This page is created by a Deaf blogger and is NOT intended to offend Deaf community, Deaf individuals, or anyone else. Any hateful or offensive comments made by individual readers is the sole responsibility of that person. With the exception of news sources (I do not own them), these blog articles are my own opinions and thoughts with which you may disagree. I do remove comments that only contain profanity and insults about me or this page (yeah, it's my blog). If your comment goes unpublished for no other reason, it may be mistakenly filtered as spam. Happy reading!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Charlie Rose: Cochlear Implant & Hearing

When I was changing channels on a Friday night, I just happened to stumble on Charlie Rose show that discussed cochlear implants & hearing-impaired people. He invited a doctor who received the Lasker Award for contributing to a newer technology of cochlear implant & other people including a 19-year-old man who is implanted to discuss this topic. 

To see a completed video of Charlie Rose, the "Hearing & Cochlear Implants", go to this link: http://archive.org/details/KQED_20131012_070000_Charlie_Rose

Personally, I have nothing against CI as well as the parents who want their deaf child to be implanted with cochlear. It's their child, so it's not for me to say what they should do or shouldn't do. The only mistake they would make is if they willingly follow doctor's order without fully researching it first or if they believe there's no assistance available for the deaf.

My understanding is that it would be easier for the brain of an implanted toddler to develop sound & speech than it would be for adult if they were implanted after adolescence. It still does not mean that someone with CI can hear the same sound quality as natural hearing. It may work for some, it may not work for others. They're still deaf with or without CI. Hearing aids may not work for people with severe hearing loss. That's what I've learned about CI.

Deaf community has a strong objection against children having CI surgery, & that's fine, too.

English Problems for Majority of Deaf adults

My main issue with one of their discussions on Charlie Rose show is about a hearing loss that could prevent you from reading & writing properly in English. It may be true but not completely. I really doubt that deafness has anything to do with a lack of reading & writing skills. I know a couple of deaf people who writes better & far more advanced English than most hearing ones that I have seen. Some of them do not wear CI or even hearing aids.

The average of reading level for deaf adults is 4th grade. Can they be blamed for not developing English properly as their second language? No, I think not. Why? Because our deaf educational system lacks resources & is full of lazy teachers. I can't speak for every deaf school or department, but I can only speak for mine. Growing up in school, teachers never really challenged deaf students academically. For example, most deaf 8th graders were taught 5th grade-level math even though they have been in school since they were three.

So, what were teachers teaching deaf students all those years? Why have they slowed them down? Deaf students were way behind their hearing peers on so many academic levels. It's embarrassing.

Sadly, I had to teach myself how to read & write in English on my own. I had to learn about punctuation, preposition, conjunction, where commas should be inserted, & so on. Honestly, I didn't even know any of those English rules until I started mainstreamed high school.

It's unfortunate because deaf students can do so much better than what teachers give them a credit for. They are missing out on most of what they are supposed to learn. That's why so many of junior and senior deaf students score so low on SAT & have difficulty getting into a college.

The point is that deafness has a little to do with reading/writing problems. Teachers just do not give deaf students proper English teaching lessons they need. If I had a deaf child, I would home-school or put her/him in mainstreamed school. That's what I would do to prepare them for their future opportunities.

I think talking about the errors of deaf education is more important than debating CI because Deaf children deserve the same level of education as hearing, and we should be focusing on it more. 

OK, that's it for today.

My questions to people with CI who may be reading this:

1. Do you feel like you live as a hearing person?
2. How well do you function in the hearing world?
3. Does your CI help you understand speech & sound?

http://facebook.com/DeafUnemployment
http://deafcantgetjobs.blogspot.com

5 comments:

  1. I grew up in an oral environment - signing was banned - and I did not like it because it was challenging to lip-read on a consistent basis. I think that contributed to the migraines that I have had since I was 7 years old. I finally was allowed to learn signs at 10 years old and that lessen my communication frustration - even though my parents would not allow themselves to learn signs. I was not happy socially in school and I fought hard to get into a state school for the Deaf. I finally got in there during my high school years and I felt so much more freer. I was able to be with my peers who had the same thoughts and feelings as me - and we had no communication barriers. Had I continued to be with hearings peers, that would not be the case. I went onto a Deaf college and married my Deaf college sweetheart. My family came around and saw how much more happier I am - I do not feel as oppressed as I used to be because I am more able to express what I wanted to share. My family now know basic signs (they are still learning signs!) and they are sorry that they were not as open-minded to bi-bi communication when I was younger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I'm always curious as to what it's like to experience growing up as oralist for people with different degrees of hearing loss. I know it must be very frustrating.

      Delete
  2. I've done a lot of reading on this recently because I recently found out that my son is deaf (myself, my wife, and our whole family is hearing). I've been researching the crap out of all of the options out there, so though I'm not a CI user myself, I've read a lot of accounts that may or may not be helpful.

    So generally, I think getting answers to your questions now is going to be a little bit tricky, because even though cochlear implants have been a while, it's really only been within the last ten years that they've really taken off. A lot of that probably has to do with the FDA giving the OK for the implants to be used in infants (currently 12 months, but a doctor can petition the FDA to implant earlier). So a lot of the folks who are the prime CI candidates who can benefit the most are still basically kids. The kids are also a relevant group because they're using the latest and greatest tech and therapy skills.

    1. Do you feel like you live as a hearing person?
    Probably depends quite a bit on whether or not they're mainstreamed or not. I've read quite a few parent blogs stating that their children love their CIs and are so good with them that you would never know that they were actually deaf (good hearing, clear speech, etc), but they still embrace their deafness in their own ways. A common story I've read is that kids like to pull out their "ears" when they're mad at their parents, etc. Parents with kids who are considered highly successful still note that they know that their kids are deaf, because the implants have to come off with baths, sleep, when batteries unexpectedly die, etc. There's also lots of stories of kids hitting five or six years old and asking why they have to wear ears, thinking that when they get old enough they won't need them to hear anymore, etc. Obviously your answers are going to vary wildly here depending on how well they took to the implants (both technically and therapeutically) because that dictates how much they DEPEND on the hearing world, but I have yet to read any account about a deaf person with implants considering themselves to be hearing. When we see fully-implantable / always-on implants within the next ten years, I think that question will get very interesting.

    2. How well do you function in the hearing world?
    Seems to be the same general story as those with hearing aids. The best don't have many issues, most have issues in noise. education-wise FM systems are recommended. A few things that impressed me are kids who are in band / chorus and can clearly perceive tone very well, and recently I read a story about a 7 year old with implants who loves going to the movies without any other assistance and apparently doing very well with it.

    3. Does your CI help you understand speech & sound?
    This one's pretty easy. :) Results vary, but if the implant does its job and the child gets good therapy, you truly wouldn't know that some of these kids were deaf just from the way they can hear / speak if you couldn't see the implants themselves. There's tons of this on Youtube, but those are the successful ones that chased AVT therapy (where you're brought up to communicate ONLY with audio / speech, no visual cues / language). There's also lots of kids who use implants to supplement their other communicative skills (ASL, lip-reading, etc). There's a lot of really good studies out there (use Google Scholar to filter through the marketing) that are based around speech testing results over time for CI users, and generally you see some improvement, though whether it's worth it or not is obviously up to the individual.

    From what I can see, CIs are getting to the point where if you're implanted early and take to them well AND have the hours and hours of therapy necessary to "train" with them, your speech can potentially be crystal clear and your hearing comprehension can be pretty high as well.

    Hope some of that helps. Again, just my research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions about CI. Your insights are interesting.

      Delete
  3. Hi, I've had a cochlear implant for almost 1 year. I'm 27 years old and made the decision to get implanted by myself (after extensive research)
    1. Do you feel like you live as a hearing person?
    Because I was born with full hearing and lost it steadily over time (went completely Deaf at age 20), I know what it's like to live as a hearing person, a hard-of-hearing person, a Deaf person, and a deaf person with C.I. They are all unique experiences.

    2. How well do you function in the hearing world?
    As well as I can! I still read lips, I still struggle to hear new music (tunes I'm familiar with are easier to hear), I still need note-taker assistance at school, and I can't answer the phone unless I have my remote control nearby so that I can switch the setting on my CI. My evening routine includes putting the CI in the drying machine and plugging in my CI batteries. Travel is more difficult because I can't simply walk through the scanning machines at the airport, and I have to make sure all my technical equipment and rechargers will be able to plug in properly at my destination. I still need a flashing-light fire alarm in my home because I don't wear the CI while I sleep or while I shower, or most evenings after 10pm when the battery dies. But compared to my friends with hearing aids, I can hear much better in group settings, although it's not perfect. Plus, I can use the telephone again, which is nice. I can't suddenly go for a walk in the rain or jump into a swimming pool because I can't get the CI wet....so if I want to do those things, I have to do them Deaf! Oh, and I STILL have an accent that people comment on, and I STILL get told that I talk too loudly.

    3. Does your CI help you understand speech & sound?
    SOME speech and SOME sound, yes. But not all. It's not perfect.

    ReplyDelete