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Karina’s Story: My Cochlear Implant Never Took Away the Deaf Culture and Sign Language

January 1st, 2014 by | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Jessica, my sister who is also a bilateral cochlear implant recipient, has been mainstreamed at a local public high school that just so happens to have a large program for deaf students in metro-Boston area. Most of the students in the program primarily communicate in sign language and do not have cochlear implants. Jessica was bullied by some of the deaf students for choosing to hear and speak. However, Jessica became friendly with one student, Karina, who was a hearing aid user and communicated in both sign language and listening and spoken language. Karina struggled to communicate through listening and spoken language as the hearing aids did not provide her clear access to speech. Jessica discussed cochlear implants with her, but Karina said “No.” She was enjoying hearing music with her hearing aid and was afraid that she wouldn’t hear music well with the cochlear implant. She was also afraid that the cochlear implant would take away the deaf culture and sign language from her. I had the opportunity to meet Karina a couple years ago, and we did discuss cochlear implants. I just simply shared my experiences and clarified the misinformation she heard. While Jessica respected Karina’s decision, she still brought up cochlear implants in conversations with her over the past couple years. Karina finally decided this past summer to get one. I saw Karina a couple nights ago with her lovely pink cochlear implant sound processor. Karina said that the cochlear implant is the best thing that has ever happened. Her speech comprehension has gone from 3% unaided to 97% with the cochlear implant. Music sounds so much better. Best of all, Karina said that her cochlear implant never took away the sign language and deaf culture. Plus, she wants to get her other ear done! I filmed Karina sharing her experiences in going from wearing a hearing aid to a cochlear implant.  I am so proud of both girls – Jessica for positively changing one person’s life and Karina for making a positive life changing decision and doing so well with her cochlear implant!

Here is a video of Karina sharing her experiences in getting a cochlear implant.

1 Comment

Sharon Crouch

January 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Your family has touched so many lives and you have really made a huge difference in the HOH world. Thank you Rachael for all you do, and for taking time to also become my friend. ~SharonC~