Dear World. Do I want a cochlear implant? NO!

26 07 2007

People constantly pester me to get a CI (cochlear implant). I’m getting pretty annoyed about it now. Friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, speech therapists, hearing therapists, all ask me why don’t I get a CI.

I’ve spoken to audiologists in different hospitals and CI technicians at the South of England CI Centre, rather than rely on user feedback.

Why fix something that’s not broken? I’m happy the way I am, I’ve got a Hearing Dog who does so much more for me than a hearing aid ever could, I can speak clearly and understand most people under my own steam. Why risk changing all that?

Why is it risky? Let’s say I went ahead and got a CI. Let’s say it works. Great. What’s the likelihood of that happening? Almost zero. This is because CIs are much less likely to be successful in adults who have been deaf all their lives, like me. I *shouldn’t* be able to speak clearly as I can’t hear you speak – WITH my hearing aids in. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have parents who worked hard to make sure my speech was clear, they and my teachers and speech therapist pushed me to improve my speech and most people don’t realise I’m deaf, apparently I don’t even have a ‘deaf voice’. If I got a CI, I would have to learn to recognise sounds and start this process all over again. As I have never heard sound, how is my brain supposed to recognise and interpret what it hears? This is why post-lingually deaf children have a more successful ‘hit’ rate with CIs than pre-lingually deaf adults. People who have heard sound can remember what it sounds like and use this knowledge, and children’s brains are not as hard-wired as adult brains.

When they insert a CI, this is usually done on the best ear as the NHS will only carry out one operation per person due to the high cost (approx. £40,000). The operation involves inserting electrodes into the cochlea. IF the electrodes are inserted successfully, this insertion usually destroys all residual hearing. IF the operation is successful, the CI is switched on some time later. IF the switch-on is successful, the patient then begins the process of rehabilitation. IF rehabilitation is successful, then you have a hit. Yes, they are marvellous for some people, but I feel there are too many ‘ifs’ for me.

My best ear is naturally the one I rely on. My worst ear is pretty useless, I can’t even tell if the TV is on, with my hearing aid in. Why on earth would I want to start relying on my worst ear, if the CI didn’t work? Switch the CI processor off at night or when swimming, and you’re still deaf. If the rehabilitation isn’t successful, you’re still deaf. You have to walk around with a box on the side of your head and hearing aid cases on your lugs, so you still look deaf and still depend on batteries and the whole get-up to work ok. I’m quite happy not being able to hear on the phone as captioned telephony and palantype are available to me under Access to Work funding. My current digital hearing aids help me to pick up speech with lip reading. My Hearing Dog gives me more independence and a link to the hearing world. If a CI didn’t work for me, as is likely, I wouldn’t benefit from hearing aids and my speech would deteriorate, so I’d really struggle socially and in my career.

Thanks, but no thanks!

(Apologies for the lack of subtitles / BSL on the movie clip. As usual, not accessible to us is it!)



12 responses

27 07 2007

You are absoulutely right. You are the only person who knows what is right for you. You make a lot of good points. HEATHER WHITESTONE, Miss America 1995, is deaf also, and she got a lot of flak from the deaf community for choosing to speak with her voice rather than rely on sign language, but she did what was best for her, much like yourself. She herself had a cochlear implant and it worked great for her, but like you say, you know what you need- why fix what isnt broken? Good for you.

27 07 2007

Yeah — My digital hearing aid is a good enough for to hear some sounds. 🙂 I don’t need CI. I am happy who I am.

27 07 2007

I have a story. One day, hearing person ask me why I didn’t have CI. I told him that CI cost $25,000 to $75,000. And I told him that he can buy $5 ASL book. Point of the story, they work so hard to make me able to hear and the cost is high while they can use ASL for cheap.

27 07 2007

Hmmm, me thinks you’re not being very logical. Do you actually know anybody whose hearing situation has been made worse by a CI? (And I’m not talking about somebody’s nightmare story you’ve been told about by someone on a web site). Perhaps you should try to get some statistics on the proportion of CIs which are life-changingly successful compared to those which leave the person less well off…?

Just a thought.

In my case (I’m not as deaf as you are) I take the view (after experience of several different aids) that the better the hearing aid I can get, the better is my quality of life. I’ll take all that technology has to offer, thank you.

Remember that Smudge will be there whether or not you have an implant 🙂

27 07 2007
Mark Maki


interesting sample of looking how CI work show the picture and how it does work. Thanks for sharing.

27 07 2007
Around the World

You are absolutely right. I wont to wear CI myself, NEVER EVER my life!!! I born deaf (profoundly deaf)… I am happy who am I now.. I do sometimes wear hearing aid but not often.. About digital hearing aid, I hate it already.. My opinion about digital hearing aid is good for those people who are hard of hearing people, or who are hearing loss… NOT for those who are PROFOUND DEAF children or DEAF TEENAGERS/ADULTS because they will be difficulty or confused the sounds… there are TOOO many sounds like windy, animals sounds, cars, people walking, people talking, and more.. same time and you cant identify them… I did try digital hearing aid for two to three weeks for testing, and it doesnt help me at ALL and I could not able to identify any sounds… So i decide to regular hearing aid (audio) and this helps me better..
Audiologists think that digital hearing aids are good for deaf and hard of hearing children, teenagers, adults… THATS NOT true… I know several of my friends who are also profound deaf and they were also tried to wear digital hearing aid before and they could not handle and could not understand the words or identify any sounds.. I can give an example of audiogram… if anyone who got above of 65 dB which is better for digital hearing aids… and not 70dB below.. because difficult to pick up any words or identify sounds..
I learned that in Europe possible is that (audio) regular hearing aids are less making now and they are making more digital hearing aids… It is really ridicilous because Audiologists or Researchers have not proof that who those profound deaf people dislike to wear digital hearing aids.. We dont want that the factory in Europe are making less regular hearing aids and more make digital hearing aids.. THEY ARE WRONG!!!!!

27 07 2007

Who are these ‘people’ pestering you to have a CI (Can I have a contact,nobody will offer me one !), seriously I don’t qualify for one, or I’d jump at it. I attach no credibility to those who do not want a CI, because mostly they have never been in any position to exhibit choice, it’s a ‘Deaf’ thing you are expected to rubbish CI’s ! Is there cohercion in America to have CI’s ? I’d object to that, but choice, no ! As far as digital aids are concerned (Or any hearing aids), even if they insist you have one (They don’t !), they cannot insist you switch them ON. Is there a point to these blogs against CI’s ?

17 08 2007
Ian Clifford

I didn’t know you’d even considered it. All the points you make about when CI’s are of benefit and when not I fully agree with. Personally, I think you are fine as you are. To paraphrase someone else: It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it.

20 08 2007
Stephen Hopson

I agree with your article on why you won’t get a CI. Same here. Been deaf all my life and speak rather articulately and wear one hearing aid. In fact, I am a motivational speaker where I speak to mostly hearing audiences in the USA (99.9%).

Getting a CI would be of absolutely no benefit to me because developing and understanding language with hearing begins at a very young age. At my age, my brain waves are set in their ways, making retraining my brain to “understand” spoken language would be infeasible.

But if people choose to have a CI, I say, “Go for it.” I won’t judge them for their decision – why should I? It’s none of my business.


20 09 2007

I agree with you. There’s no need to get one now if you don’t feel like it. No point in doing something you don’t want.

I am not deaf but I see your point. If I were deaf and were in the same position as you are today, I would have done the same.

Good for you to stick up for your own decisions.

21 09 2007

HI~ I followed the google to be here. Any kind of tool only works to someone who needed it, as long as there’s no requirment, it is not necessary to get it. Sometimes people mentioned the topics only because they need to start with some content to dialogue.

16 07 2019

I know what happened eventually but I have to say that when you said “switch it off at night and during swimming and you’re back to deaf”… my hearing boyfriend doesn’t hear everything when asleep, and no one really hears that well when underwater.

It’s so interesting that you wrote this and then changed your mind. I’m writing this from San Diego, CA in 2019.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: