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Cochlear Hearing Implants

Poll Results: Would you get the Cochlear implant for your deaf child?

  • 45% (9)
    Yes, but I would make sure they knew sign language as well
  • 10% (2)
    Yes, but would not have tehm learn to sign
  • 45% (9)
    No, being deaf is not a handicap that needs correction
  • 0% (0)
20 Total Votes  
post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Last night I saw a show on PBS about the Cochlear Hearing Implant for the deaf. It can enables young children to develope near normal hearing and speech, although the older a person is when they get the implant, the less clear they are able to hear and speak.

I found this story so interesting, and liked that they showed so many opinions from both deaf and hearing families and relatives.

Here is the site for Cochlear Implants:

Here is the PBS story, it was called "Sound and Fury" :

The little girl on the first page was 4 1/2 at the time the story was taped. She received her implant at 2 1/2. She is in a school for children with the implant and she speaks so clearly. They do not use sign language in this school, even though without the implant the children are deaf. Are these children being denied their deaf culture?
post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 
I voted yes.

If I gave birth to a child who was deaf, I would want the implant done as soon as possible, because the earlier you get it done the better they learn to develope hearing and speech. BUT , I would also want my child in a school for the deaf, so they could learn to sign. I would want my child to earn a excellent education, and be bi-ligual. IMO, sign language is just as useful as knowing spanish or french
post #3 of 29
I voted no. What I've learned about Cochlear is that getting them invloves a huge risk to any hearing you may have. I don't feel I can make that decision for my child; it is one they could make at a certain age.

I have taken ASL I and will take ASL II this fall. What I have learned about deaf culture is fascinating and the deaf surely don't want to be known by "disabled".
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Oh no, I didn't not mean to imply that deaf people are disabled, I don't feel that way at all. I consider sign language another language just like spanish. I would want my child to be bi-lingual, ya know. But I understand your feelings .
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
That is one reason I am glad we are teaching Kailey a little sign language, maybe it will stick with her.

My MIL says it is affecting her speach, but to me she IS speaking, just not with words yet.
post #6 of 29
I wasn't implying you meant that.

But the whole idea of something being so terribly, terribly wrong about deaf that it must be "fixed" at any cost.....................that attitude is hard for the deaf.

I know I will be quite in the minority.............
post #7 of 29


This is Brain Surgery intended to FIX kids/people who aren't broken!!!! To help those poor *&^&%*^()*$# lazy parents who don't want to deal with Deafness, ASL or a 2nd culture. (Not an overgeneralization, over 90% of all parents with Deaf children DO NOT sign ) IF the child has any residual hearing, it is lost after surgery, never to be regained ~ the surgery fails, then what?? They are left completely DEAF without language nor culture. The machine does not give them the ability to hear, it brings in sounds and the brain needs to learn to "interpret" these sounds, then express themselves in a way they cannot hear nor understand. It is painful, overwhelming and much, much worse than learning to communicate physically!
Whew! okay... I have been involved in the Deaf Community since I was 10, very proficient at ASL (began interpreting at 16), lots of experience with people of all ages, various levels of hearing, signing, & cultural involvement. My kids sign well, we socialize regularly with adults and children who are Deaf. Would I want to FIX any of them?? NO Do any of them *want* to be fixed? NO Do they want to be hearing? NO, not most of them (I wish to be Deaf more than they wish to be Hearing!) Would they give their right arm to have a family who signed/communicated? YES

I love watching my kids sit with Brian (Deaf) watching Fantasia and explaining to him what the music is, how the cartoon represents the music, using signs and dance to get their point across ... Hannah has begun to interpret what she sees going on, Hayden signs in his sleep.

Sorry, this whole ding dang issue just freaks me out!! Too close to be objective ... As with everything else medical in my life, I think EVERY avenue should be explored before resorting to BRAIN SURGERY (did I mention this is brain surgery?!?! and ELECTIVE brain surgery at that ) to fix something that is in *no way* broken...

Going to the Deaf Biker Party now... will be back with more feedback!
post #8 of 29
ditto hahamommy's post, she said it all perfectly

hardware inside yr skull???
post #9 of 29
Please please PLEEASE no one jump down my throat, I really want to understand this.

I don't know if cochlear implants are a cure; I just don't know enough about them. But if a magic pill could be given to a deaf baby that allowed them to hear, is anyone here against a parent doing that?

Also, hahahmommy, I am really confused by your anger...

This is Brain Surgery intended to FIX kids/people who aren't broken!!!! To help those poor *&^&%*^()*$# lazy parents who don't want to deal with Deafness, ASL or a 2nd culture.
I can understand not agreeing with cochlear implants because it carries risks, but it sounds like you despise the parents for wanting to help their child hear at all. Deafness isn't life threatening but the potential is there, isn't it? The world is full of sounds meant to inform and protect us. Do you really think these parents are doing this for themselves? I find that really, really hard to believe.

post #10 of 29
I am much calmer now after a few hours of signing, even being mistaken as Deaf (quite an honor! ).

My anger comes from years and years and years of working with children who have parents who WILL NOT communicate with them. They have hands and brains, just as capable as I of learning a second language, not to chat with friends or earn a living, but to *raise their child*. These parents are unfortunately misled my the lastest *fad* from the HEARING experts on deafness. This implant being the most recent *cure*

ASL is a rich and beautiful language, a visual conceptual *language* and with that language comes a vibrant living culture, why would these parents want to deprive their child of this??? Why would they not want to be part of it themselves? I have yet to see a Deaf adult advocating for Cochlear Implants, OTOH I have met many implanted adults who refuse to wear their gear and instead accept, live with and thrive being Deaf. I've seen kids struggle to become more "hearing" for their parents (who won't learn to sign proficiently), they work and work and work to pronounce words they will never themselves hear, I've dealt with kids who could not concentrate on the task at hand because of the background noises over-amplified by their hearing aids. Hard of hearing people are a different category, I've a very good friend who is functionally hearing, beautiful speech, with her amplification equipment and completely DEAF without it, she's got a foot in each world and it's been a struggle for her. (completely different discussion)

Yes, safety is an issue, but visual cues are everywhere. We have many more senses to help us compensate for the loss of one, there are also devices available for special circumstances (i.e. baby monitors that flash).

Babies learn to sign before they are physically able to speak; ASL is considered the native language of every baby born Deaf.

As far as I'm concerned this is a violation beyond circumcision, you are entering someone's BRAIN without their understanding nor consent. Again, if these parents have spoken with Deaf Adults about their lives, if they discussed Deafness with the *true* experts, I don't mind their decision ... but to alter someones brain, without *any* long term documentation of the damage this could cause ~ yeah, I take issue with these parents! But when their Deaf child crosses my path, you can rest assured they will be communicated to with love, acceptance and respect from ME.
post #11 of 29
And yes, I think this is sold to parents for *their own benefit*
post #12 of 29
Just curious hahamommy, would you feel the same way re: a blind child and a retinal implant? Why or why not?
post #13 of 29
Hahamommy, I respect that you have years of experience with parents of deaf children. It sounds like a lot of it was very frustrating.

I still do not quite understand whether you are against curing deafness at all, or just want more a effective treatment than what the cochlear implant offers.

Do you see invasive surgery to correct deafness as different from invasive surgery to correct a club foot or cleft palate? What I mean to say is, do you think all birth defects should be left untreated, or only those that are not life threatening, or only deafness?

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

No one said it was a cure. Even with the implant a deaf child is still deaf. And NO ONE said they should not be involved with the deaf culture, I for one stated that I would only get the implant IF she would learn about her deaf cultrue as well, and learn to sign proficiently.

BUT, I think being bi-or multi lingual is very important as well. I want my children to have the best possible chances to do anything they choose, and for a deaf child to be able to hear, understand, and communicate with the hearing world is just as important as developing, and keeping the ties with the deaf community.

The show also interviewed deaf parents who deaf daughter receeived the implant and she LOVES it! Even though she rececived it as an older child and doesn't hear everything perfectly she still LOVES it. So explain that family.

I think it would be a added benefit for a deaf child. It does not 'complete' them, because they are already whole, but it ADDS to the possibilities for them.

On the flipside, deafness is not a normal human trait. Humans have two ears with two ear drums made for hearing. Being born without, or losing hearing is not 'normal'. It maybe common, but not normal.

ANyway, I DO NOT feel this way as I have said before. I believe sign language to be another language and deaf people to have just another culture
post #15 of 29

My best friend got a CI when she was around 10....all she heard was static.....

I learned Sign Language when I met her in elementry school....that has been the only "second language" that I have been able to pick up. I think that had Sarah not been deaf I would not have been so drawn to her, I would have missed out on a wonderful friend and an opportunity to learn a beautiful language.

her parents learned enough sign to "get by"....I know more than they do.

I spent a week at the Oregon School For The Deaf....none of the students knew I was hearing until I told them. There was an assembly while I was there on Poetry through sign language.....and one of the poems was about the CI....it was described as beeping, buzzing and general interference in someone's brain. It made it hard to think and function. After the poetry (which by the way was BEAUTIFUL) we had a long discussion about CI.....all the students I had talked to said that they would NEVER want one, and would never do that to their kids......I agree that sometimes parents are soooo lazy about taking the time and energy to learn sign language....it is very sad for the kids.

If I ever had a deaf child, I don't really know if I would send them to deaf school or not, I have seen the culture (from a student's pov) and .....I just don't know. I would try to make my child's life as "normal" as possible, I think the one thing my friend hates the most is people treating her as if she is "special" or different

post #16 of 29
First, CI cannot be compared to retinal transplant ~ we have studies done showing long term effects of such drastic surgery; and secondly, Deafness and Blindness (or other "disabilities") cannot be compared~ Deafness comes with it's own Language and Culture, much different than a physical abnormality. Let's look back on American History to find our success in curing those who don't fit with our language or culture, namely our indigenous people ... to Cure the the Heathens, the *experts* (White Catholics) wanted to *help* these pooooor peoples: 1~ take away their language + 2~ take away their culture and rites = an entire group of people with NOTHING! They're still not White (as the child will never be Hearing) and they're still not truly Indian (as the child will never be Deaf) (d=physical deafness, D=cultural deafness). Whooo hooo, we've got some great success there folks!!!!
Look at the timeline for this invasion:
Average age of diagnosis: 18 months, unless mom and dad are signing from birth, that is already an 18 month delay in language aquisition
Acceptance period for parents: 1-2 years, well past the critical first three years
THEN they get sucker punched by a doctor who, though well intended, sends the message this kid needs to be fixed. Because the CI is so overwhelming (it is not AT ALL like hearing the way we do) the doc tells parents NOT to learn to sign, NOT to sign with the kid (they will become dependant; on their native language , the child *must* focus on learning to interpret the signals sent to the brain and how to convey those messages into spoken language (that sounds much different than the signals sent by the CI contraption)...We're talking MAJOR delays in Language, which results in??? nothing good!!! My advice to the parents would be to allow the child to acuire their native language, try it out yourself, there is no such thing as a FIX for this situation. Again if it was BY, FOR and ABOUT Deaf people, there would be no issue for us to discuss. It really is about the parents, the family, the Hearing people who want status quo. It's NOT about the kid who can't hear.

I spoke with a Deaf couple last night (he was genetically deaf and she was deaf from childhood illness), they have a grandson who has been diagnosed as hearing impaired... their dd is hearing, for her NO BIG DEAL! She already knows his language, has role models in her life for her DS to emulate and communicate with. Certainly it is easier for those of us who are already bi-lingual to be in that situation, but truly it is a matter of working as hard on accepting your child as you do in trying to fix them. Is that so much to ask of a parent?? I don't think so..

PS anyone heard the news about the FIRST Deaf Ob/Gyn? She's doing her residency in Rochester, NY
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
cannot be compared~ Deafness comes with it's own Language and Culture, much different than a physical abnormality
They certainly can be compared. Blindness comes with its own WRITTEN language, called brail. There are blind actors, artists, and musicians. They can look at you with their hands, and have other things that are a part of THEIR culture.

So yes blindness and deafness can be compared. Can youo answer the question now? Please.
post #18 of 29
it's my understanding that braille is a rendering of the alphabet in ....bumps? sorry can't think of a better term... so what you feel is the same as what is spoken or written in the alphabet

sign language is a different language, not english (or whatever other language) rendered into signs, it has it's own grammar and logic

here is australia a language called signed english was invented supposedly so deaf people could learn it and then be using the same language to sign as what they were reading - it didn't work, it was cumbersome and not the same as auslan (australian sign language), so it was abandoned - deaf people preferred their own language
post #19 of 29
Well, I see no difference between the deaf culture and the culture surrounding any other differently abled person. I don't understand how anyone can 'rate' one condition as more "meaningful" than any other!

In our hearts I think all parents wish for perfectly healthy children, and I really don't think it is normal to be indifferent to finding out your child is deaf. Hearing is a tremendous part of the human experience and I don't think it is wrong for parents to feel devestated when finding out their baby won't ever hear, or possible ever speak.

I think there are parents who cannot accept news of any kind of birth defect or illness or different condition of their baby, but I don't think that is the majority, or unique to the parents of the deaf. Also, there are many conditions for which doctors encourage parents to lead a child away from their natural impulses in order to overcome the inherent limitations common with the child's condition (CP kids often need loads of therapy to help them walk, Down's Syndrome children often need lots of speech therapy, and autistic children need constant help with social skills etc.).

Just my 2c...

post #20 of 29

Why all the anger??

I really don't get all the anger around this subject. : I don't think it's laziness that would motivate parents to get a CI for a deaf child at all, but rather a desire to do what they believe is best for their child.

As a hearing person, I would for sure look into it for my child -- since I know next to nothing about it, I can't say I would positively do it. But I would want my child to experience the beauty of sound. Likewise, if I had a blind child, I would investigate any treatment that would restore his/her sight. And I would also want that child to have the best education possible to be able to reach his/her fullest potential, despite the disability -- and I don't see how it isn't a disability to be deaf or blind, since *by definition* it means that a part of the body doesn't work. This doesn't mean I think that deaf or blind people are incompetant morons, just that their ears or eyes are unable to function.

I saw the documentary you mentioned, and I was struck by how much the deaf people wanted to live in their own insular community. I have no idea if that is typical or a biased representation on the part of the filmmakers since I admit to knowing next to nothing about the subject. But I would want my child to have as many tools as I could give to enable him to live wherever in the world -- and in whichever world -- he wanted.
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