TIL there are individuals actively advocating against cochlear implant surgery. They consider the possibility of curing deafness a form of “ethnic” genocide as such an event would lead to the destruction of a unique population of people with a linguistic culture onto themselves. | Amazing Articles
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TIL there are individuals actively advocating against cochlear implant surgery. They consider the possibility of curing deafness a form of “ethnic” genocide as such an event would lead to the destruction of a unique population of people with a linguistic culture onto themselves.

- til there are individuals actively advocating against cochlear implant surgery they consider the possibility of curing deafness a form of ethnic genocide as such an event would lead to the destruct 520x600 - TIL there are individuals actively advocating against cochlear implant surgery. They consider the possibility of curing deafness a form of “ethnic” genocide as such an event would lead to the destruction of a unique population of people with a linguistic culture onto themselves.

TIL there are individuals actively advocating against cochlear implant surgery. They consider the possibility of curing deafness a form of “ethnic” genocide as such an event would lead to the destruction of a unique population of people with a linguistic culture onto themselves.

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53 Comments


  1. averybritishbloke

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I have a cochlear implant. Had it installed aged 5, now 26.
    It had vastly improved my life, it allowed me to live a life like a normal functioning human. Working in a demanding career in the film industry. So the implant did help and I always will recommend it to those without.

    However, I wouldn’t want my child to come into this world deaf. It’s not something I want to see my child face, having dealt with it myself.

    Reply

  2. CletusCanuck

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    This is actually a thing that *some* deaf parents have fought in the courts to do: Engineer a designer deaf child.

    [Lesbian couple have deaf baby by choice](https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/08/davidteather)

    [This couple want a deaf child. Should we try to stop them?] (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/mar/09/genetics.medicalresearch)

    [Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/health/05essa.html)

    [Why Some Parents Choose to Have a Deaf Baby](https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ypwa5j/how-reproductive-tech-could-threaten-or-preserve-deaf-culture)

    [Designing Deaf Babies and the Question of Disability, The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Vol 10 Issue 3, 1 July 2005](https://academic.oup.com/jdsde/article/10/3/311/413387)

    Reply

  3. blatantninja

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Fuck them. If they want to stay deaf fine but they shouldn’t be denying other people the option

    Reply

  4. Comatose_Cucumis

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    These types exist in every category of people. They feel a certain way, therefore other people shouldn’t have the option of going against what they believe.

    Reply

  5. Korlis

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I feel the same way about Leprosy. Those people had their own way of life, their own fashion, even entire colonies! And we’ve basically completely wiped out this culture with our aggressive and inhuman medicical technology.

    Reply

  6. darxide23

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    You want a TIL? A lot of people don’t realize how elitist some deaf people can be. There are entire insular communities where people won’t associate with the “hearing” and will only date/marry people who are deaf congenitally because they want their kids to be deaf, or in other cases they’ll only adopt deaf children. Most of the time, these extreme types won’t allow their children to learn how to speak even though deaf people can learn to speak perfectly clearly.

    Reply

  7. Vanetia

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Just so people are aware, these implants are not magic devices that work for everyone let alone the same way for each person. They can help, and it’s better to do it when younger (which is a major sticking point–the best time to do it is before the child is old enough to decide for themselves if they want it.)

    https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/CochlearImplants/ucm062843.htm

    There are pros and cons to these devices. While I think people should always have the choice to use them, if anyone wants to argue about it, they should do so with an understanding of these beyond “they let deaf people hear!”

    Reply

  8. zrt4116

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    My neighbor is deaf and has cochlear implants. They totally improve the quality of life for him. He was lucky enough to get them when he was two (he’s 18 now), so he’s spent the vast majority of his life with them.
    A few summers back when my family and I️ went to Mount Rushmore, there was a van parked next to us, and the entire van had messaged written on with window paint advocating against the use of cochlear implants. They were getting out of the car around the same time and had pamphlets on how cochlear implants were a revolting invention designed to (as the title of the post says) be a form of ethnic genocide. As soon as my family saw them, we bolted the other way.

    Reply

  9. Qyxitt

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I would by no means call myself an expert, and I cannot speak for the Deaf community itself, but as a person who has taken several sign classes and has D/deaf friends – there is some merit to the overarching argument here. Every community does have people who fall on the extreme end of the spectrum, this is one of those (but it is not without merit). The title here fails to mention that the word ‘genocide’ is used in the article because this act could fit the *definition* of genocide.

    Getting that out of the way, it is important to point out that Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants are not a cure. Hearing Aids amplify sound, while a Cochlear Implant essentially is intended to bypass a person’s natural Cochlea (the hearing organ). Cochlear implants are not perfect – they are far, far, far from it. They may give a person with profound sensorineural hearing loss some ability to hear, but it is not great. ([Example](https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/cochlear-implants-hearing-aids-sound-like/) Plus, there are many added risks, because it is typically recommended that this be done as early as possible to assist children with language acquisition. Therefore, very young children are being subjected to brain surgery, which carries inherent risks. One such risk is complete distruction of current natural hearing on that side – this is necessary for the surgery. While these are current issues, they may be addressed with future enhancements in medicine or technology.

    Now, in addressing the cultural aspect of this. There is a Deaf culture; it is very vibrant and has unique facets. One of the major arguments in favor of the Deaf community is that often the medical perspective completely ignores the cultural aspects. Doctors will often recommend that children with CIs not be taught sign language because this could harm spoken language acquisition. This can cut off D/deaf children from their Deaf family or local community (think how it is for Deaf kids with hearing parents that never learn sign – there is a clear linguistic disconnect). All of this harks back to a time when schools for the deaf would put oven mitts on kids hands or tape them up to stop them from signing. This is issue not clear cut. Further, just because a person has an implant does not mean that they will be able to accurately pick up complete spoken language, and signing can be very useful to supplement communication.

    While Cochlear Implants are great for some people, they pose inherent risks to the people too, and their existence is very misunderstood by the hearing world. Hearing people share those feel-good videos of CIs being turned on and a baby hearing for the first time…but they fail to recognize that that kid a) went through a brain surgery that costs 10s of thousands of dollars and b) that this is not a ‘fix.’ They will still be deaf and still have hearing (and/or speaking) difficulties. It is dangerous for a dominant culture to assume that Deaf people can be ‘cured.’ This ideology poses a threat to the way Deaf people are able to function in the world (ie, receiving comments like “Why don’t you go get fixed?” as if it were cheap, easy, and perfect.

    I’m not here to argue about this, just thought I would throw some perspectives into the ring. As a hearing person, I don’t get to take a side. Any Signers have thoughts?

    EDIT: clarity/grammar

    Reply

  10. aronnyc

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Check out the documentary *Sound and Fury*

    Reply

  11. abruce123412

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    My ASL teachers actually go into this a lot, for some people, it feels artificial and fake, and for others, it makes them feel as if they are no longer a part of the Deaf community. and the Deaf community is tight

    Reply

  12. WillPukeForFood

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    A little off-topic, but this reminds me of an NPR interview with a geneticist I heard years ago in which the geneticist recalled a discussion he had with a pregnant dwarf couple who wanted to know if their unborn child was also a dwarf. They were being really cagey, and he eventually realized they wanted to abort the fetus if it **wasn’t** a dwarf.

    Reply

  13. Enoch_Root19

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    My mother was profoundly deaf and got a cochlear about 20 years ago. She was 50 years old. I was just out of college and living a couple states away. It changed her life and our entire family’s life for the better. It gave her a sense of freedom and independence she had never before had.

    At that point I had never EVER spoke to my mother on the phone in my entire life. My (hearing) dad usually had to interpret for us. Once the implant had healed and was turned on she phoned me out of the blue. I literally didn’t recognize her voice. I had to ask who was calling. Once I recognized her I wept. I wept for joy. I could now, after all these years, simply talk to my mom on the phone. What a blessing.

    Sadly, she did lose some deaf friends over it. They said the same thing about ‘betraying’ her deaf culture.

    Reply

  14. lydiarose143

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    As a hearing person myself, I simultaneously understand and am disappointed by a lot of these comments. I am currently in my third year of American Sign Language at Stanford and have written two research papers on cochlear implants, so I do have a good amount of background knowledge on both sides of the issue. I am also in a Disability Studies class right now, which is less focused than Deaf Studies but does touch on deafness and many of the issues that come along with it.

    What I think is important to note in the case of cochlear implants is the difference between an adult deciding to get an implant compared to young children or even infants being implanted. Most deaf people are not against the use of cochlear implants in general but rather disagree with the phenomenon of hearing parents implanting their children very young in order to make them as “hearing” as possible. Many of us have seen these videos of babies “hearing” for the first time and have positive emotions associated with them.

    The reality is that cochlear implants are not a cure for deafness. They will not make a deaf person a hearing person. The sound is garbled and difficult to make out in situations with a lot of background noise, and there will be situations where the implant will need to be turned off. This experience can be very isolating and problematic in children who are given no other form of communication such as visual language (ie ASL or other sign languages). Most parents who have their children surgically implanted will make them attend oral schools where sign language is forbidden and kids are forced to read lips and speak instead. Though this may seem beneficial at first, the research actually shows that this slows the learning and development of the children whereas sign languages come very naturally. The research also shows that these kids have issues when it comes to self-identification due to living in between two worlds – the hearing world and the deaf world – without ever being fully in either.

    Also, the surgery is painful and can lead to various complications. This is why some adults (such as my ASL professor) have chosen to refrain from getting an implant. Beyond that, cochlear implants don’t work for all types of deafness, so I don’t see this single technology ever getting rid of 100% of dead people anyway. Hope this brings up a few things you all may have not considered previously! I was once the same as many of you who can’t imagine the downsides to a cochlear implant, but it is usually worthwhile to listen to those who are actually experiencing that which some may only read articles or watch the occasional video about.

    Reply

  15. Sletts

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Shit, if you want to be deaf more power to you, but actively denying someone the right to hear is all sorts of fucked.

    Reply

  16. necromundus

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I mean, there’s nothing *preventing* you from communicating in sign language

    Reply

  17. Choppergold

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever…heard

    Reply

  18. nuclearbroccoli

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    “Ethnic genocide”… Seriously?

    People with missing limbs shouldn’t get artificial replacements either by that logic. If you yourself are deaf, then feel free to decide for yourself whether you want it or not. If you aren’t deaf, then shut the hell up, because it’s none of your business.

    Reply

  19. iamthespoke

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I kind of understand where they’re coming from… but also, just because you can hear doesn’t mean you have to give up signing. They could focus on promoting accessibility and sign language for everyone instead of preventing people from hearing.

    Reply

  20. eternalsunshine325

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I read somewhere ( I don’t remember where) that we are coming to a point in time where dwarfism is being eradicated from the gene pool and will eventually go extinct. I wonder how these people feel about that.

    Reply

  21. Sanct1us

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I went completely deaf at 26 and these things saved my life. Try living in a world where you can’t use a phone to talk or can only communicate with 0.1 of the population. And that’s when you finally do learn sign language.

    Reply

  22. SyFyWrestler

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    In American Sign Language, these folks combine the sign for evil with the sign for cochlear, and it ends up looking like fangs going into the neck.

    Reply

  23. screenwriterjohn

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    This has been the Marlee Matlin role for over a decade. Not even joking. She always plays the deaf woman fighting against the C implant.

    Reply

  24. the_babblingbrooke

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Sign Language Interpreter here.

    Let me clear some things up:

    First, cochlear implants have helped many people and that’s great but they do not work for everyone. There are people who get CIs and they fail. Or they get them and they’re hearing loss improves but not to the extent that language access is actually attainable.

    Second, the people who have success with CIs do so because they have had an extreme amount of auditory training. This is where they work closely with an audiologist to retrain their brain to process and understand these “sounds” and then apply that to language acquisition. For people/families that do not have the time, resources or education to do this, they are left with no way to process the sounds which leads to more confusion and the inability to acquire language. (And if you need a real life example of this, just stop by my school and I’ll introduce you to the DOZENS of students I work with currently who fall into this category)

    Third, the people advocating against CIs do so because they have been exposed to a unique and beautiful culture developed around American Sign Language (the native language for someone who is deaf) and see how beneficial that language and culture are for many others. These people are not stupid, uneducated or misguided. They are people just like you and I advocating for the success of Deaf children and people everywhere knowing that American Sign Language and immersion in Deaf Culture is the best way to accomplish that.

    Reply

  25. sbot_crafter

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Here’s my take:

    There’s this tiny community of people who are forced together because they can’t easily talk to anyone else. Suddenly, the technology exists to allow them to do exactly that. They start to use it, but there’s a problem. Those who adopt the tech are no longer forced to be around those who do not. According to conventional thought, they will communicate in the easiest fashion: sound. The lonely deaf nerds freak out; they no longer have a captive audience. They have to compete not just within a tiny set of people, but with everyone in hearing society. It’s a terrifying concept.

    Unfortunately, that’s life. People should talk to you because they choose to, not because there isn’t anyone else around.

    Reply

  26. markrod420

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Yes. There are morons advocating for all kinds of shit. Always had been. Back in the day we just fucking told them to fuck off and ignored them like rational intelligent individuals.

    Reply

  27. WildBilll33t

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    “I had to walk uphill both ways, so everyone else should too!”

    Reply

  28. PoorEdgarDerby

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I really don’t feel like I can comment on this. I get why they’d be against it but I really think the science is amazing.

    Reply

  29. heyjohnnyjohnny

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Kind of like how the lepers didn’t want to get rid of leprosy because, oh wait, I’m wrong. They definitely wanted to get rid of the disease asafp. My bad.

    Reply

  30. Poemi

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    *Begun, the gene wars have…*

    Reply

  31. wizholt7

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I mean, it’s not like they are forced to have the implant…you can stay deaf if you want to.

    Reply

  32. deepestcreepest

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Yup. Impossible to make the world perfect without someone thinking you’re ruining everything. This is just how it is. Brave New World.

    Reply

  33. CuthbertTheDestroyer

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    *unto. Sorry, I wouldn’t be so picky normally, but it’s rare that you can use “unto” in a sentence.

    Reply

  34. screenwriterjohn

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    This has been the Marlee Matlin role for over a decade. Not even joking. She always plays the deaf woman fighting against the C implant.

    Reply

  35. rain_can_be_found

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    people who don’t have something, don’t understand what they are missing. what else is new?

    Reply

  36. ksn29

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I took sign language in college from a Deaf woman who is a successful funeral home director. It takes a special person to support those in grief each day and despite a language barrier (it’s not really a problem as she can mouth words in English which makes her easy to understand), she communicates her care for them so well and she is well-loved in the community. Her Deaf friends came to our class to sign with us (we were future speech-language pathologists and audiologists at the time). They asked if we would want to help babies who are born deaf learn to hear. It did get me thinking…my job as an SLP is to help people communicate, and these people I met were excellent communicators (and very happy). They didn’t need my help. I don’t necessarily think they’d be terrible for refusing cochlear implants for their children (not speaking about babies born to Hearing parents).

    However, my professor did joke that she tries to pull the “I’m Deaf” card when she gets pulled over. So maybe she can’t be trusted 🙂

    Reply

  37. SLPCO

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I’m very pro cochlear implant but I have worked with the Deaf community in a few different positions so I feel like I somewhat understand the concerns. I work with a kid that is hearing with 2 deaf parents. He refuses to sign so they have limited communication and I think it really impacted the family dynamics. I don’t think this is the norm but it does make me think about how I would feel if my kids were automatically part of a culture I wasn’t.
    The difference is I feel like I would want to give my kids every advantage, including ones I didn’t have. Cochlear implants are that advantage for many kids.

    Reply

  38. greatgildersleeve

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    While we’re at it, let’s bring back smallpox too!

    Reply

  39. dreadedgrin

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    It seems selfish to want to deny others of a cure. While the quality of life would deteriorate for a few (gradually), many more people could have a better life much sooner.
    It seems like some people hate to see good things happen to others if they can’t also somehow benefit.

    Reply

  40. VikingRevenant

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    If you don’t like the idea of it, don’t get it. Don’t fuck it up for the people that do want it, though. Dumbasses.

    Reply

  41. horseyhorseyhorsey

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Being disabled shouldn’t be an aspiration, or a requirement for your children when the technology exists to eradicate it.

    Reply

  42. Chrys_Ippus

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    To some in the hearing impaired communities it would be roughly the same, to us, if a person with good hearing decided to have it sergically removed. The hearing impaired culture isnt like that of other types of disabilities. For one, the core of it is made up of people who do not see a lack of hearing as a disability. For another, they created a community where the ability to hear is barely an advantage; especially with today’s technology. These changes influence the manner in which they interact and communicate to the point that a distinct culture has developed. Many different types of sign language are, individually, considered to be full complete languages. The hearing impaired even still enjoy music, though the focus then becomes in feeling the vibrations rather than hearing them.

    Ultimately I have opinions on the subject but they are of no baring so whatever. But that might shed a bit more light on why they feel that way.

    Reply

  43. Ellthan

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Tfw you got so little of a personality you form your identity around a disability

    Reply

  44. Moose_Hole

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    You wouldn’t destroy leppards would you?

    Reply

  45. RabbitRobotica

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    This may be because I’m a hearing person and I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I don’t think of deafness as some terrible disability that needs to be “cured”. So you need a different alarm clock and need to learn lip reading. Everyone has to work around something. But if one of my children were deaf I wouldn’t try to correct it. He or she is perfect the way they are.

    When my child grows up they can do whatever they want to their body.

    Reply

  46. Blitzerboi502

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    These people have to find a new hobby.

    Reply

  47. TheLoneFunman

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    2017 in a nutshell.

    Reply

  48. Here_B3_Dragon

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    It’s true, remember the great polio genocide, what we lost with all these healthy people.

    Reply

  49. trav1th3rabb1

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    The new wave of anti vaxers

    Reply

  50. [deleted]

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    [deleted]

    Reply

  51. Ashenox

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Why do they care if deaf people choose to get the implant or not? I wasn’t aware you could self genocide yourself. This is all very confusing to me.

    Reply

  52. sbot_crafter

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

    If you don’t want the sense, that’s fine. Just leave everyone else out of it, OK?

    Reply

  53. Anonymous

    November 10, 2017 at 5:24 am

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