Read the following article from the NY Times, featuring WGSS’ very own, Laura Mauldin.
A Clearer Message on Cochlear Implants
Portrayals of this technology as a “miracle” for deaf people overlook its potential downsides and challenges.
By Sara Novic
At the start of every semester, before we dive into the course’s syllabus, I stand before my university students and let them ask me anything. Some ask about my writing career, grill me on the meaning of my tattoos or request pictures of my dog. But at least a few students each year ask me why I don’t have a cochlear implant and whether I want to get one.
This answer is, for me, an easy one. “No,” I say. “I’m happy with how I am now.”
I explain that deafness offers me a unique perspective on the world, or joke that I like it quiet when I’m writing, but I always end with a fact: “It would be a big commitment — learning to use a cochlear implant takes a lot of work.”
In my teaching, depending on the class, I use a combination of American Sign Language with interpreters, my own voice and lip reading when appropriate. I also use hearing aids that give me basic sound information. My experience is far from exceptional. Most deaf people use multiple methods of communication and technological support to interact with the hearing world.
It’s no secret that a heated debate over cochlear implantation has evolved in recent years, one frequently reduced to an either-or battle between sign language and speech. The reality is much more nuanced, and the more we understand about it, the better.
Read more from the article here.