he considers them a tool much like glasses for people who have poor vision. Not the only tool as he uses sign and lip reading as well.
    Even though I have quite a few friends with children on the Autism specter I would not ever feel qualified to speak about what they choose to do or not do for their children.

  15. Lisa

    If you were diagnosed with Aspergers as a baby, and you have the opportunity to reverse it by let’s say brain surgery and therapy through pre-school, with your parent’s consent, in hope to give you a better life. Would you agree with that? That is exactly what all parents do, give their child the best opportunity to a better life. However how life changing that is. If you have children, you will feel that way. But after reading your post, I hope you never ever have kids.

  16. Daremonai

    I think if nothing else, this thread demonstrates one of the reasons the autistic community so dreads this same type of discussion happening for it down the road.

    What I see here is the classic disconnect between abnormal adults and normal parents with abnormal children, and the hostility that can form there, with the recurring unpleasant tint of the privileged throwing their weight around.

    Parents generally want to do what is best for their children, but CI does represent a permeant, life altering, generally irreversible change and does carry with it both short and long term risks. These can not simply be ignored.

    • A Cochlear Implant is not irreversible. They can be taken out. They are life altering, but this is 99.9% for the better. I’ve had mine now for 21 years with no long term risk and my life is better for it.

    • proudmum

      I certainly don’t consider my deaf son ‘abnormal’. Like many other parents of children with CIs who have commented, I am horrified and sadded by the igorance and sheer carelessness of the author. My decision to go ahead with implantation was not made lightly and was based on what I felt in my heart was the right decision for my child. He is the only person I owe an explanation to one day for that decision, and I am comforable with that. Other parents may take different approaches and after going through the decision making process myself I would never presume to judge or comment on their choice. I am staggered at the ignorance, arrogane and lack of empathy the author shows by doing just that.

  17. “set off theft detection systems
    set off metal detectors or other security systems
    be affected by cellular phone users or other radio transmitters
    have to be turned off during take offs and landings in aircraft
    interact in unpredictable ways with other computer systems”

    You must have been talking to someone against CI’s. This is misinformation in it’s worst form. I have a Cochlear Implant I travel the world, it doesn’t have to be turned off during take offs/landings. It doesn’t interact in unpredictable ways with other computers systems (You’d have heard a lot about this if this were true as there’s thousands of people with implants now). My older implant used to set of theft detection systems – so I used to have a bit of fun walking in and out of shops! The newer implants don’t do this.

    Finally – it’s the media and Deaf Culture that seem to think the CIs are a being sold as a cure – but certainly not the people who have one, not the parents, and nor do the doctors think this way.

    You would be best to listen to both sides of the story before writing about something like this.

    Finally – the Deaf World needs an attitude shift. If they want to make sure their culture doesn’t die out, they need to be more welcoming to those with Cochlear Implants, accept that they are here to stay, and some cochlear implantees may even check the Deaf Community out, and stay because they realise that being amongst people that understand deafness is advantageous. Having a Cochlear Implant should not mean they should be excluded. It’s just another hearing aid when normal hearing aids can no longer work.

    In NZ where I am from, there are many people in the Deaf community who have Cochlear Implants and love them. I am one of them – serving on the Board of Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand.

  18. Sparkal Curran

    Well let me begin by saying that everyone has an opinion and that I am fine with. What I’m not ok with is the “ignorance” in which people want to voice these opinions. First I have a child with bilateral (which means both sides left and right) as not to be misunderstood when reading this comment. My child was born with normal hearing and had began spoken language when at 17 months old she lost her hearing due to a combination of illness and medication. Now as a hearing parent with hearing children my search to restore her hearing became my mission not because I am prejudice to the deaf community but because my child was now in a once loud and active world to silence and confused on what happened to her world as she knew it. I am a registered nurse and read all the info on CI. My decision was made and she was implanted a decision I never regretted. You see my daughter was hearing during my pregnancy with my last baby and she heard the heartbeat at appts and knew that we were having a new baby then suddenly her world was silenced. During that time I gave birth and my daughter could not hear this baby she had been able to hear on the monitor before. On the day of activation or what you refer to as “inspirational porn” my daughter was able to hear her baby sister cry and was able to her myself and my husband say I Love You again. She is an active kid in mainstream school plays basketball and softball (thanks to CI hears instructions in the field and in the classroom) she receives excellent grades. She uses computers and cellphones (with no interference or other issues) we have been through security systems with no issues. It is with this I would like to add that because people choose to judge decisions people make is the reason why people are looked at as “different”. If I would choose to have corrective glasses in order to see does this make me an ignorant person because I am changing the way in which I see? I think once a person endures something personally it is only then that certain things and the way in which they are said need to be reconsidered.

  19. maria

    everyone is different. most parents deal with their child’s deafness as does the child… in their own way. I never had any doctor or audiologist tell me that my child needed anything. they gave me all the facts and i made my own decision. it doesn’t matter what you think when it pertains to my child and my opinion shouldn’t matter to you. these are personal choices. if you are happy the way that you are no matter hearing or not, that is all that matters.