Friday, May 18

"The Ends Justify The Means?"

I have mentioned the raging debate over whether cochlear implants are destroying "Deaf culture" or not, and have been trying to learn more myself. I understand that as a hearing person ("hearie"), I cannot fully realize what it is like to be Deaf (Deaf with a capital "D" is often used to refer to deaf persons who do not have an implant, and are not aided, and deaf without a capital "D" is often used to refer to deaf persons who have some degree of hearing either through hearing aids or cochlear implants) - just as I cannot fully see what it would like to be an African-American. However, I just don't agree that cochlear implants are evil, and I don't agree that by having Drew implanted that I am "not accepting him for who he is".

I am somewhat active on All Deaf, a message board which has many different sections, or topics. I originally went there to find out more about the Deaf Culture and others views on cochlear implants, hearing aids, or whatever type of things they are talking about. I have found valuable information and some very helpful people, but a good deal of discussion on the "Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Page" centers around the debate over whether children should be implanted, or whether anyone should be implanted. It can get uncomfortable in there!

This thread, titled "Cochlear Implants Causes Injuries and Death By Electrocution" (take a look) was started by a man who supposedly read a study in the Journal of American Medical Association that indicated people were dying from using cochlear implants.

To save anyone from unnecessary worry, he completely made it up. If you read through the thread you'll see that I challenge him, and he admits it was faked. Later he even admits that if parents went to bed worried that their child might die from electrocution that "his work is done". He was actually proud that spreading misinformation may cause parents anguish over whether their child might be killed.

If you are interested in this debate, I suggest you read that thread. I don't want people to think that ALL people who aren't in favor of cochlear implants think that way, but I think there is value in knowing that some people out there will spread any kind of misinformation they can in order to cause fear or uncertainty about the use of cochlear implants.

It's sad, because parents are just trying to do their best for their child, and wading through lies like this make it difficult to figure out what they should do. It is also sad because people like this cast a bad light upon other, non-hearing, non-implant deaf persons and their Deaf Culture, which probably hurts their way of life more than any piece of technology ever will.


Leeann said...

Came across your comments on AllDeaf and your blog via that while doing some research for a novel I am writing. I feel led to say here that Drew is very blessed to have parents who want nothing but the best for him! I was shocked to find out that there is any controversy over what you are doing. My main purpose in doing my research was to find examples of the experiences of the surgery and activation process in very young children, but I will probably now include at least a mention of the fact that some people think it is wrong. Needless to say, the parents in my novel will make the right decision (same one you're making!) Enjoy your journey. I'll look forward to reading about Drew's successful surgery!

abbieua said...

I am very proud of Drew, his sister, my son and my daughter-in-law. Drew's parents thoroughly studied the pros and cons of cochlear implants and arrived at their decision through many discussions based on Drew's best interests. As Drew's grandmother, I can't wait to have him hear me say, "I love you."

Rick said...

Drew's Dad,

I have read your posts on AD and think they are very well written and that you make some great points. I think this blog is fantastic and a great resource, especially for parents making the cochlear implant decision.
I wish you and your family the best of luck as you approach Drew's surgery and anticipation. As a parent of a ci child I can only tell you that Drew has unlimited opportunities ahead of him but most of all he has loving and caring parents.
Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

I actually am very interested in the affects that implants have had on the deaf community, but I'm not brave enough to subject myself to threads like that one. I have dabbled here and there and seen so many disprespectfu things said that it has turned my stomach. You're right, these people don't do any favors to their community by taking such extreme stances and throwing around rude and inflammatory remarks.

We shouldn't have to be made to defend our decisions to implant our children. Anyone who doubts our choices has no idea what it's like to walk in our shoes. End of story.

Great and thoughtful post, as always.

Anonymous said...

Dear parents who have had a bad experience with "Deaf Culture."
I am hearing. My son is Deaf. His daughter is deaf. She is bilaterally implanted. Now I will try to help you understand why many Deaf are afraid of CIs. I don't see anything wrong with hearing parents getting a CI for their child. But I understand now because of your experience why the Deaf do! It is just like money. There is nothing wrong with money. BUT money can be use in the wrong way! Right?
Please go to this link and you will understand why in history the Deaf hate the thought of being forced to hear: To me it is diabolically wrong to keep a deaf parent from their deaf child and lie about things to accomplish that. The mother lied on her clinic form to get the second implant putting her husband down as the father when he wasn't. You can also explore my blog: I have deleted most of it but there is still alot to read left there. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I see some errors in the post above I just did. I meant to say "that I understand now because of OUR experience why the Deaf do!"
I also meant to say, "Money can be used in the wrong way." Not use but used.
I would really love that person at the top to contact me on my FB page about CIs, the one writing the book. Thanks