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.
A few years ago, I was recovering from a severe respiratory infection, sinus infection, and ear infection. This cocktail of infection had also caused me to get laryngitis. I basically felt like I was dying.
For some reason, I had a craving for Chinese food. I drove down to a local Chinese restaurant and was trying to place an order. I couldn’t speak, so I was using hand jesters to communicate with the server.
To make things worse, the server had a very strong accent. I am hearing impaired, so the accent mixed wth my hearing impairment, which was made worse by an ear infection, made it extremely difficult to understand what he was saying.
I lady in the restaurant was watching all this and decided to help. She told the server, “I think she’s deaf.” The lady knew a little sign language and tried to communicate with me.
I am fluent in American Sign Language and I was getting frustrated with my whole situation, so I went with it. I pretended to be deaf and started signing to the lady. She then communicated what I said to the server and I was able to get my food.
I admit to feeling a bit ashamed of my actions that day. However, sometimes you just have a craving for Chinese food and you do what you got to do.
What makes me unique?
- I participated in protests while living in Dallas.
- I studied Russian at Moscow University. However, I still can’t speak Russian.
- I completed the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day.
- I won a science fair in school.
- I am a Sigma Chi Pi Honor Society member.
- I have won poetry contests and I have been published.
- I am fluent in American Sign Language.
- I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- I am certified to conduct psychological research on humans. I completed this certification as a requirement for my PhD program, in case anyone was wondering.
- I have traveled to the following foreign countries: Canada, Mexico, England, Netherlands, France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and Austria.
- I have a level 2 certification in Facilities Engineering.
- I have a prosthetic bone behind my ear drum, which is probably the most unique thing about me.