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Cochlear Implants

venn diagram's picture

Here is a link to an article explaining the circumstances of the youtube video entitled "Jonathan's Cochlear Implant Activation 8 mo., Rt Ear cont'd"

I find this really interesting in terms of disability studies, I know it can be a dangerous game to look at the comments on youtube videos/websites, but even just a quick glance at the top few were pretty generative in terms of discussion:

"How ironic that 8months ago this boy could have been aborted if it were known he was deaf, apparently considered a serious disability. And here we have him receiving treatment from doctors as if they are life savers. When they could have been killing him behind closed doors not so long ago & we would never have known about it. He is an human being first & foremost, has been since fertilisation. These people are not gods, they have not 'given him back his life' just given him a new sense. A lot of deaf people feel very angry & alienated because of peoples ignorant views about deafness."

"99 people are blind.

Apparently this footage is actually from a few years ago, but as the article notes it has become a youtube sensation recently. I personally was unaware of the video/story until I saw a link to the aritcle on facebook earlier today.

See video


essietee's picture

I've seen this video several

I've seen this video several times before, both alone and watching with other people. My initial and current reaction remains the same every time I watch the footage: here is a person being given an opportunity that he earlier did not have. Though this child obviously did not decide for himself to receive the cochlear implant, it is clear that he is immediately affected in a positive manner — note the way he turns toward his mother and smiles, almost instantaneously. Yes, Jonathan will presumably never be a part of the deaf community. Perhaps he will never learn sign language or attend a school for children who have hearing impairments. He will, however, have a different community and different opportunities. I find myself thinking about what I would do as a parent if I were in this situation: wouldn't I want to give my child every chance possible to succeed in life and lead a happy, personally rewarding existence? I view the decision of Jonathan's parents as such a choice.

For those interested in cochlear implants, there are a whole host of videos depicting the device's activation that may be found here. I'm also linking a page about Children and Hearing Loss from The Lake Drive Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports children with hearing loss and impairements in northern and central New Jersey.

venn diagram's picture

Also, in the article they

Also, in the article they mention the benefits of giving cochlear implants at an ealier age (so that speech understanding is not as impaired as if older children/adults receive the implants). However, this may be a similar issue to operating on intersex children and assigning them a sex. There is an episode of House where a teen rips out his cochlear implants because he wants to remain part of his deaf community/maintain his deaf identity.

S. Yaeger's picture

I always wondered about the

I always wondered about the ethics of giving the implants to young children too.  It's my understanding that, though they do allow for some hearing, they do not allow hearing to be the same as it is for non-deaf people.  Teens and adults who recieve implants often compain about how the sound affects them and I wonder if children who get them feel like their worlds are excessively noisy.  I read a blog by a man who had gotten one a few years ago, and I will see if I can find it for you.