Saturday I met a cousin of my boyfriend. Julie, a very nice girl, and very curious, who paused me a lot of questions about my deafness, how deaf I was, what I felt when I lost my hearing, my percentage of deafness … Why I’m not implanted …
She spoke of a cochlear implant. I’m not an expert so I’ll try to explain, how it works from what I understand.
Basically it looks like this:
In fact it is in two parts, one visible in the photo and the other is implanted under the skin.
The outer part is used to pick up sounds and send them to the inner part. The latter sends the information directly to the auditory nerve through electrodes directly into the cochlea (the last part of the inner ear).
The implant serves to give a semblance of hearing. Be careful, that does not make a deaf person a hearing, there is a lot of effort to make to understand what is said to him orally.
She made a remark that touched me more than I would have liked:
“you could finally hear the voice of your lover!”
But then why am I not implanted?
Well already we can not say that it is very sexy!
More seriously, my problem comes from my auditory nerve, but it is one of the only cases where the cochlear implant is useless.
After this conversation, I talked a lot with my deaf friends, with or without an implant to think about the limits of cochlear implants, with a big thought for parents who have a deaf child and who thinks of implanting it.
I have a friend named Cedrik who was implanted at the age of 9 and decided at the age of 16 to unplug his implant and have it removed at age 21.
With the implant he did not know, despite hard efforts, learn oralism (speak with his voice) and especially understand what was said when he did not see the mouth of the person who spoke to him. he heard words and sounds, but he could not decipher them.
Indeed, the later the implant is delayed and the more difficult it is to learn for a deaf person by birth.
For him, the sounds, the noises, to hear was something new, it was sudden and brutal. It touched something deep in his personality had an intrusion into his intimacy that he had trouble accepting. Other friends have made it but it’s a hard time to pass.
Despite this experience, he regrets nothing. He is still happy to understand better what it is to hear.
After my accident, when I woke up a few days later in my hospital bed, the silence was deafening. I could talk, scream, nothing. At first I thought myself mute, and then I realized that I could not hear the sounds of the machines, nor of my dad and my sister whom I had awakened with a start.
I was panicked. Although I had a week of coma, for me the moment before I sang with my mother in the car, and the next moment nothing.
And then little by little I learned to tame silence, to live with him, but I had no choice.
For a hearing, some noises can be comforting, the sound of rain, the voice of a mother; the sound of the ocean … But for a deaf person it is the opposite, the silence being all that he knew, and the noises being perceived at first as an aggression, it can be tempting
to press the off button of their implant. Having the choice, can be part of the difficulty that some of them have to learn to hear. (It is certainly a preconceived idea, I am not a psychologist).
Was it a bad idea to have him implanted? In my case, I do not have the possibility so my opinion is a bit biased, without counting that I was hearing until I was 11 years old. I know what it’s like to hear. In my case, if I could, I would have been implanted.
I would love to know the voice of my lover and what saddens me the most is that, even if I do not want to have a child now, the day I become a mother, I will never know his voice. This is the only real thing that makes me sad in all this.
On the other hand for a deaf person of birth, it is necessary to understand that what he never knew does not miss him. They are able to do this by themselves in almost every situation that will arise, they will adapt.
In my humble opinion, it is never a mistake to want to improve the daily life of a person whom we love more than anything. Once implanted, the child will always be free to use it or not.
On the other hand, what I deplore about the doctors (at least in the cases of my friends around me) is that they often push the deaf person to learn oralism and more or less abandon the sign language. And I think it’s a big mistake.
We must not forget that for him sign language is his native language. It’s part of his identity and it’s important I think not to cut the child out of the deaf community. It remains a pillar, and is always helpful in learning to cope in life with this handicap.
If I made you by the case of Cedrik, it is because his case denoted compared to those of the 5 other implanted persons whom I know. For thosz one, despite the long adaptation phase, everything went well and they are delighted.