"i'm glad for sarah churman. i wish her the best of luck. however, the title 'hearing her voice for the first time' is misleading. many people deny this, insisting one can develop a clear voice with no deaf accent without hearing one's voice in the past. it's an impossibility. yet our experiences and knowledge are dismissed. we're ridiculed and painted an anti implant group by the adoring and awe-struck hearing audience. this had been reinforced by several deaf people with a chip on their shoulders against culturally deaf people taking this as yet another opportunity to attack these deaf people."I think it all boils down to the missing context of that YouTube title which says, "29 years old and hearing myself for the 1st time!" which could have been meant to say "29 years old and hearing myself clearly and loudly for the first time." We don't know who put that title in but it was Sarah's husband who videotaped her. It was her husband who put that video on YouTube which means it was probably most likely her husband who wrote down that title. But what we don't know is that there could be some truth to that title that Sarah was hearing her own voice for the first time. Unless you have her audiogram and a complete picture of her history, I suggest people withhold judgement until it becomes clear on Sarah's hearing loss.
Having said that, people with high frequency hearing loss can and do have a harder time hearing one's own voice, especially if the person is a female such as in probably the case for Sarah Churman. I don't know. Instead of saying it's an impossibility that she could speak so clearly and say she's deaf consider the option of keeping an open mind. Sarah already explained to Ellen DeGeneres that she cannot explain completely why she can speak so well and gets asked with that question all the time. She told Ellen that she accredited her good speech to deaf ed, speech therapy and her love to talk alot. But somehow people seem to try and paint her as a liar and not telling the truth.
Next we have Dianrez's blog who continues to misunderstand and even twist on what I've said in the past.
People who have even a slight amount of hearing at some point, or who were born with hearing, are able to make the most of it in many cases and these are the ones most helped by hearing aids or later cochlear implants or the new implantable middle-ear device. Those with excellent auditory memory do the best of all. That the media and some bloggers continue to categorize them as "deaf" is misleading: these people are not, NOT deaf.
There are so many different types of hearing LOSS. I used this word deliberately. They are people with auditory memory going way back, even unconsciously; they have brain pathways in the speech range that worked at one time, and may still work. Then they "suffered" a LOSS. The memory traces are still there, however.
Hard of hearing people have this, too. McConnell, himself hard-of-hearing, acknowledges that there are different types of hearing LOSS, but he makes the mistake of lumping profoundly deaf people into this group. These are people without any auditory memory from birth, and even with early cochlear implants, may not always develop useful hearing as Heuer points out in his article.
A few profoundly deaf people have cochlear implants and are said to be living as hearing people, such as the Chaikof sisters of Cochlearimplantonline.com. Many, as all of us personally know, do not hear as well and as many stash them in drawers as those that use them. (Heuer)I discussed in my blogs on the key to early intervention in conjunction with using current hearing technology to make it work, even for those who are profoundly deaf using cochlear implant, and make use of the auditory cortex during those crucial 4 years window of opportunity. I made my point about early intervention numerous times in my blogs, especially on cochlear implants, such as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and many more going back a few years in my blog. The phrase "hard of hearing" does not pertain to db loss nowadays simply because of the advent of cochlear implant technology. It's the ability to discriminate words, understand environmental sounds and speak intelligibly with the help of current hearing technology along with audio and speech therapies. Cochlear implants make it possible nowadays for those born profoundly deaf get implanted at such a young age and develop the ability to discriminate the spoken words (without looking) and be able to speak extremely well. The key has always been early intervention (rather than "auditory memory") using the existing hearing technology with lots of supports and encouragements. Not every instances are a success for various reasons but successes there are. In fact, Dianrez's own suggestion at the end of her blog supports my argument about profoundly deaf people can be put into the category of "hard of hearing":
Deaf: having little usable hearing for speech. Having little usable hearing for environmental sounds. Having little usable hearing even with devices.You have profoundly deaf people who were born profoundly deaf whose hearing (what's left of it) is considered still usable only because of the existence of cochlear implant makes it possible to bridge that gap. Young deaf children have usable hearing for listening and speech development if cochlear implant is considered. It still usable hearing when it comes to environmental sounds. In a word, that would fit the definition of hard of hearing for prelingually (profoundly) deaf people who end up benefitting greatly from cochlear implants. Not all would fit into the category as hard of hearing people but many do. Even Jamie Berke of About.com Deafness admitted how the cochlear implant technology changed the meaning of the term "hard of hearing" for profoundly deaf people.
What is the difference between being hard of hearing and being deaf? The answer is not simple, and is getting even harder to define with the growth of cochlear implants.You have cochlear implant wearers who consider themselves as deaf and hard of hearing just like you have hearing aid users who consider themselves as deaf and hard of hearing, just like me. Turn the device off, you're deaf. Turn it on, you're hard of hearing. Just like Sage in this captioned video below when she was 16 years old who was outfitted with a cochlear implant at age 22 months speaks about her cochlear implant.
There's no doubt that Sage is hard of hearing but then again she's deaf, too.
As for the Chaikof sisters (Rachel Chaikof that runs her own website Cochlear Implant Online) they never made the claims of living as "hearing people" but rather they have the ability to interact and associate with hearing people solely because of the early intervention with cochlear implant and speech therapies made it possible today to interact. Just as I can interact easily with hearing people but I'm certainly not a hearing person. They know they are deaf but see themselves as hard of hearing. Let's not twist words, Dianrez.
Another twist by Dianrez about what I said.
Then we have people who defend the people who are involved in the quest to hear again. Mike McConnell is one. Immediately he jumps on people who point out the flaws in such cures by way of electronic and mechanical devices: "Why is it so hard to congratulate a grown deaf adult seeing the immediate (and emotional) success from her implantable hearing aid in a video?" He has written several consecutive blogs, each insisting that Sarah is deaf four different ways and is still deaf when she turns off the implant. He adds, "Those people need to take their brains out of the gutter and stop with the stereotyping of what deaf people can or cannot do, especially on the ability to speak well. This is especially true coming from deaf people themselves which serves only an ironic and hypocritical reminder. Yet people continue with this conspiracy theory thinking something's afoot. Practically insinuating that she is not deaf because there is no way she can speak that well. No way!! Well, get over it folks, she is deaf."I've not described nor insisted that Sarah is deaf in four different ways. Please stop with the disingenuous hyperbole and dishonesty, Dianez. I've already explained in the above about the terms "deaf" and "hard of hearing." Secondly, my comment asking why is it so hard to congratulate Sarah Churman's implantable hearing aid success was taken out of a paragraph I wrote while leaving the rest behind that explains my questioning which had nothing to do with about jumping on "people who point out flaws in such cures" (because implantable hearing aids are not a cure). Rather my comment had to do with people lamenting about one's own history struggling with his/her hearing aid wishing his/her story was video-taped and had gone viral, too. Instead of being happy for her you hear lamentations, the whole nine-yards "woe-is-me."