Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cochlear Implant - Family Thoughts

"From the moment he went deaf, Jeff has been researching cochlear implants. By now
he’s an expert. He’s done a great job without them. For a while the hearing aids worked well, and it took some of the stress off at his job. But then his hearing started going downhill again. We learned sign language together, and we can communicate to a certain extent. But I will never be that fluent - not enough to share my deepest thoughts and concerns. I can ask what he wants to eat, if he’s tired, what he wants to do. It’s utilitarian. But it is not my first language of emotional and intellectual communication. I will be very glad to be able to just talk.

Before he went deaf, we had been to a few music concerts, something we had not done before. We were listening to new music together. I’ve missed that, and I know he has, too. Recently I started listening to a podcast and I though, oh, Jeff would enjoy this. But of course he can’t listen to it.

There are many small things that come up - trying to talk on the phone, making sure that I fill in if someone asks him a question he doesn’t notice, remembering to not turn away when speaking or call out from another part of the house. And I really hate that in the dark both sign language and speech is useless. Lately I’m the only one who hears the ominous sound of the cats throwing up at night. That won’t change, of course, since he will always be able to switch off whenever he likes.

My greatest hope, though, is that the CI will allow him to pursue the career he wants - teaching. I also hope that he will continue to sign and be part of Deaf culture, because I know that’s important to him, and I think he has a lot to offer both hearing and Deaf cultures."

Lizzie (13 year old daughter) writes:
"I am extremely excited for my dad getting a cochlear implant. I’m worried that something might go wrong, but other than that, I’m thrilled. Once he’s able to hear, he can’t just turn away when he doesn’t want to listen. I won’t have to tap on his arm every time I want to speak. I think this will bring our family closer since it will be easier to communicate. I hope the cochlear implant will live up to his expectations, since I know it won’t be the same as before."
Abby (11 year old daughter) writes:
"I want Dad to hear me laugh and I also want him to be able to hear Dito (our cat) say
“meow” all the time, because it’s very annoying and I wish he could make it stop. I want him to hear me play the clarinet. And also so he can watch a movie without captioning. I will be able to talk to him without having to repeat myself all the time."
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