Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reaction by the Deaf Community to those who have Cochlear Implants

Play Quicktime

When reading the DeafView section in DeafLife (January 2008) that asks a question to gather opinions of the Deaf community. This question is a deep one. It said, "If a deaf person receives a cochlear implant, should this person be rejected by the Deaf Community?" How many percent said No, they should not be rejected? The survey said 72%. How many said Yes, they should be rejected? 15%. How many percent said not sure? 10%. Interesting to see these results. Combined the Yes and Not sure results, it is like 25% reluctantly accepting CI people and 75% support the idea of not rejecting them. I am going to explain the reasons for these three views.

For those who think that they should be rejected were because they wanted to “be hearing” that they separate themselves from the DEAF thinking that they are better than them. Once they can hear, they are not considered as a DEAF person. They don’t have the pride to be Deaf or cherish it. Also they are like 'robots'. They will not continue to sign. They are inferior." It is a harsh view in my opinion.

For those who think that they should be accepted makes sense and it was because they felt that in their “Deaf World”, they have always accept the others. It (C.I.) is not considered as a big deal. The C.I. wearers will always take the device off at certain times and they are still “DEAF” and that they are still a part of the Deaf community. In spite of wearing C.I., they may be learning it or those who already use it will still continue using ASL.

For those who say unsure, they have mixed feelings that "those who get C.I. made them feel divided and that they value hearing more than deaf. Their definition of cochlear implant represents oral philosophy. It offends DEAF people. There is a difference between those who wear cochlear implant and hearing aids since they can take hearing aids off anytime while for those who have C.I. always have the magnet device in their heads. Also, those who wear hearing aids are considered 'temporary' while those who wear C.I. is considered 'permanent'".

My view? I dismiss the reasons for those who reject cochlear implantees. Why? Today, it is considered a part of technology in the world we live in that I accept the changes, at the same time, when rejecting them, I ask myself, “What good is it? What would it help us as a Deaf community to reject them?” You know, we have been concerned about Deaf babies receiving implants (it is because of not using signs that would be most accessible to them since birth). It doesn’t help when one makes negative facial expression and nasty remarks toward them. What would you think how hearing (and DEAF) parents feel? I would imagine that they would feel more resistant toward those who reject them. They may get to the point of not wanting to learn ASL because of the negative encounter they have experienced. Let’s say one keeps an open mind, set aside their differences and just focus on the positives by stating that ASL is a beautiful language and how it can help a Deaf child to develop better literacy. Also explain how bilingual approach greatly benefit Deaf babies and children who wear C.I. (and increase cognitive thinking). Make ASL activities fun! Expose ASL to parents how it is used in theaters, songs, poetry, etc. that will attract them rather than repelling them by making negative expressions and remarks. Think of ways to approach them by giving them a better picture of ASL and introducing them to links or whatever ways to make them interested. I feel that we should think ourselves as a marketer not as one who criticizes, rejects or bashes them. Negative criticism should be thrown out of the window and "use marketing approach" that promotes ASL in their lives.

Now, Martin Luther King celebration is coming up as we honor him on January 21st. It is important to remember what was his purpose and why his message was shared to the world. Of course, his strong philosophy was to promote unity between the Blacks and the whites that they get to live together in harmony. This philosophy should be applied to the Deaf community that consists a variety of people who are Deaf, ASL users, hearing or capable of hearing by wearing C.I. and hearing aids. Whatever the differences are, we need to learn to accept, work together and respect each other. It is important to remember Martin Luther King’s dream. The question is: Can WE live in that everlasting dream?


IamMine said...

Beautiful, Barb! :)

ASL Risen said...

That's true! Depends on CI Users who will be able to RESPECT any of us, the Deaf who have no good and poor English skils that will be WONDERFUL Deaf Unity in Martin Luther King's Dream!

Karen Mayes said...

Echoing iammine...

Beautiful speech, spoken from heart.

I am glad to see that the CI community is reaching out, showing the desire to co-exist with us...

chillygurlz said...

Hello Barb... i do agree that just cuz a person has CI, we should not reject them. they may not had a choice cuz the parents decided for them or they just wanted CI to hear sometimes and an hearing aid is not a option for them sometimes. i wish deaf community was not soo divided by categories of "ASL pro only" or whatever else. we should combine and learn from eachother. I enjoy watching ur vlogs and everyone's else vlogs cuz then i learn new things and when i make vlogs, it helps me improve my sign skills since i don't have any other deaf ppl to communicate with in person.

brenster- said...

good vlog-

from my observation and after watching your vlog, it just came to me. keep in mind, it's not an intention to defend the strong reaction from the deaf community on CI but it is very possible that one small reason is due to cross-cultural conflict.

as we all already know that we are a close-knit community, some deaf members are well known for their bluntness. it is possible that natural instinct led to some members to react too quickly, yet too strongly for hearing people. the hearing way is not used to this type of strong confrontation. so naturally that drove the parents away but it is not a good reason to lash out on the deaf community for that.

it does not mean that the strong reaction of "rejection" is acceptable. i think, we as deaf community could offer support to each other by having dialogues with them, discussing about the importance of accepting one another, etc etc. you are already doing that on your vlog, and we just continue to encourage one another on the inside.

it's quite encouraging to see that 75% responded "no" to reject ci users. it shows that we have succeeded in our support system within our community. the other percentages show that we need to continue to reach out to others in our community to become more positive and productive members.


Anonymous said...

When the AIDS came out in 1980's, we faced the controversy.

Over 25+ years later, the medical technology have helped the AIDS and HIV patients to stay alive. The people have accepted and embraced other people who have the AIDS and HIV.

Time has changed.

When the CI birth in 1980's, the deaf community faced the controversy.

Today, we have accepted and embraced *ANY* CI people.

Of course, we have faced many different views from other people, however, we have to learn to make the coexistent with them.

Time will only tell.

BTW, congrats on your nomination from the deafread. Isn't it your first time for entering your funny story, the bat thing, into the deafread's category? That is very rare for you to make the funny story in your blog. My boy, Casper will take a good care of your old bat. ;-)

White Ghost

LaRonda said...

Brab, this is what makes you one of the best Deaf Advocates around! Beautiful.

(* Kindly take note, Mr. Rohem. Not all Deaf people are against change. Gary Brooks was doing a spoof on you as well as the other nominees in his category for v/blog awards. Gary's spoof is not representative of an entire Deaf population or their views as a whole about change in our world.)

~ LaRonda

Virginia said...

I don't think there is much more that I can say that hasn't already been expressed here, Barb.

Beautiful job, as always.

Virginia L. Beach
aka "Ocean"
Deaf Pagan Crossroads

mishkazena said...

What a beautiful message, Barb. I hope we all will become united, too :)

Li-Li's mom said...

Lovely message and so eloquently expressed! Beth

Banana Patch said...

It has fascinated me for years, this controversy.
What the Deaf community has not discussed, nor even considered is those who have been Deaf for most of their life, mastered ASL, embraced DeafHood, and decided to get a CI, and then have become CDI's (Certified Deaf Interpreters)
They are the best "voicers/interpreters" that the deaf community can possibly have. They are better than hearing interpreters in many situations.
Why, you may ask? Because they have DeafHood in them. They KNOW the Deaf Culture in-and-out, and they have no trouble reading ASL (which many hearing interpreters have trouble with!)
Yet, the Deaf community wants to bash CI users. Folks need to consider the WHOLE picture, before they continue bashing.
Thanks for your post!

John Lestina --- said...

Good vlog, smile!

DeafKathy (Wilson) said...

Interesting views of three sections of opinions. Glad you brought up with percentages, it helps us know the facts whats going on out there about CI.

Good vlog!

Anonymous said...

I notice that some commentaries write some words in ASL is always an option that seems to imply it isn’t required.

My Deaf brother, hard of hearing sister and I were fighting over having made fun of moving mouth incorrectly and made fun of moving in gesture with each other and hurt each other’s feelings in the house. First, this was the reason that my sisters though it was one of the best levels of high reading and writing in the mainstream school. Second, this was the reason that my brother could speak with his voice while dropping sign language. It was my first Spanish when I was adopted as a child. I poked fun at him showing off his oral speech and then mocked on her hearing aids covered with her hair

We, as adults, share family unity and we respect each other in option ASL communication. We eventually made the decision that we ejected out of SEE and SimCom.


Jean Boutcher said...

Bonjour, Barb!

Beauté! Your blog-vlog is delivering such an inspiring message! Myself, I do not reject any cochlear implantée. If their strictly monolingual or small-minded hearing parents reject their deaf children's birthright (natural) language, it is they who may end up sending them to a green couch down the road. A psychiatrist would hear implantées sob and say, "I cannot understand a spoken language of any hearing stranger of any walk of life in any corner of the globe," and, in turn, he would lift his head to high heaven, "Nihil sub sole novum."


David said...

Hi Barb,

Wow your discussion about cochlear implant and ASL is almost the same one I just finished recently and plan to edit it and post it in my vlog sometime tonight or tomorrow the latest.

Your comment is the one that we all need the most and we will continue to preserve our culture and ASL.

Will do that but I may have made some more clips related to ASL
and infants.


Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Beautiful post...thank you, Jodi (Jordan's mom)

GalaxyAngelz said...


Can you look into the uk/England.. Their goal wipe the Deaf Community and no Deaf genes.. How can you feel deal with other people's goal..

I really like your ideas perfect comment.. but concern about the future what up their store for everyone (Deaf Community)? Look at the England/UK.. Can you care explains us.? Will you try exposed them and open mind understand relationship colors as same thing goes for Martin Luther King celebration..(MLK's dream). Actually I'm not American citizen, and pure Canadian here..
So um, Can you fill me in and message me. ok
Thanks for your time.

Deb Ann said... (I wrote about Unity)

Hello Barb!
I'm very touched! I do believe in Unity. I wrote about unity on my blog.

I agree when you said its part of tech processing.
Hearing aids = TTD (old fashioned)
Cochlear Implants = VIDEO PHONE
(new tech)
It's just the tech processing, and that we live through the changes of tech stuff.
ASL is the most beautiful language for everyone! I just want to add something: My hearing parents use it often when they talk to each other in the church, library, and when they are in their cars without rolling down the windows to speak. They speak to each other secretly front of their relatives or people at the hospital when they don't want them to hear what they say.
ASL is great for hearing parents and their child or children with CI and they can use it anytime. ;)

Amy said...

I completely agree what you were saying!

We need to hear more stories -

Stories help us to heal.
Stories help us to understand.
Stories help other people to see how we feel.
Stories help to find common ground.
Stories help to empower ourselves.
Stories help to promote ourselves.

Your story and my story is not the same, we are unique.

We have something in common, our stories may have similar theme, then let the people see the theme themselves.

Stories do heal.

Let's tell our story!

Amy Cohen Efron

Tales from the CI Gal said...

It was beautiful blog posting. I hope to encounter the 75% who will not reject me because of my CIs. The problem is the 25% who do have such strong opinions that it causes me to fear rejection from the Deaf Community. It is very difficult to be deaf and not apart of the community because of a choice I made. I love my CIs, but should I explain myself daily. It is time to get past that and on to healing. I hope with the MLK holiday here that others see the person not the assistive technology.

Anonymous said...

That part of you said are right about the person CI or hearing aid to take it off and they are still deaf anyway and that is true yes that is fact I believe it.
Even when "age get older and older as still getting lose hearing as that is part of life.

Those any person have different type of deaf issue like H/H , deaf, CI , Hearing aid and losing hearing by age getting older as were before was H/H. Those whose were in eager to learn in motivation with ASL to keep up in communicate each other in no matter what....because that is part of like DEAF FAMILY each other in their need with ASL grow in deaf community ...also Coda or Hearing Spouse With deaf husband or wife ....that is fine .... No problem. This is part repect in deaf communtiy unity.

Now that is my main concern big TARGET ON HEARING people or parent is still taking advantage with CI or Hearing Aid on Deaf people.

Because CI and Hearing Aid is not perfect to hear clear at all so hearing parent want them to wear it for their advantage themself and not want to use ASL.

Best way when hearing parent is around with deaf people .... I recommend deaf people to take it the CI wire or Hearing Aid OFF OFF OFF so that way make the parent to LEARN IT LEARN IT in OUR WAY WITH ASL. It is time to wake them up for the world change it.

Deaf, CI, Hard of Hearing, hearing loss as we are always always always using our VISUALIZE ON ASL is the answer.

One day my parent inlaw ask me where is your hearing aid and I said where is your hands sign.

I am VERY VERY VERY tired with hearing parent to tell us what to do. I am sick of it.


Abbie said...

This deserve a round of clapping! I believe in unity and walking hand in hand and all that jazz!

This is a huge message that needs to be portrayed in ever which way.

Bobby said...

Hey Barb,
You did good job and Thumbs up!!
sorry,I hate to ask you question and silly question so I want you to look left my own third comment under Bobby L in Kokonut Pundit " When Deaf People Attack-a daily grind?" or You won't to look my comment in there then that is fine and no problem. if you can delete my comment then no problem. I want to respect you and I did not mean negative and tried challenge or try explain. shut my mouth up. what do you think about my third comment?
Bobby L. :-)

Bobby said...

sorry me wrong so not third comment so my comments more in there.
Bobby L.

deafhoney said...

I've read those videos on and it's helpful to me. Deafromance It is a pretty deaf dating site for friends, love, romance....It has many interesting feature. Hot "Video" is just one part.

kw said...

Well said!! :-)

mochame said...

(Long-short story); I did my vlog about "Deaf CI don't want to be around deaf people in my former school, my former good friend (ci) and i grew together when she left in our deaf school there when she was younger about 12-13 year old, I stayed in deaf school until i was senior year to graduated there. I did not know she has ci, She told one of our deaf alumni that will never go visit deaf again, She has own hearing world. She should realized that she still DEAF. The reason why she left because of other deaf students picked her almost everyday, she had enough!

MLK has powerful speech about "I HAVE A DREAM", Deaf Community need get together than divided groups, UNITY will make it happen!

Kevin said...


You ought to move to New York City. The Deaf community here is very cohesive.

MBB said...

Good Vlog ~ I have no problems with CImplantees, as long as they are respectful toward our ASL and Deaf culture. What about Deaf parents having their Deaf children CI? Are they accepted in the Deaf community? Are they looked down just because they had their Deaf children CI?

Jeanne Ward said...

I had great time watching that video. And I think I will going to visit this blog more often for more videos just like that.

hearing device Royal Oak MI