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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the let-the-flamewar-begin dept.

Technology 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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510 comments

Let it die (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | about 4 months ago | (#46709553)

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.

Re:Let it die (5, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#46709685)

Pardon?

Re:Let it die (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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 (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709783)

Come again?

Re:Let it die (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709809)

And yet, bringing a stone-age tribe in the brazillian rainforest into the modern era is seen as destructive and evil.

Re:Let it die (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709567)

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

It's only dying because people are lazy.

Re:Let it die (5, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | about 4 months ago | (#46709615)

Not to forget how modern antibiotics is killing leper culture!

Re:Let it die (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 4 months ago | (#46709667)

Yeah, we don't send them to the colony on Molokai Hawaii any more. We've deprived the poor lepers of their tropical paradise.

Re:Let it die (1)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 4 months ago | (#46709781)

You beat me to it. /bow

How do you figure? (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#46709861)

Here is some Deaf Leper [youtube.com] for your enjoyment.

Re:How do you figure? (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 4 months ago | (#46709935)

Don't you mean Deaf One-armed Leper?

Re:How do you figure? (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#46709997)

Got to hand it to your for fingering out a way to go out on a limb and elbow your way in with that gag, buddy.

Re:Let it die (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709853)

They can still relive the glory days of yore. Just stick in some earplugs.

Re:Let it die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709869)

Didn't your mother teach you not to make fun or ridicule the handicapped? Did she teach you to be the bigot you have become?

Re:Let it die (2)

gatkinso (15975) | about 4 months ago | (#46709905)

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 (5, Interesting)

brainboyz (114458) | about 4 months ago | (#46709929)

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 (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#46709931)

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 (5, Interesting)

JoeLinux (20366) | about 4 months ago | (#46709951)

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)!

Re:Let it die (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 4 months ago | (#46710005)

Besides, there are all *kinds* of ways to make someone deaf again if they really want to be.

Let it die (2)

governorx (524152) | about 4 months ago | (#46709539)

I want to put this in top 10 non-stories of the year...

Re:Let it die (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709733)

Probably propaganda from the Whitehouse. After subsidies to the health insurers fail to keep them afloat, we'll see full scale rationing of healthcare. Kiss your high tech medical devices goodbye. But rejoice, it makes you part of a unique culture!

Re:Let it die (2)

fche (36607) | about 4 months ago | (#46709909)

Well, not just that. Cochlear implants were invented 50ish years ago, and this exact same complaint has been raised ever since. It's the non-story of the generation.

Really? Who the fuck cares? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Really? Who the fuck cares? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Hooray for Thalidomide Culture! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709547)

Bobby, you're second base!

Yeah, ridiculously cruel, isn't it?

What’s more, implants might cut Ellie off from a community that, some would argue, is her birthright: the Deaf world, where lack of hearing is an identity to be celebrated.

FUCK those morons.

You really can't be serious (5, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#46709555)

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:You really can't be serious (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46709583)

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 crying..um.. sports reference!

Re:You really can't be serious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709675)

you sound a fat republican nigger. fuck off with the baby shit.

Re:You really can't be serious (2)

baker_tony (621742) | about 4 months ago | (#46709927)

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? (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46709557)

I'd like to see deaf culture go away because there are no more deaf people.
Also:
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? (3, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#46709623)

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

Bedwetters.

Re:Good? (5, Funny)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 4 months ago | (#46709859)

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

People complained alright, it's just that limp dick culture couldn't stand up to the criticism.

Re:Good? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709625)

I'd like to see deaf culture go away because there are no more deaf people.
Also:
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? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46709805)

angry and vaccine? ug.
You know, I actually reread my post before submitting.
I suspect age is starting to take it's toll with my focus.

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709901)

You didn't make a mistake. It's just "old culture"

Re:Good? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 months ago | (#46709645)

You forgot ginger culture. Damn gingers.

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709647)

Because culture is important.

Cultures aren't a reactive sociology created under the iron hot forge of setting. No no, they're a sculpture, created by a genius hive mind for us to live in! We must shelter and protect them!

If anyone manages to "cure gay", I suspect we will witness this same argument louder and with far more venom.

Re:Good? (5, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#46709697)

Because culture is important.

If you make yogurt.

Re:Good? (0)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 4 months ago | (#46709671)

I'd like to see paraplegic culture go away, blind culture, Amputee culture, and furries culture. That last one may be tricky

Furries along side physical handicaps? That's interesting.

Re:Good? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 months ago | (#46709817)

Sorry if it sounded overly negative. I assure you that was entirely not our intent; in fact, we're just trying to make the world a great place for great people. Please forward any comments or complaints to my offices at the NSDAP/RPA. We appreciate your input!

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709827)

You literally have no idea, do you?

I have seen furry porn of all of it. Blind, paraplegic, amputee. That last one is actually really popular for some reason. If anything, the technology that fixes those other cultures will only empower furry culture. Which is a good thing.
Probably.

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709841)

Emotionally or mentally handicapped?

Re:Good? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#46709763)

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.

Re:Good? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#46710001)

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

Re:Good? (3, Insightful)

TheGavster (774657) | about 4 months ago | (#46710065)

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.

I had deaf friends. (5, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:I had deaf friends. (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46709619)

gosh dang it, 4 senses was good enough for me and it's good enough for my children.

Re:I had deaf friends. (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#46709735)

More along the lines of it's good enough for *your* child too.

Re:I had deaf friends. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709695)

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.

Kind of like gay people do when they retire?

Re:I had deaf friends. (2, Insightful)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 4 months ago | (#46709737)

"for many Deaf people, every implanted child is a person stolen from their culture."

I'd say: Poke out their eyes. Then those people can enjoy not only one, but two cultures: The deaf and the blind. Should even out the numbers.

Re:I had deaf friends. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709801)

"for many Deaf people, every implanted child is a person stolen from their culture."

I'd say: Poke out their eyes. Then those people can enjoy not only one, but two cultures: The deaf and the blind. Should even out the numbers.

And cut off their legs. So they can join the amputee culture.

Rip out their kidneys so they can join the dialysis culture.

Castrate them, so they can join the eunuch culture.

Remove their brains so they can join the anencephalic howler monkey culture.

Wait. What? That last one is redundant? Oh, yeah.

Re:I had deaf friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46710015)

Plus, if you remove their brains, they have an advantage if they ever want a position in the House Science Committee.

Common Phenomenon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709579)

Beta is accused of killing Slashdot culture. Progress always kills cultures, while savages and luddites always try to stand in the way.

I totally get it. (5, Funny)

Petersko (564140) | about 4 months ago | (#46709581)

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

Re:I totally get it. (4, Funny)

tooslickvan (1061814) | about 4 months ago | (#46709687)

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

I would not worry about it. With the right environment, you can always grow polio culture.

Evolution man (2)

Berkyjay (1225604) | about 4 months ago | (#46709589)

Yeah! And what about the loss of the tail having culture. Our ancestors were real dicks for coming out of those trees.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709591)

This story has appeared a few times on various sites over the last month or so. The fact is it's stupid. "yay, I'm disabled!" Whatever, you're still missing out. Some may think I'm insane but it's gang culture. "Be one of us or die"... Ya, right.

I mean I get it. You're trying to make disabled people feel better about themselves but at a certain point you cross in to MADD insanity.

reductum ad absurdum... (2)

wherrera (235520) | about 4 months ago | (#46709595)

...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?

It is a loss. (2)

mmell (832646) | about 4 months ago | (#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?).

How about the benefits of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46710077)

...enlarging the greater culture? Or do you feel that the current "greater culture" is a finished product which needs no further evolution?

And niggras don't sing in da connton fields no mo' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709603)

Cuz doze uppity niggras got deyselves *jobs* and *land* and *rights to vote*. We cain't be havins that, whos'll be singin' them folk songs as us white peopls listens from the porches and the house niggra brings our tall, cool glass o' lemonade?

Sorry, but enforcing "deaf culture" as a protected class encourages those children to be functionally illiterate, since the sign linguage culture does not encourage literacy, and thus leave them out of most technology. Even Alexandar Graham Bell struggeled with technology to help his deaf wife *hear* to open the world of communication to her. Fostering "deaf culture" as a goal in itself is like fostering poverty as a culture in itself. It's something to deal with, and to *escape* from if possible.

I've got mod points (3, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#46709611)

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

Re:I've got mod points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709793)

True but if this was an article about Aspergers there would be howls from the peanut gallery about how trying to "cure" them is like forcing Jews into the showers at Auschwitz.

Re:I've got mod points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709923)

Fuck that. If I could take a pill that made social interaction into something other than a horrid nightmare I would. Booze does work a bit, but I can't do that at work when people decide that the elevator is the best place to begin telling me their life stories.

Vaccines killed measles culture... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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?

Aesop (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#46709629)

The fox with no tail.

It's an old story.

Abolition of Slavery.. (2)

Daemonik (171801) | about 4 months ago | (#46709631)

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 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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.

obligatory monty python (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709637)

Now piss off! [youtube.com]

Oh I'm so sorry (4, Insightful)

crioca (1394491) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Oh I'm so sorry (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#46709867)

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.

Wouldn't the more appropriate course of action be to allow individuals to choose if they want to hear or be deaf once they've attained their majority?
I'm sure tens of people per year would voluntarily join the deaf community.

No. Why? Because Language. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709977)

A child needs to pick up their spoken language early. The first year that a child spends deaf is already far too long, and puts the child at a disadvantage throughout their life.

A person who becomes hearing as an adult will never regain the ground that they lost. Speech will always remain a second language to them. Brain scans have shown that languages learned in adulthood end up in a different part of the brain to languages learnt in infancy.

The earlier, the better. If implanting could be done before the child is one month old, it would be great.

The only discussion should be about the welfare of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709659)

The only discussion should be about the welfare of kids. Adults should be able to take care of themselves.

WTF ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709669)

This is the most insane article I have ever read.... The deaf culture ???? Beyond words...

Re:WTF ???? (1, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#46709963)

This is the most insane article I have ever read.... The deaf culture ???? Beyond words...

You are apparently ignorant of the fact that there IS a deaf culture. It is driven by a common language and has its own customs. One such custom is that your sign name must be given by an actual deaf person. There are more.

Americans tend to be very culturally illiterate as a whole. It is one of the reasons we are not so well liked overseas, because we are not sensitive to local culture and we end up coming across as rude and demanding rich folks. I'm not deaf, nor do I sign very much, but we have the same problem with their culture, we are woefully uninformed and ignorant of their culture and attitudes like yours tells me why.

Where I don't think the attempt to shore up the deaf culture and isolate it from those who might want to actually not be deaf is a good thing, one cannot simply dismiss their culture. It exists because *hearing* folks refused to learn sign language, not because deaf people could help not being able to speak.

Great viewpoint (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 4 months ago | (#46709677)

I think the article brings to light something I had never even thought about. Lots of people here seem to be against it, but I can definitely how it would be an interesting and important choice to have to make.

Jealousy is a bitch (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Jealousy is a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709715)

God that is full of stupid auto-correct word replacements ... role, not roll ... I don't take on rolls for anything other than dinner.

--BitZtream

Cochlear implants don't work for everyone (1)

billyswong (1858858) | about 4 months ago | (#46709689)

Not everyone's issue can be saved by cochlear implants. So deaf culture won't go extinct that easily.

On the other hand, cochlear implants are not perfect. People wearing it don't hear human-speaking as well as normal people. This is a more pressing issue - deaves are stuck in a bad expectations.

Deaf culture? I'd resort to technology if I could (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709693)

I am Dyslexic and have long and short term memory problems. As it is I feel a bit separated from "normal" society due to my difficulties with communication. I don't find "solidarity" amongst people with similar afflictions enough to warrant cutting myself off from 85+ percent of the species. If I could fix that with an implant i surely would.

If an implant could extend my hearing and vision into the electromagnetic spectrum (without adverse effects on my nervous system or perception organs) i would do that too.

In a cochlear implant users own words: (5, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | about 4 months ago | (#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 another part of this age of miracles.

Music is the one thing that I miss, but you know what else? This is another thing. Compatibility with other people in normal circumstances takes a big hit. For example, my most comfortable is sheer quiet now. The ringing of a phone or I'll be sitting in my library and there will be a noise. I remember we had been working on the alarm system, and I hadn't been told we were working on the alarm system and every 30 seconds something in the room would beep. I said, "Oh, my gosh, it that the smoker detector, what the hell?" I'd have to call somebody in the office and say, "Where is this coming from?" because I couldn't tell where sound was coming from and I had no idea what it was. One time the phone was left off the hook and there was street noise, it was the phone at the gate. And it was street noise, but it didn't sound like street noise to me. I don't even remember what it sounded like, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was. The phone was still on the hook but the mute button on the speakerphone was off so I had no idea where it was coming from. I had to call somebody in and say, "What is this, where's it coming from?" 'Cause you always worry about something blowing up when there's a sound that you don't know.

But I crave silence, blessed silence because anything other than speech is just noise. It is irritating noise. Well, most people go crazy in quiet environments. They don't like it. Most people love having the TV on in the background or some sort of sound or other. It irritates me. It irritates the heck out of me because it's just noise and I can't identify it. I know if it's noise on TV, but I can't tell you what somebody's saying. I have to have closed-captioning to understand everything being said in a TV program, particularly if there's a music soundtrack. And very few people use closed-captioning. It distracts them. Me, I need it. (interruption) No, I'm not just getting old and cranky, Snerdley. And going in public to a restaurant is, depending on the place, it is impossible. It literally can be impossible to have a conversation except with anybody on the left, and at some places I have to get within an inch of what they're saying to be able to comprehend. I hear everything, but making sense of it

See, the human ear has 35,000 hair cells in each ear. They're microscopic. But they still are different sizes and widths, lengths, and they vibrate. When they sense noise, sound, whatever, they start the whole process of energy through the audial nerve. Well, the autoimmune system killed all 35,000 hair cells in both ears, so they're laying down. They're still in there, but they're laying down. Cochlear implant, I've got eight electrodes, and I'm actually now down to six because two of them were causing facial tics when the volume got too high. My eyes were closing, I looked spastic. I had to deactivate two of those electrodes, so I'm down to six. So I've got six manmade bionic electrodes trying to do the job of 35,000 or 70,000 hair cells in terms of frequency response and all that, and there's no way, it just can't be done. (interruption) No, the technology has not improved. Now what has improved is, like this Esteem thing that we talk about, if you have residual hearing, that's miraculous. The hardware hasn't changed. There are some software improvements.

For example, with the implant I have there's a program called High Res, which activates 20 electrodes. But it doesn't work for me. Everybody is different. They turn on those 20 electrodes -- I got 'em in there -- you turn on the 20 and everybody sounds like the chipmunks to me. It's worse. And that's the digital. I'm using the analog. Everybody that has one of these things has a different experience. Everybody says you need to get one on your right side now. I kept the right side clear because there might have been a cure for these dead hair cells. Now I've been told there won't be. So if I get an implant on the right side that would solve some of the spatial stuff and it would enable me to hear people on my right side if I'm in a public place or what have you. Music, it's amazing what the memory can do when I'm listening to music that I love, that I've known. In fact, I can create the music without evening hearing it. Your memory, your mind can do that.

Look, folks, don't get the wrong idea. Having a cochlear implant has a lot of positives. I was out playing golf the other day with a bunch of guys, and there was a loudmouth crow in a palm tree right on the tee box, no more than ten feet above us. The thing was cawing like crazy. You just wanted to grab something and throw it at the damn bird to shut up, and it was screwing everybody's tee shots off. I mean, you can't concentrate. The guys would swing and right at the moment of impact, "CAWWW!" and you could just see the effect.

All I did was take my implant off, gently place it on the ground, and total silence. No distractions whatsoever. However, I do have tinnitus (some people say tinn-i-tus) in my right ear -- which, in my case, I constantly hear Gregorian chants. That's the noise in my right ear, but I've got so used to it I don't hear it unless I stop to focus on it, but it's always there. I always think I'm in touch with God. Gregorian chants are constantly going off in my right ear.

Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46709787)

People can hear music, and the love it.

http://www.theatlantic.com/tec... [theatlantic.com]

" I constantly hear Gregorian chants. "
That is no tinnitus. It's an auditory hallucination.

Maybe you should talk to people about this who aren't crazy?

Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46710049)

" I constantly hear Gregorian chants. "
That is no tinnitus. It's an auditory hallucination.

Or just maybe it's a metaphor? The man doesn't talk like a legal deposition. He entertains for a living, and part of that is that he uses lively turns of speech.

Maybe you should talk to people about this who aren't crazy?

And maybe you should learn to recognize a metaphor. Or else maybe you should grow a decent sense of humour, if you thought that was a joke.

Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709821)

It looks like khe's wearing a Nucleus device. Those.... suck, in many ways. They basically measure *power levels* of different frequencies of sound, and transmit it to a selection of 5 out of 22 electrodes. The result is a gross undersampling of the original sound, and there is *no way* to digitally refine it back into the original information. In particular, the fine grained temporal information about "zero crossings" is completely lost.

Robert Licklider demonstrated, around WWII, that simply using a one-bit transmission that preserved the zero crossings worked much better. Basically, turn up the gain on the signal until it clips, then limit the maximum volume, and even speech is over 90% still comprehensible. The old Ineraid device used to work this way, and frankly did a much better job of handling music. It was a purely analog design, with a set of 4 bandpass filters stimulating 4 out of the 8 electrodes, and was connected directly to a jack in the person's head with the electrode wires directly stimulated. The Nucleus design, and others since then, rely heavily on an implanted transceiver. But the fundamental theory that they use is basically *wrong*. Transmitting power levels can get you some information, but it throws away most timing information becuase of the roughly 16/second transmission rate for the power signals.

It's like trying to read Braille with a baseball bat. It's amazing the silly thing works at *all*.

Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (1)

JDAustin (468180) | about 4 months ago | (#46709907)

Then why are the Nucleus designs used? The must have some other advantage.

Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709925)

Oxycontin is a helluva drug.

We need to save the slave CULTURAL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709769)

YES!

Loss of culture for those left behind (2)

erice (13380) | about 4 months ago | (#46709813)

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.

Air Supply? AIR SUPPLY? (1)

rk (6314) | about 4 months ago | (#46709877)

Giving this kid cochlear implants to be subjected to that could be child abuse.

Subby (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709891)

Go back to tumblr. Deaf people are broken. If they want to remain that way, fine. But to force that shit on a kid because you want to preserve your "culture" is the height of fucking stupidity. Fuck you and fuck "deaf culture."

Bloody HELL! (4, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

what a bunch douchers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46709945)

You know that "i shit in a bag and cant use my limbs" quadriplegic culture? stem cell or synthetic biology cures should be outlawed because nobody will come to our meetings if they can walk to the bathroom on their own. Clearly being deaf is quite minor in comparison but hearing is better than not. its not a rude statement aimed to undermine the deaf. one more sense is literally greater than one less. i want deaf people to have access to either a cultural identity they feel matters, or the ability to hear things. both are personal choice, but dont whine and try to deprive people of hearing just for your idea of whats important.

I have a cure! (1)

baker_tony (621742) | about 4 months ago | (#46709949)

"a revolutionary technology stands accused of killing a culture."
Holy fucken shit! I can't allow that to happen! I'm going to wear ear plugs from now on so I can keep the culture alive!

Good (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#46709985)

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?

The pendulum swings (1)

rlp (11898) | about 4 months ago | (#46710041)

I expect deaf culture, blind culture, amputee culture, etc. will disappear and the re-appear as implants, prosthetics and other assistive technology gets better and better.

"What you mean you CAN'T see into the infrared and you don't have 100X zoom? You mundanes are so pathetic".

The distinct "black middle class" is dying/dead (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#46710051)

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."

damn your rat traps! (1)

steak (145650) | about 4 months ago | (#46710069)

you have killed plague culture.

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