Dear Thomsen: 2.20.2012
Dear Thomsen: If it's not too personal a question, what percentage of hearing do you hav...
If it's not too personal a question, what percentage of hearing do you have? What's your opinion on cochlear implants? I have a friend who has partial hearing loss and is going to school to be an ASL interpreter and I get the impression that cochlear implants aren't too popular in the Deaf Community (is that the most polite way to refer to that community?)...
In the left ear, I have about forty percent hearing left. My right, nothing. Since the age of 11, my hearing has leveled off and has not gotten any worse, however, they say that by the early age of 40 is when you show signs of hearing loss. I decided at the young age of nineteen to learn American Sign Language (ASL) to be my backup language in case I fully lost all my hearing. I grew up in a mainstream environment where I got my education at both private and public schools. Thus, I did not get involved into the Deaf Culture until after I graduated from high school.
Now to answer your second question, my opinion on cochlear implants is actually quite conflicted. If you asked me now if I would get cochlear implants myself, I would answer without hesitating, no. But if you asked me that question again twenty or thirty years from now, I might say yes. Just like glasses, we already found the technology to be able to "correct" our eyes with the use of lasers surgery. Within time and with our infatuation with improving technology, there will be a time when our hearing can be "corrected" without anyone actually knowing that we were deaf. (People know that we have a hearing loss when they see our hearing aids/cochlear implants for example, but the day will come when that will cease to exist.)
With your last question, the Deaf Community is somewhat tricky when it comes to cochlear implants; they are frown upon, yet, if a friend or family member decides to get them, they'll support their decision. Now, just like in any other culture, you have your extremist(s). They tend to be people within the community (or even outside the community) who are totally against cochlear implants. They will do and say anything to make people think twice about getting a cochlear implant. They totally frown upon them and think that cochlear implants will destroy the ASL/Deaf Culture Community. But, I'm not going to go into that; I'll save that for when the time is right. Yet, I think when it comes to the debate about cochlear implants is that what the Deaf Community is really trying to say is that they want equal opportunities when it comes to knowing what their choices are.
Just do not leave ASL out of the picture...