Deafness, deafness, and tech

I got into a little twitterflict with Maki a while back; he linked to an article that talks about how you should not share viral videos on the subject of deaf persons reacting with joy upon receiving a cochlear implant, which I find to be a bit of a silly perspective. I don’t want to seem insensitive to those who identify as deaf. But clearly these people don’t, and the wonder of modern technology and their specific joy should not be off-limits simply because someone else has built that into their own identity.

This gets into a few things that I have had to think about a great deal over the years, but the main one is my mom, who is getting more and more hard of hearing as time goes on.  My paternal grandfather was very close to deaf at the end of his life, so there’s that, too. And I have some kind of hearing or cognitive difficulty myself, which sometimes means I have to try to make sense of someone’s words after the fact.

But mom’s the big one – she has had hearing aids as long as I can remember, and probably should have had a different kind as at least some of her loss is conductive rather than sensorineural. I have been reading about cochlear implants for over a decade now, hopeful that someday they’ll reach the level of verisimilitude required to makes them as good or better a choice as hearing aids for people who are at the higher echelons of the deafness scale.

We’ve talked about it many times over the years. I’ve never had the sense that she really felt the need to have an implant, which probably makes sense – her real difficulties are in noisy/crosstalk-ish situations – but I can’t help wishing I could dial the technology forward about 20 years sometimes. The future of neural prosthetics is the kind of thing that makes for spine-tingling reading.

And on the other side, while I acknowledge that this could be me “being the problem”, I don’t really “get” how a person objects to a woman hearing her son for the first time. It’s a mystery to me.