Soapbox/Myth: Cochlear Implants and Reality

My first day of teaching high school, in four straight classes, there was a student who asked me about cochlear implants (CI). So I told the students the truth, the concept of cochlear implants is bigger than the technology. It can fail or succeed, we still have to look at the whole person, not the technology.  Am I personally in favor of it? No, not because of the technology. It is that people abuse the concept of CI to ensure “success stories” based on what the general population want TO HEAR.  To a few, being deaf is the ultimate evil.

For many of us being deaf is a blessing and miracle.  We get to live a life of our own making. Granted, not everything is accessible, we are further proof that humans cannot be static. Think Darwin and Wallace. We struggle, but what is life without struggle? Why deny that?  Our ‘limitation’ has made some of us strive in our fields of profession and in our personal dealings with the human race.

For that few who believe in that evil, they have the “power” of the spoken word which they share with the general population. What we have is a common feature of stereotyping.  Good stories are hard to get because they are hidden from “drama” that reporters love.  How many stories of common deaf people without CIs are out there? What aout the opposite? stories of people with CIs who have failed because they did not GET ALL THEY NEEDED?

Technology, as I said once before, is like the human body. It can fail, the question is that how do we adapt to the changes. Remember biology and chemistry is the beginning point of our lives, among a few other things.  So when biology or chemistry fails us, we supplement; however, we cry that if others do not follow through with the ‘supplement’ that their lives are forfeit to the whims of the ‘superior’ population.

Humans are not meant to be robots or to be defined by their technology but by their WHOLE. We cannot pick or choose but accept what we have within us and acknowledge that we have room to change and/or improve. The same can be said for those who choose the path that causes their downfall.

CIs are not natural. The technology is NOT a miracle.  It is JUST a TOOL. The WHOLE is more than the SUM of the PARTS, and CI is just A  part.  I can get past the CI and get to the point of the child by asking questions with behavior, language and education.  These are equally important as they are the foundation of the child as he/she grows up and go through the stages of life.

As a friend likes to say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.”  One can choose implant self or another but do not expect a miracle.  I am sorry, this is a harsh fact.  There is a lot of work to be done on the WHOLE when you have only ONE part.

One cannot complete a puzzle with only one puzzle.


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