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It’s different…

April 2nd, 2008 by | Tags: , , | 34 Comments »

I saw the comments and debate on the “Sweet Nothing in My Ear” website, and I’d like to share comments that I appreciated as these people feel the same way as I do. We value sounds very much. We understand how important sounds are to us because we experience living with sounds. I feel that deaf people who never experienced sounds do not have the right to judge that it’s OK to live without sounds because they never experienced sounds and thus, they can’t form educated opinions that sounds are worthless. To be on the fair side, hearing people who never experienced deafness don’t have the right to judge that deaf people don’t mind living without sounds and that many can lead a good life as hearing people were never in their shoes. What’s interesting, though, is that people with CIs can experience both senses – hearing and deafness and make the choice which one is better for their lives. When we, CI users, say that we enjoy hearing the sounds of music in concerts and parties, sound effects and dialogues in movies, cheerleaders chanting, etc, we’re not bragging that “we can do more than what deaf people can do.” We’re just showing our preferences that we prefer sound over silence. If we truly enjoy and value the sounds and prefer it over silence, why is it wrong to talk about it? It’s just a personal choice that we have, and we choose our preferences based on our experiences. However, we can’t tell people that they should feel this way because of our experiences. Their experiences can be different.

Children who grew up or are growing up with CIs are living a very different experience from the children who were raised as oralists without CIs before the CI days. We’re living with a technology that is more powerful than hearing aids as it enables us to discriminate speech clearly if we are provided with the appropriate therapy, good audiologists, and good parental involvement. Just simply asking to provide ASL to all deaf children is not the solution. There can be parents who are not so involved with their children’s lives by not taking enough ASL courses or not even learning ASL at all or who could just sit in the ASL class and not be so motivated to learn ASL. There are parents who could not spend much time teaching their children ASL. Finally, some parents may not have the accessibility to learn ASL. The key thing to the success of deaf children is parental involvement and other people such as surgeons and audiologists and others who help deaf children through the growing process, not just simply asking all deaf children to be provided with ASL.

Here are some example of comments that show that just simply providing ASL is not the way to go:

“My son also has auditory neuropathy. I am also a teacher of the deaf with 17 years of teaching under my belt. I had been teaching deaf kids for 9 years when my son was born. I agree with MOM OF A CI CHILD….why would you deny your child something that can help them. You cannot wait for the child to get older and decide themselves, they will not get as much benefit. Again as MOM OF A CHI CHILD said, would you deny them glasses to correct their vision or surgery to correct it. would you deny them a prosthesis if they were missing a limb.
IT IS A PERSONAL CHOICE and if a parent decides NOT to implant then THAT IS THEIR DECISION and I won’t try to change their minds. I also won’t judge them so don’t judge us that chose to implant.
My son is in 2nd grade and doing wonderfully. He hears down to 5 dB with his processors. I do still sign to him when his processors are off as HE IS DEAF! I am fortunate that I knew sign prior to his birth. I had a head start. If a parent makes a choice NOT to implant and sign, then PLEASE immerse yourself in deaf culture and learn sign language. Most of the parents I deal with of my high school kids are not proficient signers and their children suffer for it.
We worked hard in therapy and my son KISSES HIS CI processors every night and says he loves them!”

“Deaf make it sound like it so easy to find courses or ways to learn ASL. I cannot tell you how hard I have tried to find ASL courses. I have taken ASL 1 and 2; and have signed up 3 times for ASL 3 only to have it canceled all three times. I could go to another college to take ASL; but it would mean driving over an hour each way and giving up my day job to take classes. Because I am a teacher and I support my deaf child, I cannot afford to give up my day job. I even volunteer, when I can at my child’s deaf school, in part so my ASL skills will improve but still it is not enough to keep up with my daughter’s growing ASL skills. So the deaf adults who make it sound so easy to learn ASL need to “hear” from a hearing person, very willing to learn, that it is NOT easy to do. (I won’t even get into how hard it is to learn another language at my age!!!) IF you want hearing parents of deaf children to learn ASL, then ASL needs to become more accessible. and cut us some slack, too. I paid full tuition at a local college to take ASL 2, but the deaf instructor did not allow me to take it for credit because I had not taken ASL 1…. despite the fact, that I could ace the entrance quiz better than the kids who took ASL 1. So I lost a couple hundred dollars that I needed to support my child and could’ve used the college credit to move up on the pay scale. But because I wanted so desparately to learn more ASL for my child, I agreed – to only audit the course. I thought this was very unfair.
And for the record, my daughter has a CI, likes it very much and also uses ASL.”

Here are other comments that I appreciate as we share and understand each other’s points of view:

” Whew! I thought I had missed this movie and was searching to see when it would air again. From what I gather Marlee Matlin has NOT done or said anything to lose her integrity in the Deaf community. I, on the other hand, have lost mine because I am a proud consumer of bilateral cochlea implants! The cochlea implant, is a prescription device that relieves me symptoms of deafness an X number of hours per day. It did NOT cure my deafness. I’m still Deaf. I’ve had exceptional success with my cochlea implants. I love being able HEAR! There is nothing the Deaf community could offer me to compare with being able to hear telephone conversations, music, a child’s voice, radio, television and conversation in general. I praise My Lord Jesus daily for enabling mankind the technology to make my life in this hearing world a whole lot easier. Thank YOU Jesus! Amen.”

“I think the reason the deaf community is so against CI’s is lack of knowledge. Like previous posters have said if your child needed glasses would you not get him glasses? If your child needed surgery would you not provide the surgery? I have triplet boys and only one is deaf. At his 6 month post implant evaluation he had already caught up to his brothers for his understanding of language. I live with proof the CI works every day in my house. I watch my son interact wtih his brothers and laugh when they make funny noises at him. I hear him say “love you” each night before bed. These things would not be possible without his CI’s. I think the deaf community should become more educated before accusing hearing parents of doing horrible things to our children. We love our kids and only want the best for them. Letting them wait to decide for themselves is letting the most IMPORTANT time pass by. My son will be two on Sunday and you know what? I can’t WAIT to sing Happy Birthday to him because I know he will hear my voice.”

“I am a proud mom of three wonderful children.Youngest born deaf who hears with the miracles of cochlear implants. I wold never tell another parent that this is the way for everyone. But it was the RIGHT choice for us. I am ashamed to read such misinformation still being told about cochlear implants….they are NOT weapons. !!!GIVE ME A BREAK…first please educate yourself on the facts before you speak and prepetuate these lies…yes there are risks with surgery. But there is also risk with getting out of your front door. FOR us giving our daughter the opportunity to hear has given her the ability to communicate with the majority of the population. She can both sign and speak…but without a cochlear implant…she woule never have been able to do the so many things people take for granted. As listenning to a bird…dancing to a song…singing…i coul go on and on. I have an open mind and will watch this movie I wish for everyone here to have the same attitude instead of bashing the choice of a parent deciding o implant a child!”

“As I type this, I am listening to my 2nd grader play her newest piano piece, quite beautifully. My first grader is reviewing for more standaridized testing tomorrow…Both of my little angels were born profoundly deaf. They have Auditory Neuropathy and are both bilaterally cochlear implanted. We thank God for giving humanity the ability to create technology to help our daughters. As the only CI girls in their all-girl school, they have, since long ago, surprised all of us with their ability and tenacity. I, too, can’t wait to see this movie. We, as parents, know that CI’s have ripped off the roof of what their limits are – who knows?? We are totally happy with our choice for them. Maybe someone will make a movie about how great Auditory Verbal Therapy is : ) Each parent has to make this decision for their own child. Yes, this movie will spark controversy. It already has!!! Look at the comments! Bless you all…”

” I do find the premise of this movie to be intriguing since CIs – despite the immense success – still are viewed by the majority of the OLDER deaf community as “wrong.” It is unfortunate that those of that opinion will be left behind as the younger deaf children mainstream into society not needed ASL, cueing, lip reading, etc.

These people are making judgment calls based on THEIR OWN life experience. Just because ASL, cueing and lip reading were “good enough” for you, others are making decisions about what is best for them – especially in the kids.I find it remarkable that the debate is still continuing. Waiting until your child can make his decision as adult to be implanted is medically unrealistic – the auditory nerve needs to be stimulated ASAP and not allowed to atrophy. If your only exposure to CIs is through deaf adults who rec’d them later in life, then you do have a skewed view of what the implant can and does do early in a person’s life.

Put simply, if your child is myopic, are you going to send him to a school for the blind and learn braille versus having his vision corrected with glasses/contacts/lasix etc. If your child is born without a foot, are you not going to explore you options for prosthesis so that he can walk and run. If your child suffers an traumatic accident resulting in paraplegia, are you going to say no to any surgery that may restore his ability to be independent?

I feel so strongly about the amazing results from CIs in these kids that I personally feel it is child abuse not to afford your child the opportunity to hear – EVE

If you chose to not in another 5-10 years, the younger deaf children aided by this wonderful technology will pretty much”

” I’m hoping this movie will show the truths about CI’s and not just add fuel to the fire in the deaf vs CI controversy. Just because we chose CI’s for our child, does not mean we are in denial about his hearing loss. He is still a deaf child. Yes we made the choice – because we are the parents and he is a child. There is no waiting to let him decide – it will be too late then . He would never get the full potential of the CI. On the other hand, by getting it now, he will have a choice. When he gets older, if he decides he wants to live in the deaf community, all he has to do is stop wearing the external part. And, for others who have posted, yes they do work!! And no, they do not cause brain damage. This was not a decision forced on us by doctors but something we researched for a long time. We talked with kids and adults with CI’s and they all said they would do it again. We don’t tell you how to raise your children and would appreciate the same courtesy. As for bringing God into this, Thank GOD!! He gave the doctors the knowledge to develop them!!”

” I have recently lost my hearing at the age of 33 to causes unknown. I am anxiously awaiting my surgery date for a cochlear implant. I do not think this is a way out. It will take time and therapy for me to be able to talk to my family and children again. I know from experience that when you lose your hearing you feel isolated and withdraw from your family and friends. It is very different than being born deaf. I believe God gave us medicine and technology to help us and he gives us a choice whether we want to use it. No one should judge others on their decision!”

“can’t believe you would not want to try anything/everything available in order to hear the cooing of your baby, the thunder of a waterfall, the crash of waves along the coast, the laughter of children at play, the soft patter of rain against your window, the crack of thunder during a storm, the howling of the wind, the sweet whisper of your child, the bleat of a goat, the mooing of a cow, the swish of skiis on a mountain of snow, a song dancing in the night, the roar of a plane overhead, the hiss of a steam engine, your loved one saying “I love you”etc. And what about hearing the spoken word? All these emails prove you have never heard the english language spoken correctly because your sentences are not written correctly. A child ending up deaf because of a disease or lack of oxygen at birth is not the work of God…he would not take something away from a being he has already created in his likeness.”


dog food

April 2, 2008 at 12:19 pm

beautiful post. thanks for sharing.

April 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Hi Rachel,
The one comment you put in bold from the woman who couldn’t find a level three ASL class could have been written by me. I could add so much more. Bottom line– It is practically impossible to learn ASL adequately without Deaf support. If the Deaf want to promote ASL to the public, the late-deafened, and Hearing parents of Deaf children, then THEY need to support us in our efforts to learn — which they aren’t right now.

dog food

April 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm


are you shifting the blame for your lack of ASL skills? Please don’t accuse the “deaf community” for this fact and rather, ask where you can find more current information. If anything, you can ask why oralism and AVT was more readily available.

me and my mother learned exclusively from videotapes. we grew up on an island so there was only so few ASL users. There are more than 1 way to learn ASL.

dog food

April 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm


I forgot to mention a few ways you can improve your ASL; deaf camps, conventions, events are one way to do it. visit your deaf friends, subscribe to NAD, check out, visit Deaf Professional Happy Hour, local colleges, local community center, deaf schools (wealth of info), some churches (we do have deaf pastors scattered across the country). to name a few. After meeting people and going to DPHH, you’ll find older folks and many who would love to have you over for dinner, go to an event, find out where the next gatherings are (deaf coffee chat, other bars where deafies congregate, special groups, outings, clubs). I must stress, there are so many deaf clubs; its just hard to find them sometimes.

What i notice is that the “ASL lifestyle” requires us to travel often to see people. Its a fact of life. Enjoy :)

Keep on being curious! :)


April 2, 2008 at 7:05 pm


I sympathize with you – it can be hard to find ASL classes, but its not really the “deaf community”‘s fault – there just not that many qualified teachers to go around and not all universities offer ASL. I don’t see how the university’s choice to not offer a lot of ASL classes are the “deaf community’s” fault

like others have mentioned, there are different ways. If you have the money, you could hire someone to come teach you.

April 2, 2008 at 7:20 pm

“I feel that deaf people who never experienced sounds do not have the right to judge that it’s OK to live without sounds because they never experienced sounds and thus, they can’t form educated opinions that sounds are worthless.”

This is crap Rachel. We have hearing people who don’t know or udnerstand the first thing about deafness, telling us what we are missing out on. THEY DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO INSINUATE THAT WE ARE MISSING OUT. NEITHER DO YOU for that matter.

Deaf people have already proven you don’t need sound to enjoy life, have a fulfilling life, or even be part of a world wide community.

It’s all very well to make your choices and follow them through, but even you, in your analysis, still don’t get the sanctimonious crap that is dished out towards us.

Don’t tell me you do, because you don’t. You are as guilty of judgemantalism that you accuse deafies of being.

You still can’t get it right – deaf is different to Deaf. Get the capitalisation right at least.


April 2, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Ummm, Tony, did you read the following sentence: “To be on the fair side, hearing people who never experienced deafness don’t have the right to judge that deaf people don’t mind living without sounds and that many can lead a good life as hearing people were never in their shoes.”


April 2, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Hi dog food! Thanks!

I saw in another comment section that you’re planning to get an implant soon. Do you mind my asking what made your decision to get a CI?

April 2, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Fair point. Did not see that following sentence, so egg on my face. But, you, and many others, still have a tendency to frame deafness as a “disability” as opposed to a difference in being.

The examples you provided in this post, do not to prove your point that ASL [or sign language is not the way to go. or whatever point you are trying to prove].

The problem is not, and never was deafness itself, but our society’s response to and handling of deafness!

April 2, 2008 at 9:48 pm

One last point, just because you can switch off th implant, or I can switch off my hearing aids, only makes me deaf in the physical sense as can’t hear. It does not make you Deaf in the cultural sense!

I wish people would UNDERSTAND this point!

April 2, 2008 at 9:49 pm

So in effect, we have no more in common, nor do we share any more than when you have your implants or my hearing aids switched on.


April 2, 2008 at 10:11 pm

“frame deafness as a “disability” as opposed to a difference in being.” – Let’s just say that it’s deaf people’s own personal choice on how they want to define themselves, disability or “a difference in being.” I choose to define my deafness as a disability mainly because when I turn my CIs off, I feel that it is limiting my certain abilities in life. However, saying that I feel that being deaf is a disability does not mean that I am ashamed of being deaf. I’m very happy who I am, and I certainly can’t imagine what my life would be like if I was not deaf as I feel that my deafness made me a unique person. If you prefer to define your deafness as “a difference in being,” that’s no problem as it’s your personal choice.

“So in effect, we have no more in common, nor do we share any more than when you have your implants or my hearing aids switched on.”

Hearing ands CIs are two completely different technologies. Some of my friends who grew up with HAs and then got CIs later in life tell me often that from their experiences living with both HAs and CIs, they cannot compare these two devices, and they’re both very different. Here’s a blog of a friend of mine who grew up with HAs and the oral approach and then received his CI at 19. In his blog, he speaks about his experiences living with HAs and CIs and the differences between these two devices. –


April 2, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Here’s a little snippet from my friend’s blog about the differences he personally noticed between HAs and CIs -

“My implant does continue to get better. Before I received my implant, my experience of being around people was vastly different than it is now. Now, when I walk through a crowd of people (like when I’m walking across campus to class), I can actually hear and understand snippets of conversations around me. Words cannot describe how surreal it is for me to walk past a girl on her cell phone and – without even trying – actually hear what her describing how she just spent the entire day studying in the library. While I certainly am not trying to hear what these people are saying, I am finally coming to a point where I just can’t help but hear certain things at certain times. Sometimes I just have to stop, look around, and say, now who just said that?! and then ,of course, congratulate myself on being able to hear it!

Even when I am driving my car at night with a passenger in the front seat, I can now actually carry on a conversation WHILE looking at the road in front of me (as opposed to looking at the passenger’s lips). While I am unable to ‘hear without looking’ 100% of the time, my ability to do so has improved dramatically in the last few months!

It is a struggle for me sometimes to recognize that my capacity to hear has increased so dramatically. I have gotten so used to not being able to hear in certain situations that I have gotten to the point where I’ve pretty much given up to the idea that I won’t be able to hear so I might as well not even try. However, I am now able to hear/understand well in many situations that I was unable to before, and even now I find that I have to remind myself that I can hear and I need to try and pay attention because I’ll probably be able to understand it now. For example, I have never been able to hear the lyrics on the radio well, but occasionally now when I really concentrate, I’ll be able to make out a few of the lines. This was near to impossible before I got my implant, and although it is still difficult now, it is clearly better. I have to remind myself when I hear a new song that I can actually attempt to listen for the words without the aid of written lyrics. The same goes for watching TV. I have gotten so used to having the captioning on that I feel like I can’t watch a TV program without some sort of captioning. However, I watched a program the other day without closed captioning and could actually understand some (not all) of what was being said.”


April 2, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I agree with Tony about the assumption that we’ve lived without sound, so we’re defining it for others is pure crap. I have a lot of hearing, and yes, I can understand how hearing enhances things. I can’t live without my iPod, I enjoy closing my eyes and listening to people talk, et cetera. BUT I don’t think those things are important nor necessary to live a full, productive, and happy life. And I’m not the only one. Many of us understand your perspective far more than you give us credit for. We simply disagree with it.


April 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm


If you personally feel fine living without hearing, that’s not a problem as that’s your personal feelings.

Everybody has the right to choose whether they prefer to live with hearing or not.

dog food

April 3, 2008 at 3:52 am

Hello Rachel,

Why did i wanted Implants? Mainly because I believe that I can benefit from it. I am culturally Deaf, have my community (hence the need for the moniker; “dog food”), and find myself yearning to reach out to the spoken language community.

I also desire the attitude that the world in general has towards those with implants. Frequently, I’ll watch those with implants being picked out of a crowd of deaf people and watch them explain to curious hearing people how their machine worked/didn’t work for them. Yet still, the attitude is different and more than anything, much less sympathy and more empathy. As well, each curious hearing person will open up to this Deaf person who at least tried to meet them half-way.

Indeed, I imagine myself in their shoes; what if the whole world was Deaf and I should find myself at a rare school full of hearing people? Of course, i’d be curious about those kids that use an implant to learn sign language and feel some kind of rapport simply because the kid may be a lot closer along the communication gap due to a machine’s aid.

There’s no question about it; our world is ruled by those who can hear and communicates in spoken language. I am willing to arm myself with their weapons, their tools, and add to this equation of that which makes me unique to use to my advantage.

Imagine the eye of a Deaf person, and the honed ears that connects a starving mind. Imagine the confidence of knowing a conversation and being able to say the right things at the right time. The implant could be the sick horse that I ride in on with me as the rider fueled by a rabid and ravaging desire to overcome, flourish, and command my position as a man in society.

dog food

April 3, 2008 at 4:03 am

Tony and Observer:

I don’t think you or others give Rachel enough credit either. I notice she is learning and her posts are more politically correct since her emergence in the blogosphere. I applaud her for that; for putting up with commenter without moderating and her efforts to opening her mind from where she continues to grow from.

All we can do is keep learning from each other for we are resources in each of our own emotive ways.

April 3, 2008 at 4:04 am

Rachel, a couple of things.

First of all, you miss the point of my references to hearing aids and implants. As I understand, they both can be switched off. What I was saying was even though u can switch either off, doesn’t make you Deaf, deaf yes, Deaf no!

Because you were using the term deaf to mean everyone with a “hearing loss”.

Secondly, I would never tell you what you should be doing with your life. You’re old enough to decide that for yourself, and you obviously are doing that, forging your own path. That’s a good thing. That’s summat we should all be given the opportunity to do.

Thirdly, you, yourself make an assumption about hearing aids and cochlear implants. That I can easily refute.

Earlier in this post, you said: “What’s interesting, though, is that people with CIs can experience both senses – hearing and deafness and make the choice which one is better for their lives.” Now really Rachel. I get very good use out of my hearing aids, and am quite aware of the differences between sounds and silence and can quite comfortably make a similar choice as you. Should I so desire.

In fact, my sound awareness is so high [for a deaf person], that I could produce music should I so desire. I am writing a rock opera and a musical, and I know how they should sound. I’m aware of how environment influences sound. I can articulate sound set ups, tempos, settings, et al.

By all means talk about your experiences, but stop putting CI’s on a pedestal. For all their usefulness for some people, I don’t put hearing aids on a pedestal. That is really irksome.

One of me mates has the implants, and he is going for his second, so he can be bi-lateral. It hasn’t changed how I feel about him, though I’ve had to give him a few corrections in his perceptions and experiences about behaviour and culture [and the dangers of confusing the two]. Other than that, we place things in perspective. Deaf and hearing is neither here nor there. It just is.

And a historical perspective. While the technology has changed, the modus operandi hasn’t. The goal of oralism is aural communication, speech and assimilation into the hearing world. That has remained a constant. The implant allows oralism to do today, what it couldn’t do a 100 years ago.

I suppose the one thing I have learnt since starting on the road to deafhood, is, as I said before, deaf and hearing is neither hear or there. It just is. This allows us to be who we are without the pressures of an aural environment. Those of us who have useful hearing, and those of us who don’t, can still share and exchange experiences, without feeling threatened. Though, the qualifier is the fact that most of us, in the kind of environment I speak of, can sign.

This is the greater leveller. Sign.


April 3, 2008 at 12:19 pm

It’s interesting how you define disability – I think you lie somewhere between my two definitions:

definition #1: being unable to do something that ‘most’ people can (no value judgment) so one needs assistance in certian situations

definition #2: being truly unable to participate in major life activities (a socially marginalizing viewpoint).

I think (hope) most Deaf folks are proponents of the first definition because it’s value-neutral. I can understand how ‘most’ people subscribe to the second definition. If a person has lived most of their lives with sound, it’s hard to imagine being without.

A tidbit – I got my CI at 7, so I hope I have a balanced view. I really do think being able to experience sound (however, i do realize that the sound that I hear is a poor imitation of what hearing people hear), does make life EASIER. Better? Not really, but easier. It’s nice being able to order food without fuss, get things done more quickly. However, i have Deaf friends who don’t speak or hear, and they do just fine. Although everyday things can be more difficult. However I think that’s an important distinction – better versus easier.

Open-minded Deaf person

April 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I won’t criticize the issue of cochlear implant since I am not a subject of cochlear implant. Only people with cochlear implant can either give feedback or criticize it. But with experience of associating with people with cochelar implant or researching information of good and bad sides of cochelar implant, people without cochelar implant can justify the case. Hence, parents of cochlear implanted children are foremost people without cochlear implant to voice about it.

Since I am Deaf using ASL as I grew up at residential school for the deaf and graduated from Gallaudet University, I have to admit that there are times that I am frustrated for being Deaf because I lack my oral skills as I am coping lot of barriers especially communication or job opportunity because lot of jobs require good oral skills especially using phone. I am so tired of having to depend on paper/pen and paper to communicate people who lack knowledge on sign language.

I am hearing more positive side of people with cochlear implant since they are able to use spoken language fluently just like hearing people and they don’t have to depend on interpreters while I rely on interpreters. Thus, it has to do with my disability since I lack an ability to convey the spoken language. But I don’t feel disability when I associate people who use ASL fluently.

If technology of cochlear implant occurs during my time I enter the world, I know that I will have cochlear implant since I belong to a majority group of deaf people since I come from hearing parents.

As a teacher at small state supported school for the deaf, it is sad to note that I am glad that my children are hearing so I don’t have to move to another place where there are sufficient number of deaf students at school. Now if my children are deaf, will they get cochlear implant? I cannot answer that because it is not happening. Thank God and I pray that my children will not lose their hearing since I know that they will have so much unlimited opportunity out there when they finish school.

While I took deaf culture course, Dr. Yerker Anderson, a noted Deaf sociologist, was a guest speaker and he told the class that a futurist told him that deaf culture would diminish in the future.

Now it is becoming more reality as I am not sure if I am recalling correctly but I just learned that Sweden government are footing bills on cochlear implant surgery for deaf children. In the past, it was Sweden law that parents of deaf babies/children are referred to the deaf communities that advocate sign language.

If people with cochlear implant are happy for what they are, these matter me the most since if they are happy, then I am happy. If they are sad, I will feel bad. So I have to say that people who criticize about cochelar implant are truly deniers or another better word, narrowed-minded whiners.

It is waste of energy, money and time for people to go Deaf Bilingual Coalition convention to harass AGB people. I say AGB people without cochelar implant truly care for betterment of deaf children with cochelar implant or oral skills who have better opportunity than deaf children without cochlear implant due to job market where the world is run dominately by spoken language. For people who advocate DBC, don’t you find anything more exciting than just being so obsessed with your disagreement with the agendas of AGB. Cochlear implant are here to stay and it is sad to note that the deaf culture is becoming smaller and smaller.

So I am a dying breed of Deaf people and I accept the fact as I want betterment for deaf children than what I have been through in my life since I wish I have oral skills due so I have lot of choice to make. I don’t blame for parents who choose cochlear implant surgery for their deaf children.

April 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Open-Minded Deaf Person

I understand where you are coming from, and in spite of appearances, I also understand where Rachel is coming from.

I too get frustrated with the world, and the way things are. But the problem is bot deafness itself, but how the world deals with it.

Just like the problem of sexism is not women, but a patriarchal society. The problems are never gonna go away, while it is we who have to do the changing and the accommodating.

But the sad fact, is yes, we in the minority have to be more accommodating. More energy is expended in creating solutions to help us make the adjustments, rather than vice versa. Or even coming to some sort of equilibrium.

Sure, I have it easier in many ways cos I can speak well, and have a lot of useful hearing. That helps me pave my way.

But doesn’t it also engender some responsibility to create awareness and create a space for Deaf people to be Deaf people, without the pressures of an aural environment?

The world is big enough for everybody. Why are we rushing like lemmings to be like everybody? In spite of what humans say, they don’t really appreciate diversity.

I hope I never see the day when sign language and Deaf people cease to exist.

dog food

April 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Open-minded Deaf person;

Wow, what a beautiful comment…

that made my day.


April 4, 2008 at 4:49 am

Both Open-minded Deaf Person and Tony Nicholas are pointing to what many d/Deaf people want in their own lives or for their deaf children: to have equal opportunities, better choices in an environment dominated by spoken language and yet have a “place of their own”, to be d/Deaf without the pressures of the hearing world. That would be our utopia indeed, but very few d/Deaf individuals if any actually achieve that kind of ideal, balanced life.

It is a fact that some d/Deaf are “underemployed”, working jobs that don’t utilize their intelligence, all because they don’t have the speech skills required to retain higher positions with better pay. Even for those d/Deaf who have some residual hearing and speech skills, it’s still an uphill battle to confront the conceptions and prejudices that many hearing people have toward deafness. For many hearing people, I’m often the first deaf person they’ve encountered in their lives which take hearing for granted. The “unknown” factor creates fear, nervousness, and ignorance and also conjures all kinds of wives’ tales and/or rumors heard before.

For many d/Deaf individuals, it is also hard to create “home”, where a d/Deaf person can feel at ease in his own skin and feel accepted as he is and not some Hearing wannabe with a fake smile. Home is Deaf culture for some Deaf individuals, or is one’s own adopted family of deaf friends and deaf family members. Something to be said for a kind of genuineness in a world that demands so much conformity from a minority.

In the end, many d/Deaf individuals are on the mostly giving end of the communication process, not the other way around as so many hearing people presume with “available accommodations”. LOL We’re the ones who have to request accommodation, for interpreter services or communication equipment. We’re the ones doing the lipreading and the speech therapy to accommodate the hearing world. We’re the ones who wear hearing technology to accommodate…ad nauseum. We meet the hearing more than halfway, believe me. It can wear a d/Deaf person down at times, especially if you’ve lived as long as I have. But the differentness of deafness makes one tougher and distinct from the usual majority, which is the hearing world.

Karen Mayes

April 4, 2008 at 6:51 am

It is nice seeing constructive dialogue going on here on this posting.

Open-minded Deaf Person, yes, I am seeing the similiar path the Deaf Culture is heading and I am doing my best in letting my deaf children know that there are more opportunities offered outside the Deaf Culture and that they could always be part of the Deaf Culture, they should keep an open mind to what the hearing community offers, even we may not agree always.

Open-minded Deaf person

April 4, 2008 at 8:41 am

To Dog Food,

My wife and I often talk about being dogs while at our family reunions or any social events without any ASL people since we would often be left out after getting short greetings. Prior to the events, we would say “Let get ready to be dogs” in ASL. READY DOGS

I hope this statement don’t offend any hearing people but it is fact of life that I have been through and I have become accustomed to it. Hence, I don’t complain since there is 1001 better things to do than whining to get attention for what are said on the conversation. It is my way of life and I keep myself in low profile and do other better things to do when I am all left over.

So do you define dog food as your cochlear implant? I am hearing more info that culturally Deaf including Deaf of Deaf parents are getting cochlear implant.

I don’t get any latest news from culturally Deaf who got cochlear implant and if you know any webpage that discuss about it, please tell me.

Did you have any skills of spoken language before you got cochelar implant? Are you able to discriminate the sounds? Are you able to locate where the sounds come from? Are you getting any speech skills?


April 4, 2008 at 10:08 am

Rachel ..

Great posting, as usual. I am impressed with your diplomacy skills, and am especially appreciative of your methodology in terms of writing about CIs.

I shall leave a quote for Mr. Nicholas.

“If you want to change the world, start with your country; and if you want to change your country, start with your state; and if you want to change your state, start with your town; and if you want to change your town, start with your family; and if you want to change your family, start with yourself.” – Richard C. Harwood

The world is a big, big, big place, Mr. Nicholas.



dog food

April 4, 2008 at 11:11 am

To Open-Minded Deaf Person;

Wow, you’re right on the nose! Yes, you’re correct. I share the same situations as you do.

“Ready to be a dog?”
“Here we go…”

I do see the implant as an opportunity to turn into Dog-Man. I have seen the benefits of Cochlear Implants on people of my age; one of my best buddies got her implant a year ago and already her communication barriers decreased significantly. She could hear many little things which i never knew made sounds… and reminded me just how limited my hearing abilities are.

Regarding your questions about my speaking abilities; I grew up oral, could speak comfortably with people who’ve been around me a couple times. I’m told I have a Deaf accent for I pronounce words by the way they are read rather than said: A fine example of a recent correction is Nicotine (pronounced Nick-a-teen) I used to pronounce it as “Nick-o-tine”. I also couldn’t hear certain pitches and tones and couldn’t always see how the tongue moves when a word is made. This means i only learned how to roll my tongue for the first time only 3 weeks ago with great difficulty producing that buzzing noise. In other words, i could move the lips perfectly with my tongue dead in the water just because i couldn’t hear the difference enough to figure out how to produce it.

As for receptive skills, i could differentiate some words with the hearing aid and it’s a big help in addition to lipreading. I abstained from hearing aids for 8 years during my high school and first few college years, and once I had those hearing aids in for the first time in a while, I notice a huge jump in improvement with communication in chatting with spoken language. Its still strangely obvious that i’m missing a huge chunk of sounds somewhere.

I gotta hand it to these 8 years of not hearing any sounds; I blossomed as a Deaf person and learned how to thrive without sounds. I’m certainly looking forward to learning how flourish even more with sounds.

The implant should be my Dog Food which will keep me ‘alive’ in the spoken community much longer than without.

Karen Mayes

April 4, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Dog food… hmmm you sound like me. I am from a hearing family and I do experience the dinner table syndrome when I visit my family, despite the fact that we are a close knit family. My husband is from generations of deaf family…

Also, oral,and I have “passable” speech (I get asked if I was from another country sometimes.) I wear hearing aids and I enjoy listening to music. Yup, I have two deaf children with different learning styles.

And… no, I am NOT speaking for anyone, as I notice, from the comments over the DeafRead, your peeve about some people speaking for other people. Often I speak for myself and I really don’t care what other people think about me…. take it or leave it. :o)

My son is asking about CI but he still receives good benefits from the digital hearing aids (he is late-deafened.) So I guess when his hearing loss becomes complete, he’d decide to opt for CI avenue… or not. Either way, I support him in whatever he wants for himself.

dog food

April 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Hello Karen,

Thank you for sharing a little about yourself. I was actually surprised to hear that you have a deaf husband and children.

Don’t worry, I don’t see how you’re speaking for anyone. It is a peeve for me to see so much discussion going on amongst the blog-sphere with it being painfully obvious that all the rules of conversation out of the window. I don’t see anyone being on the same page at all and I do get a kick out of pointing out that everyone’s point seems moot to me for no progress is made at all. Rachel is one of the few that actually seems to learn something as well as the readers. Perhaps this is the reason why i seem to say a lot more on this blog and end up flaming others.

I look forward to your next blog posts. Keep writing! Perhaps in the near future I’ll reveal which blog that often shows up on DeafRead is my own.

An Open-Minded Deaf Observer

April 5, 2008 at 10:15 am

Even though I don’t associate with successful CI users, I finally changed my perspective as I am a former anti-CI since I am hearing more latest news that more prelingual deaf babies or toddlers have mastered their spoken language just like hearing peers. Your webpage truly opened my mind and I am supporting CI for deaf youngsters because they will be more marketable in today society than if they don’t master spoken language. It is so amazing to see your pictures of your sweet smiling faces as I can see that you are so proud to be CI user.

Now I understand why AVT discourage CI clients to have visual cues so they can have their first auditory language before they can learn another language. It is what I learned from graduate school. Cummins’ theory of language acquisition.

But I have heard that one case that a pre-school youngster had three ci surgery and she lack her expressive or receptive language. It occured in few years ago. She was still discouraged from learning sign language. I don’t know any updated news about her today.

Just curious about AVT therapy. In case if a client failed to master auditory sense for several years, what shall he/she do to get first language without grasping the auditory language? I am sure that it is happening today but I don’t know the number of failure rate. I am hoping that it is happening less than ten percent.

Your attention about this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Open-Minded Deaf Observer or Former Anti-CI Deaf Observer


April 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Open-Minded Deaf Observer,

A CI failure rate/percentage study is what everybody in this blogosphere wants to see, yet such a study will be difficult to do when one takes in the number of variables that influence the results. Some members in the CI community have referred to the Geers studies, but even these have variables that influenced the results.

Variables such as age of implantation, the length and amount of language acquisition before implantation, the length and type of hearing intervention prior to implantation (hearing aids or none), parental involvement in language acquisition therapy, the length and type of language acquisition therapy, the type of schooling the youngster is eventually enrolled in by kindergarten or first grade age, etc. It will be difficult to find control groups that fit certain criteria, because each CI child is different.

Not only that but the results will get interpreted various ways by different groups or organizations for their own purposes! *sigh*

Then some people point to the researchers themselves– are these researchers truly unbiased or have had their research paid for by an organization with a certain agenda? Studies do have to be paid for in some way otherwise the researchers wouldn’t be able to do such work. So such a study is not without some bias.

Hope you understand that such a study is a difficult one to keep unbiased and controlled within certain criteria.

As for AVT therapy not working for a CI client in the critical early development years, some people propose bi/bi education along with oral speech therapy in the deaf schools for such CI clients.


April 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm

To Open-Minded Deaf Person: Your beautiful comment nearly moved me to tears. You show a selflessness that is rarely found in these debates — though you are a signing member of Deaf culture, you have seen the changes in teaching and technology and truly have deaf children’s best interests at heart. God bless you!

Deaf culture may indeed be shrinking, because today’s deaf children are redefining what it means to live with a hearing loss, but your kind of Deafness will always be a part of our history. I hope it is remembered for its members like you, not those who cling to old ways and angrily accuse others who do not agree with them. You are a testament to what the Deaf community should be, and I appreciate your comments very, very much!


April 5, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Open-Minded Deaf Observer: You really have the children’s best interests at heart, and I am so glad to have your contributions on this blog!

In response to you question about AVT: There is a maxim in AVT that says, “First tell, then show” i.e. first say the word, give an aural cue, then, if that doesn’t work, bring out the object, show the child the sound on your lips, show a picture to explain, etc. So, it’s not just beating a dead horse if the aural route isn’t working, it’s more about giving children every opportunity to develop their aural skills while their brain is at its peak for learning language. I think it is very important for parents and therapists to be responsive to each child’s individual needs and learning style and know when to try a different tactic.

As for “failure” rates (ooh I cringe to think about applying that word to a child)… it’s hard to say. Everyone has a different definition — is it a failure if the child doesn’t have perfect intonation? doesn’t understand 100% of the time? has to ask you to repeat? I don’t think so, but many in the Deaf community justify their opposition to CIs by saying, “If it doesn’t make you 100% like hearing, it’s not worth it.” They’re entitled to their opinion, but I disagree. It’s all about giving children every opportunity possible to develop their oral/aural skills, to interact with the world at large using the majority language (English), and to speak for themselves and make their voices heard.

Please keep commenting and asking questions — Rachel and I, and others, will be more than happy to answer!


April 5, 2008 at 11:39 pm

dog food,

Your thoughts about getting a CI are very interesting. I’ll be very interested to hear your thoughts if you get a CI. Do you have residual hearing or did you used have it? Please excuse me if you mentioned it before.

To Anonymous in comment 19:

You’re right that I do define my disability between your two definitions. Under definition #1, it would be being unable to hear which is what most most people can do. Under definition #2, when my implants are off, I would be unable to communicate well with my family, friends, and other people, unable to hear music, the sounds of films, and etc.

I completely agree with your viewpoint that our CIs do make our life easier, not better. It’s very true that there are several deaf people without CIs who have done perfectly well in life.


Thank you for your support. I’m a big fan of your blog! Definitely count on my support!

Open-Minded Deaf Person,

As you know, I really appreciate your comments. I will send you a longer response, but I need to get back to studying first.