A choice most of us will never make
August 7, 2018 7:57 PM   Subscribe

The Choice of Whether to Hear We interviewed 14 of Dr. Madell’s former [Cochlear Implant] patients, those young enough to be born after cochlear implantation was viable yet old enough to have insight into the experience. They had navigated the frontiers of deafness, disability and the human experience. They spoke to us about identity, sexual intimacy and coming of age somewhere between sound and silence. And they talked about the sometimes wrenching decision of whether to hear or not. That’s a choice most of us will never make.
posted by Toddles (7 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
If you're interested in a full length documentary about a Deaf family grappling with the question of cochlear implants for their children, I cannot recommend Josh Aronson's Sound and Fury (2000) highly enough.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:14 PM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

If crime drama is more your speed than documentaries, The Silence explores this issue with surprising sensitivity.
posted by flabdablet at 3:46 AM on August 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

If near future dramatic films are more your speed than crime dramas, The End also explores this issue.
posted by durandal at 4:20 AM on August 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

These people are brave.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:11 AM on August 8, 2018

I made friends with a guy who had a cochlear implant a number of years ago. We were using boats to ferry people about and I remember being rather envious that he was able to shut of the annoying background noise of the outboard at the flick of a switch: he could choose not to hear (at least that was my impression). I can well imagine the intrusion of all the noises of the world to somebody brought up in silence - might not always be welcome. It takes considerable effort and practice for hearing people to be able to tolerate and selectively filter out background sounds.
posted by rongorongo at 5:19 AM on August 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

A particular sweetie in my life has these and it is hilarious how she will weaponise her hearing aids to 'slip' so as to not hear people asking her to clean her room or do homework. Yet somehow she can always hear or lipread ice-cream and play time.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:26 AM on August 8, 2018 [14 favorites]

As a deaf person who uses a cochlear implant, a lot of the experiences these interviewees mention are very similar to mine. From "no, are you foreign?" and vastly preferring using 'deaf' to describe myself over 'hearing impaired' while styling my hair so I don't 'freak' the hearies out with the coil on my head, I relate so much.

Although I cringed majorly HARD at the med school student using 'high-functioning' to describe herself. Maybe that's because of my own memories of being compared to my fellow deaf classmates and they were found 'lacking' compared to my own grades and ''''''good speech*'''''.

*good being as close to hearing as possible which has wildly ableist overtones. sure, you want to be intelligible. but trying to learn how to talk when you have a pre-linguistic hearing loss is difficult. 14 freaking years of speech therapy.

Thank you for sharing.
posted by lineofsight at 3:24 PM on August 8, 2018 [10 favorites]

« Older “This is the stuff childhood dreams are made of.”   |   a series of movements that match the speed and... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments