Saturday, January 19, 2008

Entering the world of Sound-Cochlear Implants

I think cochlear implants were invented in 1985. Here is the website I read. I'll explain why I'd rather enter the world of silent later at end of this post.

Thirty years ago the likelihood that a person with profound hearing loss could gain any ability to hear was doubtful. Then, in 1985, the prospect became an attainable reality when a device was invented to aid those individuals unable to perceive sound waves. This remarkable invention was the cochlear implant.

A device that provides stimulation directly to the auditory nerve, bypassing damaged hair cells in the cochlea that prevent sound from reaching the nerve.
Hearing individuals have ideal pathways for sound to pass through the outer portion of the ear and into the inner ear. People who are deaf have damaged hair cells within the inner ear or cochlea, which inhibits sound from reaching the auditory nerve. In order to compensate for the biological flaw, an implant was designed to bypass the obstruction.
The implant is unique in that it sidesteps the external and middle ears by means of electrode electrical stimulation, which allows impulses of nerve fibers (from the eighth cranial nerve) to be carried to the brain. The device has microphones to collect the sound, speech processors or tiny computer chips for interpreting and converting sound into digital signals, and transmitters which receive the signals and send them to an implanted receiver. The cochlear implant allows for the sensation of sound, but not for a quick fix to hearing loss or damage. Obviously, this process isn't as simple as pressing a button in the inner ear to suddenly enable sound perception. It is complicated and may not have the desired effects or produce any sound at all.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that roughly 14,000 adults and children have received cochlear implants in the United States, and more than 30,000 individuals have received cochlear implants throughout the entire world. Although the price of implanting the device reaches close to $40,000, this medical procedure is considered one of the most cost-effective treatments available.
The cochlear implant is the first instrument that allows for the partial recovery of a damaged sensory organ. For the first time in history, a technology exists that allows auditory perception for people who are profoundly deaf. In a once silent existence, they can now perceive sound.
Cochlear implant surgery is not without risks. They include:
- Short-term dizziness
- A ringing sensation in the ears (tinnitus)
- Numbing behind the ears near the incision
- An alteration in the way things taste
- The possibility of developing infection, such as meningitis, and
- The risk of device failure, which would require additional surgery to correct them malfunction.

Or...would you rather be entering the Deaf world without any risk?

As for me, I'd rather to be deaf the way I was since I can't predict if I would succeed or if the device's failed, I'd have to go through another surgery to get it corrected. It's like when you are gambling and you can't predict if you would win big money or lost all what you have. It's a scary decision, so I will let it pass and be happy. If I'd not be able to perceive sound waves, I can DO hands wave in ASL, so who cares? We will be able to hear again in Heaven, then why do we have to worry when we are on Earth? We will be always in one piece.


Michelle D said...

That's true! I'd rather be deaf than having CI on my head. I accept what God has made me - to be deaf. Nothing's wrong with being deaf. It's awesome! The deaf community has everything deaf people need - asl, culture, etc. Hearing people just need to be open-minded about deafness. There's no perfection in this world, why fix it? It's what God has intended it to be.

Deaf dating said...

I agree with you. CI can't make deaf become hearing! Sign is great!

kw said...

It's harder when you are late-deafened for many reasons too difficult to explain in a comment. Some people are willing to take the chance. I understand. But I agree that sign is GREAT, though very, very hard to learn. :-)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Good post, Deb Ann. I like how you gave information about CI and then stated your opinion on what the risks mean to you. When I first found out I had a hearing loss, my relatives were telling me that I would just need a surgery to "fix" me. They had no clue what they were talking about - I am not even a candidate for CI. I am happy with myself as a person who is hard of hearing. I can tell you are happy and confident as someone who is deaf and living a great life. *Waving hands* to you!

Anonymous said...

This seem good details about that. Good userful information for people who don't know ASL. :)
- Tar

DeafKathy (Wilson) said...

I met a lady at WSBC (Western States Basketball Classic) at Oregon School for the Deaf in Salem last weekend who was the 5th person to get CI and it was 25 years ago (1983). She still use it and everything seems to be properly for her. It is so amazing as being the 5th person recieving CI that does work fine! Unfortunately she got a huge scar, just a BIG C around her ear which was the thing she is uncomfortable with.

Deb Ann said...

Hi deafkathy,

Wow, she has it for 25 years and is so lucky. Yea, this is amazing.

I don't really want to have a huge scar on my head since I don't have much hair or thick hair on my head. My hair is too fine and thin. No way for me.

Thanks for sharing, Kathy ;)