(3) Fri Apr 08 2005 17:19: Yesterday I watched a video from the Library called Sound and Fury. It was an Academy Award Nominee for best documentary, and it is about a deaf family weighing the pros and cons of their 5 yr old getting a cochlear implant so that she can hear. I didn't know that there was a 'cure' for deafness. I also wasn't aware that the National Deaf Association was against parents implanting their children (they prefer the child decide if they want it, but by the time they are that old it is almost impossible for them to develop near natural speech). It was fascinating to see the deaf culture at work, and all the different aspects of deaf life. It is a very complicated issue I suppose, more so than I thought before the film. For example, one set of grandparents of a family were both deaf and the other side was not. The deaf side was against the cochlear implant, and they felt rejected and that they didn't love the child for who he was. There were so many fascinating tangents and the whole film was enthralling. I recommend this movie 1000 percent.
Posted by Joe Walch at Sat Apr 09 2005 18:41
I haven't seen the movie, but I had heard good things about it though. It is interesting to look at the different sides of deafness, which is very different from something like blindness. There are some cures for deafness, but that is only if you have a working nervous system that can take up the impulses from the implant. Most of those people are deaf because of deformed/unfunctional hair cells in the cochlea, or problems with the stapes/tympanic membrane. Deafness is also very much of a "culture" thing. A person who is deaf cannot communicate as easilly with the hearing, and are thus isolated. Many times, they give up even trying to associate with people who can hear, and they seek out extensive networks of deaf people: some of which can be quite exclusionary, elitist, or just plain inaccessible to the hearing. The number of people who seek out implants further shrinks the network of the "deaf culture" and therefore some feel that implants work against those who are incurably (so far) deaf by further limiting their associations. Lots of people feel very strongly about this. There are, however, some people who are hearing, who can still be a part of the deaf culture, and there are many who choose to do so.I know that the blind would be very open to technological advances that help adapt, and if there is a cure then they are open to exploring those options. The difference between the deaf and the blind is the fact that people who are blind are just that, people who are blind and those who are well-adapted don't think of it as a particularly salient part of their personality. The anti-cochlear implant people who are deaf on the other hand have a deafness identity that is a part of them, and they feel that people getting implants reduce the perceived quality of life of deaf people. Sorry about my stream-of-conscience diatribe. If only it resembled the quality of the original Fauknerian namesake of the movie...
Posted by Kristen at Mon Apr 11 2005 17:12
Yes, the deaf family who decided not to get the implant not only rejected that but they even moved to a part of Maryland to a city with mostly deaf people. I can't blame them b/c they loved the fact that people at the grocery store could sign so they could understand, but they basically went into their own world and isolated themselves from society. The mother couldn't even read a recipe on her own without help. It is just sad, in the movie it said that most of them come out of HS with a 4th grade reading ability. I for one could not imagine what it would be like to not communicate with people.
Posted by Louise at Mon Apr 18 2005 16:10
I would agree that blind culture (if there is one) is different from the deaf culture, but there are also some similarities too.Yes, I think on the whole, blind people are open to technological advancement, but on the other hand, the motivations for it can sometimes be questionable. For example, I would object to someone spending their lifetime seeking out miracle cures because they felt that blindness is a tragedy. I'm a little offended by that mentality because I feel strongly that blindness is not tragic.On the other hand, to pick up on what Joe was saying, I might consider some treatment if it were available, but only if it would make life more practical. After all, it is more convenient to do things using the same methods as the majority. But for now, learning and perfecting alternative techniques is more effective than wasting time worrying whether a cure will arrive.In short, I can understand somewhat of why some are offended by implants. It could be said that the deaf and the blind alike are seeking equality. So seeking miracle cures is a bit like turning your nose up at all that others have worked for in terms of equality, and in effect saying that you never really believed in equality. It's a tough issue.