I’ve been blogging a lot about how my fiance reacts to certain aspects of my hearing loss. It’s always interesting to figure out his perceptions. I suppose I’ve always been used to people just kind of . . .getting it, you know? Most of the people in my life have known me a long time, so my hearing loss isn’t something that confuses them anymore. I have to keep reminding myself that my fiance has known me for a little over a year and half. It feels like he’s known me forever.
We were talking about hearing loss and kids a few days back when the topic of cochlear implants came up. He already knows that if we have girls, there is a very high chance that they will be hard of hearing (it seems to run through the females in my family). He is of the opinion that if our future daughter’s hearing was severe enough, we’d get her fitted with a cochlear implant.
I told him it’s not that simple.
Deciding to get implants for your child is not as easy a decision as getting hearing aids,which are not permanent, as cochlear implants are. You are making a decision that will change the life of your child forever. As far as I know, there is no going back if you decide to implant your child. In addition to being permanent, you have to keep in mind that the implants may not work. What then?
What if you implant your child when they are very young and they resent you for it later because they feel that the implants prevented them from being part of the very selective Deaf community? Or, what if you don’t get your child implants and they resent you for not giving them the opportunity to hear?
It is also important to note that like hearing aids, cochlear implants DO NOT fix hearing. It doesn’t work that way. It just helps a little. It’s complicated, so I won’t go into it just now. That might be a topic for a different blog.
Oh, and I won’t even bother mentioning the cost of cochlear implants.
Needless to say, the decision is not an easy one no matter how you look at it. John told me he would just want to make sure he made the best decision for his child, and I totally get that. That’s why it’s so hard. How do you know if it really is the right decision? I don’t think you can know without having the ability to look into the future, which we don’t. I’m hoping the doctors will be able to help John and I make this decision if and when we get to that point.