This is a cochlear implant. It is an electronic device to help
the deaf hear. It produces sounds digitally within the cochlea.
An operation is required as envisioned in the photo. This wondrous
device has caused a major controversy in the deaf world like no
other. Deaf purists believe this device interferes with the deaf
world and fear the deaf world wouldn't exist 20 years from now.
They state it is wrong for a child to have one because they believe
the child should have the right to choose. Unlike a handicapped
person or a person with a physical disability, deafness is a
disability that has created a world of their own complete with a
visual language, which is Sign Language.
My belief? I think
the parent has the right to choose because their only desire is to
give them the best life possible. No deaf child or adult has said
"Gee Mom, I wish I didn't know how to talk or read." Even with the
Cohlear Implant, you are still deaf. Many times you can't wear it
like at the beach, in the pool, shower, and at night while sleeping
since the batteries have to charge at one point! I believe if a
parent gets it for the deaf child that it is their responsibility to
educate the child about deafness, encourage Cued Speech, Sign Language,
or Oralism. To involve the child in situations where there are other
deaf children to play with and that it is ok to be deaf. Having a CI is
NOT a solution to get rid of deafness. A child will always be deaf
period. A parent should never act like deafness doesn't exist.
I also believe it is based on each persons situation and environment.
Like me for example...I have a hearing family. I am the only one
deaf in my immediate and extended family on both sides. I grew up
with Cued Speech which taught me to speak and read pretty well. My
friend in this picture helped me realize that having a CI would
enhance my life in so many ways. I will be able to hear my children
and my husband. I don't have to change. I can still be "me" and still
share with my children my deaf world and still teach them how to
cue & sign and have fun while doing it!