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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture 510

First time accepted submitter Maddie Kahn (3542515) writes "Deaf culture has its own language, its own social norms, its own art forms, its own theater. But it's under threat. Why? Because most parents of deaf children now choose to use technology to help their kids hear. This piece explores why a revolutionary technology stands accused of killing a culture."
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

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  • Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:47PM (#46709517)

    I mean seriously. There is no down side to going from not hearing to hearing except for having to listen to contemporary "music".

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

      by narcc ( 412956 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709553) Journal

      This. Deaf "culture" is significantly responsible for many of the problems facing the deaf community, such as the outrageously high unemployment rate, and abysmally low literacy rate, and unimaginably poor deaf schools.

      Deaf "culture" can't die soon enough.

      • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:04PM (#46709685) Homepage Journal


        • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:13PM (#46709745)

          Some parts of "Deaf Culture" do not foster literacy. They've wound up isolated, culturally and economically, by this lack. Much like the Amish, who refuse to participate in a great deal of modern technology, they wind up profoundly hampered in education and employability by their steadfast isolation.

          • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:53PM (#46710377)

            Its been 15 years. I still sign fairly well. Not as well as I used to, but I can still hold a conversation in SEE/Pidgen. I can understand ASL, but being so far out of practice, the syntax trips me up.

            Deaf culture needs to go away.

            One of its core beliefs is that hearing people exist to support deaf people. They look at hearing people as second class people.
            They look at those that get implants as traitors.

            Yes, deaf culture needs to go away.

            • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Insightful)

              by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:15PM (#46710527) Journal

              They look at those that get implants as traitors.

              That's pretty fucked up.


              • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

                by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:57AM (#46711731) Homepage

                In so many ways this mirrors black culture and I'm willing to accept down-modding for this. But it's basically true.

                1. Self-improvement is viewed as traitorous.
                2. Entitled to royal treatment and royal public assistance.
                3. Highly exclusive.
                4. Views others with suspicion and contempt.

                I think point #1 is especially important. EVERYONE, myself included, are perfectly comfortable around people who simply want to join in and be one of the crowd. We've got common interests and what have you and that's okay. We're co-workers and we can get along, work and play well together. But the moment words like "traitor" or "sell-out" get asserted by their other identity groups, things get pretty screwed up.

                I don't mean to say being black is a disability. I don't mean to say being deaf is a race. I mean to point out that identity groups can be harmful at times. ID grouping is NATURAL. I'm a man. I'm white. I'm southern. I'm [fill in the blank]. And I like to do and share things with people who are like me. That's natural. But I might also identify with groups which tend to disagree with my other ID groups such as being atheist. Being atheist does not 'require' that I hate anyone else. Being white does not require that I hate anyone else.

                But in the case of certain, let's say 'radical' members of these ID groups, they believe it IS license to hate.

                • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:32AM (#46713253)

                  To be honest, that's pretty much ALL cultures.

                • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:51AM (#46713467) Homepage Journal

                  Black culture has escape clauses, as in so many subcultures. Becoming rich but still being a hood rat--assuming you live in an area where blacks are generally hood rats and not just people with darker skin--makes you a celebrity. You got a good job--a real one, not pimpin' or drug dealin'--that makes you a traitor; but if you got a good job, flash your cash around, get highly flashy suits, drive a pimped-out car, and blast rap music, you're that rich nigga down the street that stick it to da man!

                  We can see this again and again. Remember every fucking band that ever changed their music? All your songs sound the same, you suck. Oh shit look! Metallica changed the way their songs sound! THEY ARE SELL-OUTS TO THE RECORD COMPANY! I liked them before they were cool, but now they're just RIAA mafia shills.

                  Remember gays? Those people? I had a gay friend once. There was a pride parade on campus, he went. He came back almost immediately, bitched about how they were marching into classrooms half-naked and screaming at people taking tests, and acting like militants (i.e. not-gay people are the enemy). In gay pride parades, they've historically been hostile or passive-aggressive to bisexuals. He came back with all this new information from his first participation in a gay event, and also with the experience of people shouting at him and getting angry when he said maybe they shouldn't be such assholes. Gay traitor.

                  Try being in IT and going into management. For that matter, try being an IT guy and going into infosec. Holy living hell, do IT muggles hate security engineers! These dudes used to be your crew, now you are a fucking traitor.

                  Keep towing the party line.

                • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by Joey Vegetables ( 686525 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:22AM (#46713847) Journal
                  It mirrors ghetto (NOT Black) culture. Not all Black people subscribe to the idea that victimhood is superior to empowerment, although, unfortunately, many of their self-appointed "leaders" do. And you will find plenty of the same attitude among underachieving members of the white and other minority communities as well.
                  • You mean like the poor white people who talk about accumulation of wealth and barriers of entry into the marketplace and stuff like that? I agree. It's not quite enough to explain it as "racial" or like that.

              • It is not nearly as fucked up as watching a deaf couple cry when they realize their child can hear.

                The Horror!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I believe your description is grossly exagerated. In this world, deaf people are second class citizen, no doubt. This culture is just trying to counter balance the effect to be considered everyday of your life as a second zone citizen. It can be understood that some of them don't want to let go everything that was build around them to compensate for the handicap. This is a normal and perfectly understandable reaction. What I don't understand is why are you so angry against deaf people?

              Most people without an

              • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @04:22AM (#46711833)

                Put any sectarian culture in place of "deaf culture" and it would apply just as much. The anger isn't aimed at deaf people (a common misconception amongst deaf people) but against the separatist deaf culture that this group tends to practice against the rest of the population. Being part of society is a verb, it's called "participating" and it requires you to actively engage with others. If deaf people want to be accepted, they have to participate and not choose their own culture at the expense of being isolated. Any time this sort of choice is made, it is a clear sign of dangerous sectarian behavior and it is almost always damaging to those inside the culture.

                I understand that there is certain humor that will get lost in translation and the way deaf people use other senses to compensate for their lack of hearing and it would be nice of those could be preserved. If the price for that preservation would be to withhold a minor from medical care that could enable them to be part of a hearing society, I think the parents should lose custody and the child should get proper medical care. "Special" does not always mean better, you wouldn't operate on a hearing child to make it deaf, just so it would better be able to communicate with it's deaf parents, would you? The decision to operate or not should never be about the parents culture, but about giving your child the best chances it will have in a world were the vast majority of people is able to hear one way or the other.
          • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:04AM (#46712545) Homepage

            Some parts of "Deaf Culture" do not foster literacy. They've wound up isolated, culturally and economically, by this lack. Much like the Amish, who refuse to participate in a great deal of modern technology, they wind up profoundly hampered in education and employability by their steadfast isolation.

            On the bright side: They never heard Justin Bieber.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:34PM (#46710613)

        OMG you're such an intolerant bigot!!! The answer, comrade, is to make everyone deaf.. then we can all be aurally correct!!

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709567)

      Or hell, keep using sign language on your kid even after getting the implant.

      It's only dying because people are lazy.

      • by bitt3n ( 941736 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:24PM (#46710577)

        It's only dying because people are lazy.

        I was about to write a long-winded diatribe lambasting you for this brazen slight of lazy culture but... whatever

      • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Insightful)

        by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:43AM (#46711083)

        Or hell, keep using sign language on your kid even after getting the implant.

        It's only dying because people are lazy.

        Did you listen to yourself before you wrote this?

        My thought is that anyone who was deaf and can now hear due to technology would be too busy learning about the wonderful world of sounds that we live in, hearing the voices of friends and family, exploring music, catching up on their education, etc.. None of this falls under the heading of being lazy.

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mikkeles ( 698461 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:58PM (#46709615)

      Not to forget how modern antibiotics is killing leper culture!

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      Let kids remain deaf so that we can have our own little group.

      Wow. Just listen to yourself for a moment... (ducks)

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brainboyz ( 114458 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:40PM (#46709929) Homepage

      It's not the culture, it's the supportive society and power they're lamenting the loss of. The more deaf there are the more pressure they can exert politically for support, the more people the deaf have with which to share something in common, and the more they can feel special/different/unique/etc. It's 100% selfishness on the part of the deaf community; particularly for those which cannot utilize the implants for various reasons. They're attempting to use political correctness to equate handicap to beauty instead of individuality to beauty.

      • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thunderclap ( 972782 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:20PM (#46710565)
        And that is what is so deeply wrong with political correctness. All handicaps are debilitating You are deprived of something that others have and its ability. It should never be equated for beauty considered a power or believed to be fostering a culture. These people are crippled in the worst possible way. They actually believe that makes them special. If that was true then those with PTSD, austism and having lost limbs are special too. I seriously doubt they would agree with you. (especially those who have to care for the autistic.)
        • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:14AM (#46710985) Homepage Journal

          Mental issues are different from physical ones. I can't rightly comprehend how someone who is physically unable to do something that other people can do (like see or hear) could consider that something worth preserving, but there are large communities of people with autism spectrum "disorders" who consider the way that they think and feel to be not less capable than how other people think or feel, but just different.

          It's more akin to if society said raw strength was the standard of physical ability, and agility or stamina were neat bonuses to that, but not really important; and then there were other people who were weak by the social standard but had their own physical talents less-valued by that standard, elegant dancers or endurance runners in a world where only power lifters were valued, who refuse to accept that their body's different kind of physical ability is a "disability". (We've actually got something akin to that in body-image discrimination: different healthy body types are usually adept at different kinds of physical activity, but we tend to call e.g. the stocky guy who can lift a car or walk for many miles without even tiring "fat", because he doesn't have a lean body built for running and jumping that we think of as "fit").

          In the end, if someone doesn't suffer intrinsically from a trait (thus excluding suffering due only to society's reactions to that trait), then the trait shouldn't count as a "disability" or an "illness".

          And whether it does or not, the person with that trait is still a person deserving of the same respect either way.

          • by Joey Vegetables ( 686525 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @10:30AM (#46713951) Journal
            Because I am mildly autistic (fka Asperger's) I can do a handful of things brilliantly, such as software development. Yet, it is still a handicap, and if there were some way I could become "normal" in this area, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I would very gladly give up the benefits of being good at a few things, in exchange for being able to learn how to be a friend, or to read people's emotions, or to know how to rejoice with someone who is happy or comfort someone who is sad. Or even to be able to talk to someone without inadvertently upsetting, disappointing, and hurting him or her on a regular basis. While my handicap may be mild compared to others', and while it may even be a part of God's plan for my life, I'm not going to pretend that it isn't a handicap, or that it doesn't hurt, or that it is better to be a rude, socially insensitive jerk than not to.
        • Re:Let it die (Score:4, Insightful)

          by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @04:27AM (#46711859) Journal

          or believed to be fostering a culture

          With regard to culture: deaf people have had to invent new languages since the usual sort don't work well for them. That's a neutral fact as is, in that regardless of the reasons it's trivially observable.

          Culture is not so easy to define, but a group of people sharing a common language is not a bad place to start. Culture is more finely divided than that of course, but there is a strong language component to it.

          As a result, being deaf does foster a culture in much the same way that growing up in a region speaking a given language fosters a culture: I gather sign language is a complete language in its own right, not a straightforward transliteration of English.

          It's an artefact of deafness which happens to foster a culture. I believe that's a neutral fact.

          Whether the consequences are good or bad, I'll leave to others to argue.

      • Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:19PM (#46710825)

        Close, but there's a more powerful factor than feeling "special/different/unique/etc." Money. The vast majority of the Deaf Culture advocates come from the ASL-oriented* state schools for the deaf and universities like Gallaudet. There is a very cozy relationship between the state schools and the state early intervention specialists who visit parents with informational materials. Most of these people are basically recruiters for the ASL state schools who downplay cochlear implants and related educational pathways. If the parents instead chose a cochlear implant and a (usually) private school that specializes in teaching their kid to speak and listen, then the ASL state school has one less student, less money, etc. This is big money in some states. Just drive past the local school and look at their grounds, buildings, and vehicles. My local ASL-oriented state school has a coach bus that rivals most sports teams.

        Now, look at the stats. Numerous longitudinal, NIH-funded studies show that kids who get implants early enough to take advantage of the language development window (before 5 years old, and preferably before 1 or 2) and receive intensive speech and listening instruction [] are mostly mainstreamed into regular classrooms by the K-2 range. This has a secondary effect since mainstreaming into regular schools at this age is one of the strongest indicators of literacy in deaf kids, regardless of communication method. As we all know, literacy impacts employment and independence. (Side note, Gallaudet almost lost accreditation due to poor student literacy.) Unfortunately, many ASL kids end up in the ASL state schools and generally have poor literacy when they graduate 13 years later. Remember, ASL is not English and has a completely different linguistic structure.

        The second major stat is that 90% of the kids are born to hearing parents. Aside from the better life outcomes, forcing deaf kids into ASL schools to learn a language and culture differing from their parents essentially removes parental choice from the equation. As a parent, this is seriously messed up. I should have the right, and access to information, that will allow me to raise my kid with my language and culture if I wish. This isn't an immigrant language issue either since I grew up in my society's culture and a native speaker of my society's predominant language.

        I have deep knowledge of this, both personally and from a scientific perspective. So why am I posting anon? There are Deaf Culture advocates who are particularly nasty. I have a friend who received death threats at home and wears a flack jacket in certain venues. People find their windshields greased, tires deflated, etc. Proud parents who post videos of they child's cochlear implant activations and progress on YouTube are targeted, insulted, and told they are horrible parents. Extremists pretend to be academics and reporters, but then twist interviews out of context on blog posts. The list goes on.

        Again: it comes down to money and parental choice.

        * Some state schools claim to be Bi-Bi or Total Communication. This is just propaganda. These are basically ASL instruction with token instruction in lipreading, cochlear implant use, and speaking. Imagine trying to learn to speak or listen with only a couple hours of instruction each week from instructors who are not experts in the topic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Speaking of Gallaudet University, in 2006, a deaf woman named Jane Fernandes was chosen to be president of Gallaudet. There were student protests because the students thought she didn't fit into their culture, and her appointment was rescinded.

          According to Wikipedia [], her family "chose to raise her in an oral education program, meaning her education focused on teaching her to speak." "The generations of white deaf and hearing people in my [her] family have never signed; they have always been oral people." Sh

      • "All black people are drug-crazed rapists"

        "All Polish people are stupid"

        "All Mexicans are lazy"

        I'm sure some deaf people are as cynical and mean-spirited as you say. Based on the number of deaf children who have received cochlear implants (and the number I've heard about from time to time that want their children to get them but can't afford it), I'm going to say you need to use a somewhat narrower scope there.

        (NOTE: I hope I wasn't out of line with those cracks about black, Polish and Mexican people)

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:41PM (#46709931) Journal

      I mean seriously. There is no down side to going from not hearing to hearing except for having to listen to contemporary "music".

      The technology is neither that good, nor that cheap, so 'no downsides' is a bit much; but I do find the notion that lacking access to useful world-state information would ever be a good thing rather baffling. If anything, I am always a bit disappointed that the 'visible spectrum' is as small as it is, that humans appear to lack the magnetic sensors some other species have, and so forth.

      As for the cultural aspects, it seems like it's the usual battle: somewhere between most and all cultures have an interest in continuity(or at least some new people because being the last few survivors dying off alone would pretty much suck); but continuity demands that a steady supply of children be given to the culture(and while people can achieve some degree of fluency in multiple ones, you can't be 'native' in more than a small number, given that being 'native' is pretty much a full-time job) and, by so doing, denied some or all of whatever other cultures are on hand.

      Even if you wish to assert that having an additional sense is 'different' rather than 'better, you still have the fact that 'culture' is something where network effects count. There are certainly niche cultures with interesting and unique features; but unless something about a specific culture turns standard humans into fantastic superhumans at abnormal rates, the bigger ones are going to tend to have better opportunities on tap.

      I'm certainly sympathetic to the people who get the sense that they are probably going to enjoy the notable nonpleasures of being the dwindling survivors of a dying breed; that has to suck; but I'm much less sympathetic to the notion that this entitles them to a replacement-or-better supply of new members.

    • Re:Let it die (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <xunileoj>> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:44PM (#46709951) Homepage

      I dated a girl who was a "deaf studies" major. She even got her Masters at Galludet, and is a signer somewhere on the East Coast.

      I really dodged a bullet when she broke up with me. I was seeing myself having to agree with her as to the validity of "Deaf Culture" to maintain peace in the house.

      But, seeing as she stomped my heart flat, I can say this without fear of reprisal: It's a support group, not a culture. Once technology has advanced such that it is no longer an issue, it will fade. Take that, Carrie Coffey (nee Rogers)!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:49PM (#46709541)

    What a BS reason to get angsty. Technology has enabled clidren to hear so a new generation can NOT have the problems of being deaf. Rejoice that children dont need to be deaf, rather than mourn the disappearing kludges they had to do.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:20PM (#46709795)

      i went to a deaf magnet grade school. i was a hearing kid just filling the rest
      of the building. there is such a thing as deaf culture, and it's a culture of arbitrary
      difference, just like racism defines a certain kind of (unacceptable) culture.
      and the battle ax deaf teachers sure made sure we didn't mingle with the deaf
      kids. which sucked, since one of my best friends was deaf.

      i found the same thing later on living near the deaf uni in washington dc.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709555) Journal

    What a travesty! We can't allow deaf people to hear! It will destroy their culture!

    Why don't you tell this woman you want her to be deaf again and see what she says: []

    • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:54PM (#46709583) Homepage Journal

      There are a lot of great videos of people hearing the first time do to this technology. Some of them gave me an allergy attack, or maybe there happened to be some dust in the air. I certainly was NOT sports reference!

    • Bloody hell, she looks REALLY upset that she can now hear, probably thinking of the culture she will give up, destroy these evil technical whatsits that have allowed this to happen NOW!!!

  • Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46709557) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to see deaf culture go away because there are no more deaf people.
    I'd like to see paraplegic culture go away, blind culture, Amputee culture, and furries culture. That last one may be tricky

    I wonder how many people were angry and vaccine destroying the polio culture?

    Yes I did.

    • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:58PM (#46709623)

      You don't see anyone complaining about Viagra, etc, ending the limp dick culture, do you?


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd like to see deaf culture go away because there are no more deaf people.
      I'd like to see paraplegic culture go away, blind culture, Amputee culture, and furries culture. That last one may be tricky

      I wonder how many people were angry and vaccine destroying the polio culture?

      Yes I did.

      Well, now that explains Jenny McCarthy.

      Of course, being dropped on her head at birth also explains Jenny McCarthy.

    • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:15PM (#46709763) Homepage

      I wonder how many people were angry and vaccine destroying the polio culture? Yes I did.

      Well, there are a lot of people that seem to be very angry that we're now very strongly selecting against Down's syndrome. Some 90% of the women who get tested and find out their child will have it take an abortion. It's full of the "sorting society" rhetoric and worse slippery slope arguments than /. where first they take Down's, next we'll stomp out all individuality until we all look like we came from a cloning factory. I'm sorry I'm sure they're lovely people but more people with huge handicaps, genetic diseases and so on don't have to be born into this world than necessary. In a strict variety of that, I might not have been born myself... but I wouldn't care, since I wouldn't exist. As much as I like to think I'm a special little snowflake I'm sure my mom would have had a different kid she'd love just as much.

      • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

        Selective breeding is far different than being able to fix a problem later.

      • Re:Good? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:03PM (#46710065) Homepage

        I don't think that allowing parents to select their child's traits will ever lead to "clones"; things like Down's syndrome get weeded out in 90% of cases because it's a horribly debilitating condition ensuring that parent nor offspring will never live a normal life. Physical traits, though, are in the eye of the beholder: one person making a designer baby to their idea of beauty will result in a totally different set of traits than another.

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:53PM (#46709575)
    And yes, they were adamantly supportive of the view that "for many Deaf people, every implanted child is a person stolen from their culture." But, keeping in mind that "More than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents", they are effectively laying claim to other people's children.
  • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:54PM (#46709581)

    Look what happened to polio culture. Not cool, man. Not cool.

  • by Berkyjay ( 1225604 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:55PM (#46709589)
    Yeah! And what about the loss of the tail having culture. Our ancestors were real dicks for coming out of those trees.
  • by wherrera ( 235520 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:56PM (#46709595) Journal

    ...that all cultures are equally to be valued. Otherwise, why not create more varieties of people with partial physical deficits, so as to have more such cultures?

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:56PM (#46709599)
    To be sure, deaf "culture" (never heard of it before now, incidentally) probably produces its own inspirations, its own unique achievements, its own . . . culture.

    But that loss is tremendously outweighed by the benefits of including the (previously?) deaf in the greater culture which is humanity (where they belonged all along, I think?).

  • I've got mod points (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bob_super ( 3391281 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:57PM (#46709611)

    but I can't find how to mod TFS as troll.
    Glad the comments are unanimous so far...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:58PM (#46709617)

    Cars killed horse culture.
    Airplanes killed passenger rail culture.
    Woman's rights killed (harmed) misogynistic culture.
    The civil war killed slave culture.
    The Internet killed letter-mailing culture.

    Seriously, what the fuck is the point of this?

  • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:59PM (#46709631) Homepage
    Destroyed slave culture! We must protect slavery so that our children can continue to live and thrive in slave culture! It's our moral responsibility!
  • Parallel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @07:59PM (#46709635)

    For fear of being modded down into oblivion, I'll post anonymously.

    "The very existence of cochlear implants wrongly presupposes that a deaf person is in need of fixing."

    This just smacks of self-conscious defensiveness. It is wrong.

    The very existence of cochlear implants presupposes that some people who cannot hear may want to hear - much in the same way that the very existence of prosthetic limbs presupposes that some people may wish to use [some limb]. Even better, the very existence of wheel chairs presupposes that the paralyzed may wish to move around from point A to point B.

    There is no presupposition of defectiveness in any of those products, only the presupposition that someone may wish to add new functionality to their life. If eye-implants that enable me to see in UV or IR come available, I'll jump! Not because I think I am defective, but because I think it'd be nice to enhance what I am already capable of.

    A friend of mine is an interpreter, and she has expressed many of the same concerns -- but I'd be interested in seeing numbers regarding how many in the deaf community are getting the implants. If there's already a stigma in the subculture against them, I can't imagine that this technology really poses a significant threat to the subculture.

    • Since the christaline is opaque to UV while some intraocular lenses are not, some people report that after cataract surgery, they can see in augmented colour, probably due to some sensitivity to UV.

      slashdot talked about it a while back

      So if/when the time comes to replace your christaline, make sure

  • Oh I'm so sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crioca ( 1394491 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:00PM (#46709641)
    Sorry that giving children the ability to enjoy the use of their senses is interfering with the proliferation of your culture.

    If you want to be a deaf person, that's fine by me, but it doesn't give you any moral imperative to suggest that parents should deny their children their right to hearing.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:03PM (#46709683)

    That and fear of change are the only reason to make such statements.

    I cherish the thought of killing deaf culture, just like I cherish the thought of killing the smallpox and malaria culture. I get that some are proud of what they've accomplished while deaf, but that's a selfish reason to hold against someone who chooses not to have a disability.

    Suddenly starting to hear does not detract from the accomplishments of the deaf, it just opens doors to accomplish new things and new possibilities. It doesn't make their art any less valuable or beautiful, it doesn't make their language any less valuable. My 11 month old son knows som sign language! He can hear fine, but kids can sign before they can talk! My family now knows a bit of American sign just for that alone.

    Sure, it's not going to be as common, but implants don't fix every reason for being deaf either.

    Simple fear of change is all it is.

    I understand the fear, all of us have it to some extent in some form. I fear rapid changes in technology that make me out dated and behind younger software engineers, but that's just my fears, not the end of something great. As a result, though I still fear those changes, I adapt and take on a different roll from that 20 something, code for 72 hours straight until I can't see straight age to leading those 20 something's and guiding them with my experience so that they can be more effective.

    I don't know what that means for the deaf, but I'm certain those that remain have other things of value ... Being deaf didn't make them worthless, neither will implants. The fact that they can create culture without the ability to hear is proof enough of their alternative skills.

  • by JDAustin ( 468180 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:07PM (#46709701)

    I will get down modded for this, but how about a testimony from a actual user of a cochlear implant (Rush Limbaugh in this case).

    CALLER: Hey. I'm just wondering, when you listen to music with your hearing aid, how's it sound?
    RUSH: Music?
    CALLER: Yeah, like if you're listening to music on an iPad or something?
    RUSH: Well, not very good. I cannot listen to music that I've never heard before and identify the melody.
    CALLER: Oh.
    RUSH: I have a cochlear implant. It doesn't have nearly the sensitivity of the human ear, it's not even close.
    CALLER: I was just wondering.
    RUSH: Like violins or strings sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
    CALLER: Oh, well, I was just wondering.
    RUSH:What I have to do, I can still listen to music, but it has to be music that I knew and that I've heard before I lost my hearing. And what happens is that my brain, fertile mind, provides the melody. I actually am not hearing the melody, and the way I can prove this to you, sometimes it will take me, even a song that I know, it will take me 30 seconds to identify it if I don't know what it is. Now, if I'm playing a song off iTunes and the title is there and it starts then I can spot it from the middle, but if I'm listening to a song from the beginning, and I don't know what it is, it sometimes can take me 30 seconds to recognize it, if I knew it before. But the quality of music that I hear is less than AM radio, in terms of fidelity. I can turn the bass up on an amplifier and I don't hear any difference at all. I can feel the floor vibrate, but I don't hear any more bass. I can turn highs up and I can hear the difference in the highs, but on the low end I actually cannot -- (interruption) I'm getting a note here that says: "You're not missing anything. There aren't any melodies in music today." (laughing) At any rate, you adapt to it. I've adapted.

    The worst part of my hearing is being in a crowd. Like right now, I hear myself as well as I heard myself when I could hear. If I'm talking to one other person in a quiet room I can comprehend 90-95% of what they say depending on how fast they're speaking. There are some words that sound alike. But you add room noise, like if Kathryn and I are watching TV and she wants to talk to me about what we're watching, I have to hit pause or the mute 'cause I cannot hear what she's saying. Even if she's sitting two feet away I will not hear as long as there are other noises there. Any room noise when added to other room noise is gonna be louder than the one voice that I'm trying to hear. I've got the implant on my left side so if we go out in a public place, anybody on my right side, it's hopeless. I'll have to literally turn to them, and sometimes as I turn to them they turn with me. They don't know what I'm doing so we'll do pirouettes 'til I finally say, "No, you stay where you are. I'm trying to position my ear so I can hear you."

    The way I look at this, though, because when I tell these stories, "Oh, that's really horrible." No, it's not. 'Cause if you look at the timeline of humanity, however long it is, 10,000 years, a million, billion, whatever the number is, my little time on it is not much larger than a grain of sand. And yet I happen to lose my hearing at the same time technology had evolved to the point where cochlear implants had been invented. If I had lost my hearing 15 years ago, it would have meant the end of my career. I would not have been able to hear. And the doctor said you might think that you could speak normally just by virtue of memory and feel, the way voice feels when you speak, but eventually your speech would deteriorate, and it would sound to people as though you had a speech defect. It would just be automatic no matter how good you are, no matter how professional you are at it. So that's really fortunate. It's almost miraculous that my being afflicted with this autoimmune disease happens to coincide with technology. Some call it divine intervention. Some call it the age of miracles. We're all one way or anot

    • by compwizrd ( 166184 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:21PM (#46710177)

      I am deaf myself, with a loss of 60+ db up to about 500-600 Hz and about 110db after that. Though I know ASL to a passable degree, I don't generally consider myself Deaf. I wore very high power hearing aids up till this year, when I had a cochlear implant put in.

      I'm now at week 3 after having my Med-El cochlear implant activated.

      I had basic speech understanding with lipreading about five minutes after being activated, and could easily follow the melody of music on the car ride home. Music sounded about the same as it does with hearing aids, or with it cranked way up on speakers/headphones... In other words, the sound quality of the implant was nowhere near AM radio quality... a bit off from CD quality, but not hugely.

      After three weeks, I'm starting to be to understand speech without lipreading for some people, and lyrics in music are starting to come in for me, and music has smoothed out in the upper frequencies that i couldn't hear properly in before.

      I now hear with around a 15db loss, and that is still being adjusted and programmed as my ears adjust.

      As an example of the difference in hearing, I tried dropping a raisin on the ground a few weeks ago, and clearly heard it hit the tile.. before I'd have to drop the whole bag of them. I can clearly hear the claws of the dog walking across the floor.. from another room. Could never hear the turn signal or headlight warning in the car before, now they're louder than the car to me.

      Everyones experience varies with the implants, but it's not always as bad as Rush's has turned out.

      My wife has the same cochlear implant as me, and has had it for about three years. The most clear sign that they can do almost miracles was about a year or two ago when we went to a friends wedding.. about 150-200 people in a very large and noisy room. My hearing aids were doing nothing for me in the noise, even telling that someone was talking was impossible. She was able to listen from across the room with her implant and interpret into ASL for me.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:23PM (#46709813) Homepage

    Putting aside the radicalism, there is a legitimate issue: the fix does not work for everyone and those left behind will face a diminished culture as their numbers dwindle. Specifically, those profoundly deaf who reached adulthood never able to hear will never learn to speak even if they get the implant. There are probably others who are medically not able to accept the implant but the articles I have found do not discuss this issue.

    • by gnoshi ( 314933 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:36PM (#46710255)

      This certainly is a valid issue (but the solution is not to leave people deaf, although that isn't what you're saying).

      There are people who are unable to receive cochlear implants (CIs): people who have damaged auditory nerves (nerve aplasia or hypoplasia, Neurofibromatosis Type-II (NF2) [] or other auditory nerve tumors [], severed auditory nerve due to accident etc) or abnormal cochlea (calcification due to meningitis sometimes prevents implantation, etc). There is one type of alternative implant for these individuals - the Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) on the Cochear Nucleus - but performance of the ABI implant tends to be quite a bit poorer than the CI. This may be because of the problems which lead to needing a ABI rather than a CI but the evidence isn't yet clear on the matter. One group (NF2) almost always do more poorly than other with an ABI but no-one is quite sure why.

      There are also two experimental implants (that I know of) which have been or are being tested in humans: the penetrating ABI implant (stabs electrodes into the cochlear nucleus whereas the current commercial device puts electrodes on the surface) and the penetrating Auditory Midbrain Implant (AMI). The penetrating ABI testing looked pretty good, but actually getting it in place was damn near impossible because the cochlear nucleus is basically wrapped around the brainstem in the middle of everything. The AMI seems like a cool idea, but the Inferior Colliculus (where the implant is places) is a pretty complex structure and a lot of processing has already happened by the time input would get there in a functioning auditory system. As a result, people with the experimental implants get things like having hearing at the beginning of the day that tails of across the day but returns the next day and so on.

      The result is that the number of people who can't get cochlear implants or brainstem implants and are deaf from birth (which are the people for whom the deaf community is most important) is pretty small and quite geographically distributed which makes it quite isolating. As you're saying, there is a real issue with an inability for normal-hearing people to communicate with these individuals. Speech-to-text and text-to-speech engines will be helpful as they improve because it will mean that someone can use their phone as a 'translator' of a sort. As people get faster and faster at typing on phones, using a phone for textual communication can actually be pretty good too. Ideally, you would want two devices with real-time duplex transmission between them and people able to glace at the phones when typing and reading so facial expressions can still be used.
      Hell, maybe that is a use for Google Glass. I type to you (where you are deaf), and you can look at me and my facial expressions while what I'm typing appears in your field of view. You then respond the same way. Or something.

      Wow. That turned into a massive blag.

  • Bloody HELL! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:38PM (#46709913)
    You want to try something fun? I'm just about deaf. I have raging tinnitus in both ears, and two different tones to boot.

    Deaf culture Destroyed? These parents are assholes, and I'd never write a story about them other than that letting people know I turned them into child protective services.

    The fucking nerve of doctors and their trying to help people. What's next, People wanting to let paralyzed people rot because we don't want to destroy Quadriplegic Culture?

    And what about the always jolly brotherhood of cancer culture? Gotta preserve that.

    And if the child were to need something simple like glasses, hell, there is a blind culture too. Wouldn't want to miss out on that. As a (nearly)deaf person, All I can say to these parents is that if you did that to me, I'd seek emancipation as soon as possible, and then have your sorry whack-a-doodle asses arrested for willfiul negligence and child abuse.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:49PM (#46709985) Homepage Journal

    Its a good thing that we can directly address a disability like this and practically eradicate it from society. Lets hope it happens tomorrow.

    Or does the poster think its great to go deaf with no hope?

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:01PM (#46710051) Homepage Journal

    Back in the days of race-based "red-lining" and "Whites-only" legally-enforced racially-segregated neighborhoods, rich and middle-class African-Americans had to live in the "non-white" part of town, along with the poor African-Americans and other non-Whites.

    Once the zoning laws, deed restrictions, and race-based morgtage- and homeowners-insurance redlining disappeared, non-Whites had as much choice as white people when it came to where they wanted live. Money or lack of it still limited their choices, but their skin color was no longer a barrier.

    Now, middle-class African-Americans who move into a city are likely to move into a "middle class" neighborhood, not a "Black" neighborhood.

    We went from a society that had a more distinct "Black middle class" that was created out of racial discrimination into one where if there is a "Black middle class" that's distinct from a "Middle class" the distinction is much weaker than it once was, but where there is no legally-enforced racial discrimination and much less (and someday soon I hope, no) racial discrimination denying African-Americans and other non-Whites the same rights and opportunities enjoyed by White people.

    I for one don't want to undo the last 50 years of racial desegregation just to bring back the distinct "Black middle class."

    Likewise, I don't think we should deny today's children the ability to hear - albeit in a limited way - just to preserve "Deaf culture."

  • by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:12PM (#46710107) Homepage Journal

    Alexander Graham Bell's central interest of his life was deaf education or that he was one of the most prominent proponents of oralism in the United States... After emigrating from England to Canada in 1870 Bell began to teach speech to deaf students using a universal alphabet invented by his father called "Visible Speech." In 1872 he opened a school in Boston to train teachers of deaf children.

      Bell's second chief interest was the study of heredity and animal breeding, - you can see where this is headed...
      Bell warned of a "great calamity" facing the nation: deaf people were forming clubs, socializing with one another and, consequently, marrying other deaf people. The creation of a "deaf race" that yearly would grow larger and more insular was underway. Bell noted that "a special language adapted for the use of such a race" already was in existence, "a language as different from English as French or German or Russian." Some eugenicists called for legislation outlawing intermarriage by deaf people []

    Found that by accident. I was searching for mass killings of the deaf; due to the mentioning that "the deaf can't have faith" - I would assume the Catholics alone would have a history of it.

    Only came across the Holocaust where they were treated very badly (considering).

    Could be the deaf weren't found in large numbers in the past.

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:42PM (#46710657) Homepage Journal

    Maybe, for me, this is more about "minority culture" in general than "deaf culture" in particular. "Deaf Culture" is an adaptation for people who can't hear. Once you can hear, you no longer need the social adaptation.

    I'm a member of a minority. For those of you who don't know, I'm black. At one time, black people were denied access to educational opportunities an that in turn lead to fewer career prospects. My parents and grandparents worked very, VERY hard to give me opportunities and I took advantage of them. I finished high school. I attended college. I earned a Master of Science degree. Consequently, I have a pretty good job. I've been accused of turning my back on "African American culture" because I speak like I paid attention in school. I don't use the "What up dawgg?" vernacular that some other people (who happen to look kind of like me) do. I have been accused of having "forgotten where you came from", as if I didn't come from a middle-income, racially diverse suburb.

    Once we were no longer denied access to quality education, it was no longer necessary to speak AAVE (African American Vernacular English) or "Ebonics" that some people like to call it. We were able to learn standard American English and it benefits one to do so.

    I understand the desire for deaf people to adopt the mantra "There's nothing 'wrong' with the way we are." but in reality there is. You can't hear!

    I'm sorry if people take it personally that their social adaptation is becoming less necessary for future generations. I'm sorry that they feel lonely or abandoned. This is a good thing. This is progress. This means that fewer people will have to live with the handicap(sorry for the loaded term) of not being able to hear.


  • Deaf Culture? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cmorgan503 ( 2592675 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:26AM (#46711029)
    8 years ago I went and got myself implanted, and never looked back. I had lost 100% of my hearing in my left ear and 90% of my hearing in my right ear at 8 years old, when I was hit by a car. Despite losing so much, the deaf culture never really accepted me, since I was never really considered truly deaf. I wasn't born into it, and spent a better part of 26 years kind of stuck in between the hearing and deaf world. I could sign, I could speak, and often I found myself interpreting for some deaf friends while I was growing up. But never, during that entire time, was I ever really accepted by the deaf culture.

    These friends I lost, when I decided to go ahead and get myself implanted. They couldn't understand why I wanted to be a part of something I never could have been, and I reminded them that the deaf panthers (same vein as the black panthers) never really did accept me as a part of the deaf culture, and I was really sick of being neither "deaf" or "hearing".

    They viewed their deafness as something to be proud about. I viewed it as something that was holding me back. They day I let them know I was going to get implanted, and hoped that they would understand, they looked at me as if I was something disgusting. Being called a traitor, could have been nicer than some of the things they called me then.

    Deaf Pride? Deaf Culture? Pshaw. While I have nothing really to compare the quality of the sound that the implant has given me, I can compare them to the $1200 digital hearing aid I had purchased an year earlier. When I left the store, and fired up my car, the song I was listening to before sounded completely different. It sounded better, and I realized I was hearing things I never really could with the old crappy hearing aids I had before. Then when I got my implant turned on, there was no comparison. I've tried listening with both my hearing aid (right ear, 90% loss) and my implant (left ear, previously 100% loss), and found that I could not stand the hearing aid any more. It's been sitting in my desk drawer in the 8 year since I had my implantation.

    If some people wants to fool themselves into thinking that Deafness is something to be proud of, then by all means, let them. I'm going to get my right ear implanted soon, and while I'll never truly be a hearing person, at least, I'll leave a major part of my deafness behind.

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