Documentary about Cochlear Implants

5 Mar

“Sound and Fury” is a documentary about the controversy of cochlear implants. It features two brothers, one hearing, one deaf, and their families. The deaf brother has a deaf wife and three deaf kids, one of which who wants a cochlear implant. The hearing brother has a hearing wife, who grew up with deaf parents and a couple of deaf siblings. They just had twins, one hearing, one deaf. The movie deals with the tremendous decision of weather to get deaf children cochlear implants. It accounts for three generations, of hearing and deaf, and their opinions on the matter.

Speech acquisition occurs before age 8, and kids two and younger are picking up cues and formulating their speech inventories. This negates children speak better if they can hear from a young age. The decision to get cochlear implants is entirely that of the parents–and they don’t have long to think about it.

Factors:

-cochlear implants = the younger the better

-the child with implants is taught speech and sign language is discouraged

-the young child gravitates toward one world or another

–if they are more a part of the hearing world, they can interact with more people and can learn speech better, but at the loss of acquiring an appreciation for deaf culture.

-the child with cochlear implants is suddenly in-between worlds. They are not hearing, but not completely deaf either.

-Deaf high school students graduate with a fourth grade reading level on average.

-Hearing people are not mindful of deafness as a culture. At all.

-The communities are divided.

I thought the documentary did a good job of showing all sides of the sotry without giving preferential treatment to any one side. As I mentioned the story revolves around two brothers and their blossoming families–both trying to decide if their kids should get a cochlear implant.  Their (hearing) parents’ gave their opinions.  There was the deaf brother (hard-core deaf culture proponent) and his deaf wife.  The deaf wife considered getting a cochlear implant for herself while researching it for their deaf five-year-old.  The hearing brother married a hearing women, but she was the only hearing person in her immediate family.  Both of her parents and all her siblings were deaf.  So it showed how a hearing person raised in a deaf family would make decisions.  This couple had twins–one hearing, one deaf.  They were trying to decide if the deaf twin should have a cochlear implant.

Got all that?  Really, if you watched it for yourself it would make sense.  It was a good documentary because the families were so interrelated and had such diverse perspectives on the issue of cochlear implants.  In the next few blog posts, I’ll try to address some of the issues the film brought up for me.

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