The documentary Sound and Fury discusses the pros and cons of cochlear implants in young children and infants.
Most hearing people believe children born deaf should receive cochlear implants as soon as possible and then raised as hearing children. That allows them to function in a hearing world.
It’s not so clear in the Deaf community, because they have their own language and unique culture. Cochlear implants are keeping children born deaf from learning that language, the history of the Deaf community, and the cultural beliefs that go along with it.
I understand both sides of the debate and I feel torn by the issue. I was born with inner-ear deformities that required numerous surgeries throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I now have a moderate hearing loss and function well with hearing aids.
As an adult, I studied American Sign Language, Deaf history, and Deaf culture. I was fascinated by how the Deaf community interacts with each other and the importance they place on their language and culture.
Since I grew up in the hearing world, I will never truly be a part of the Deaf community. I wish I had a chance to be a part of that community. I long for the closeness and understanding felt among the members.
However, I am also glad to be a part of the hearing community. I know I will have more opportunities in this world, as a hearing person.
I hope the hearing community doesn’t allow cochlear implants to destroy Deaf culture. Maybe we can still teach children that are born deaf about their unique culture, even if they receive the cochlear implant as infants.