Deaf Culture Is Shifting As Hearing Tech Gains Traction (HBO)


An average of 24000 American children are born deaf or hard of hearing each year. Today more than 40 percent of them receive cochlear implants which can effectively restore their hearing. The technology can be life-changing for children and their families. But it might also signal big changes for a central part of Deaf culture: American Sign Language. I was in shock because like when you hear like your child is almost deaf it’s very hard to handle this. Miriam is four years old. She was born severely deaf. She was fitted with hearing aids when she was just months old and attends a school with hearing children. Her parents decided that she didn’t need to learn sign language. [inaudible] Excuse me what? [inaudible] We know that she’s communicating and she’s pretty active. But her speech is more like a baby language. Tomorrow is her big day and I can’t wait to have her implant. The day after we shot this, Miriam had her cochlear implant surgery. The implants allow audio information to bypass the ear and enter the brain directly. Patients are typically given a month to heal before the implant is turned on. We were with the Zabaznys the day Miriam’s implants were activated. OK we’re just about ready to listen. So what I’m going to do is start off very very quiet and slowly raise the volume until we really see a response. Shh, shh, shh. Eee, Eee, Eee. Miriam. Shhhhhhh. Shh, Shh, Shh. Sssssssssss. Sssssssssss Yes, on her own! It’s like she hears! Shh, shh, shh, shh. Shh, shh, shh, shh. Yes, she imitated! Yes, sweetheart. Bah, bah. Bah, bah. Where’s Mommy? Where’s Mommy, hi Mommy. Great work, kiddo. Well we’re hopeful that Miriam will achieve much improved hearing. That her speech understanding capacity will be much improved. The data shows that she should catch up in a couple years to her peers. Cochlear implants are effective in more than 80 percent of cases. and are covered by most insurance plans. While the implants have given many children the ability to hear. Some say that deaf children who don’t learn sign language are losing an opportunity to connect with Deaf culture. Douglas Ridloff is a kindergarten teacher at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in the Bronx. Enrollment is down 50 percent from 30 years ago when cochlear implants first hit the market Across the country, deaf schools are shutting down as more parents opt for implants. Xavier Tucker was born with Dandy-Walker syndrome, which causes congenital brain malformations. And was diagnosed as deaf at 18 months. His mom decided against cochlear implants when she saw how her son was thriving at St. Joseph’s. I explored the option of a cochlear implant, but I declined it Due to the fact that Xavier had been in the hospital for so long. I don’t want to add something. I think he’s doing fine. He picked up ASL very quickly and when I do see him with his classmates he’s very proud of who he is. American Sign Language has only gained legitimacy in the last few decades, and Ridloff worries about what will happen to it now. [laughter]

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post navigation

71 thoughts on “Deaf Culture Is Shifting As Hearing Tech Gains Traction (HBO)

  1. dont give your child hearing, it will stop him from learning deaf culture. what a stupid idea, the fact that we have state of the art technology that allows us to give hearing to deaf people should be embraced by all parents of deaf children. its like saying dont cure ALS because they deserve to participate in wheelchair culture.

  2. Problem.

    Being deaf should not be an "identity". It's a disease, and deviation from the healthy norm of being able to hear.

    Sign language is nobody's native tongue. Humans are designed to speak and to hear. Our brains are hardwired for that purpose.

    We should all rejoice for the day when deaf culture becomes obsolete. Not everything ought to be preserved.

  3. Yeah sure let's deprive a human of an entire sense due to your idea of a culture forming around that lack of hearing. It's like I was born without a leg so I am a part of legless culture and am offended by you getting a prosthetic. Fucking stupid.

  4. Things change with technology – "culture" changes, with technology. I don't quite understand what a "deaf culture" is supposed to be, especially to someone who can now hear, and why kids that have these implants, and have been given the ability to hear need to be part of something that is no longer an issue in their lives. It's different from an ethnic group abandoning/keeping their native language and culture because your ethnicity is with you always and part of who you are for the rest of your life; being "cured" of deafness makes once deaf people no longer a part of that "culture", unless they choose to be.

  5. i dont really get the deaf culture argument. becuase of one reason: if they are in danger or someone else and they cant see them they cant hear them–> cant get help or give help. children of deaf parents died because of that.

  6. Cochlear implants doesn't cure deafness, it only helps the person to perceive sounds a little better depending on the scale of their hearing loss. You guys wouldn't understand deaf culture because you guys are not deaf and are not involved in the community. So when your saying that cochlear implants are a guaranteed fix to deafness, it's not. After cochlear implants they have to go through years of speech therapy and learn what each sound means. They have to adapt, which may take many years. The deaf community provides a place where they can fit in.

  7. To rally and identify around a disability is pathetic and sickening. Not only because they glorify deafness, but also actively shun the people that wish to hear their parents' voice. They see their inadequate methods as more important than the fucking MEDICAL MIRACLE OF RESTORING HEARING!

    I wish they had been born blind so they would know what it is to miss a more vital sense. One they can't actually talk their way out of wanting back. In short they live in a world without colour and hate anyone that suggests they paint it in. In hope the entire deaf culture community takes a trip walking down a busy intersection.

  8. so maybe I'm completely lost but, what's the point of them uploading 5 minute segments of this doc.? is it being steamed strictly on HBO or what, cause it's getting annoying seeing them tease good content only for it to be a teaser.

  9. Why not both? Knowing sign language will help anyway, for example if your hearing aid thingy breaks up temporary….

  10. I think it'd be pretty cool to be able to turn my hearing down, or sign across the room in a noisy environment. Maybe I should learn a few more signs – I already know a couple of swear words/signs 🙂

  11. It's kind of like cursive writing. People don't want it to die because lots of historical documents etc are written in cursive, but eventually it will die out. I think a similar thing will happen here. When you have an option that can improve quality of life so much and allow them to hear, I couldn't imagine not giving a deaf child (if I had one) the chance to hear and see the world as we do.

  12. Cochlear implants are not part of dead culture. It is actually very polarizing within the deaf community. And when parents decide to have cochlear implants for their kids (especially when the kids don't have a choice in the matter) you are taking away a huge part of their life, culture, and natural identity.

  13. Most deaf people in my area do not support CI. being fluent in asl i understand why, ASL offers a level of expression not available with conventional auditory language.

  14. I learned about Deaf culture in my medical ethics class when we talked about deaf couples genetically selecting for deaf children. I understand their argument that deafness is more than just a disability, but I still can't agree with such practices or how some in the deaf community shun those who decide to get their children cochlear implants.

  15. This is a few examples of the same madness from the book: Teaching for diversity and social justice.

    "In their view, they are not disabled but rather obstructed by negative interactions with controlling health and social service
    systems. Mental health system survivors, for example, reject psychiatric labels as part of their fight against forced “treatment” by the mental health system. Activist organizations such as MindFreedom, United Action for Human Rights in Mental Health and Lunatic’s Liberation Front advocate for awareness of and rights for psychiatric survivors, and share information on how to counteract the oppression of the psychiatric system, which includes forced outpatient drug treatment and mandatory mental health screening."

    "Anyone can become disabled through sickness, aging, accidents, or acts of violence or war, or even due to stresses from the increased pace of life. Thus, disability touches every one of us personally or through the lives of people about whom we care. For this reason, we refer to people who do not have disabilities as temporarily able-bodied."

    "People with disabilities who are part of this political movement reject the notion that being disabled is an inherently negative experience or in any way descriptive of something broken or abnormal. They see disability as a positive term. Proponents of this perspective take pride in the differences in their bodies and minds and strive to make others aware of their experiences and accomplishments. Finally, some groups of people defined by society as having disabilities do not see
    themselves as disabled at all. For example, many Deaf people see themselves as a cultural group separate from “the hearing” group. They take pride in and wish to preserve their own language and patterns of community."

    "For many persons with disabilities, becoming disabled has profoundly changed their lives in positive ways that could not be imagined at the time of an accident or at the initial diagnosis of an illness. For increasing numbers of people with disabilities, becoming nondisabled, even through miraculous cures, is not what they desire."

    "Likewise, many disability rights advocates oppose abortion because of their objection to aborting fetuses with disabilities. They argue that pro-choice advocates have not considered the implications of their support for abortion for people with disabilities."

  16. Vice news is interesting, but their viewers are the stupidest fucking people in the world. Just, God damn…fucking God damn. So fucking stupid.

  17. Cochlear implant is the world's worst fraud of all time. Many people were not aware that cochlear implants have only 22 channels. Hearing people have 6000 channels. The CI companies do not tell you the truth. All this suffering is not acceptable and unnecessary. We will rekindle for hope to overcome hate in Deaf community.

  18. Yikes, so many ignorant hearing people leaving comments.

    The implant doesn't restore hearing. It provides SOME experience of hearing to the deaf person. They do not experience sound the same as hearing people. And to have the implant surgically put in, any residual hearing in the ear is destroyed, so it's a tough decision to make.

    My fiancé was born profoundly deaf (before hearing tests were performed on babies). They found out when he was 1. His parents decided against the CI because it was still experimental then. He and his parents learned ASL and he had 11 years of speech therapy. He decided to get the CI himself at 15. He can differentiate between certain sounds (person's voice vs object), but he cannot process speech, meaning, if someone was talking with their hand in front of their mouth, or speaking behind him, he has no clue what's being said.

    He has a happy and fulfilling life. He can do everything except hear. Only obstacle is inaccessibility and discrimination by hearing people.

    If you opt to implant your child, be sure to also teach them ASL. Why not have a bilingual child? It doesn't cause speech or language delays. They have a deaf identity and community. Really, the best of both worlds.

  19. Although I think its cool deaf people are starting community's for each other, you shouldn't deprive another human being the option of living normally.

  20. I think it's great cochlear implants have such a high success rate and it should be used for the deaf it their parents or themselves feel it's best for them. However– whomever receives an implant should still learn sign language because it is still incredibly useful for a myriad of reasons.

  21. THANK YOU!!!
    Been thanking Dr.Hinrich Staecker, E.N.T. /Surgeon from KU MEDICAL CENTER.. These 2 (each ear) mastoidrctomy-tympanoplasty surgeries this last year are amazing..very painful-yet amazing skill he has! I now hear things I never could before. He is the best in the United States…if anyone has a chance, go see him! I would take my children for surgery with him if ever necessary! Thank God!

  22. If someone is Pure Deaf no matter the type of hearing aid at the disposal at the time given it will not take away the ability of not hearing. Deaf Culture is a thing just as Blind Culture is a thing

  23. "Sign language is where we have freedom of expression… And so in that respect, it's our native tongue."
    WATCH NEXT on HEALTH: http://bit.ly/2ziwtvw

  24. I became curious about this when I saw a protest out side of a ear doctors office.

    They have a right to preserve their culture, but they overstep into what hearing parents want for their own children, they doesn't see how cultures intersect or overlap. Thats between the child and its parents.

    Preserve your culture by having YOUR OWN children who will most likely inherit the mutated gene that causes deafness.

  25. Stop talking about deaf children in the third person “she” “he” Tell them YOU!!!! And YES LEARN ASL. Insurances
    Do not cover hearing aids and only cover cochlears but limitations are present.

  26. So, basically those parents were too lazy to learn a single thing about Deaf culture or ASL to help their daughter, and instead chose to have a surgeon cut open her head, saw through her skull, and have a device attached to her brain, because actually TRYING to communicate with her in a real way was too hard? They took away her options, exposed her to a very real and dangerous surgical procedure, and didn't even try to get to know her for who she was. "We didn't do ASL, we're just gonna fix her." What kind of bullshit lazy ads "parenting" is that? To not even TRY? That girl is still deaf. Just now she will have no idea there is a community and a language that would have supported her but her own parents thought she was broken and didn't want to deal with the hassle. Doctors are being successfully sued for and refusing to perform circumcision on infants because they cannot consent to the surgery. A CI is just as invasive and changes an entire being. I can't wait until it is illegal for parents to do this to their children.

  27. This story implies implants cure deafness. That's mostly untrue for most people. It enables the hearing of some sound for some, and that's about it. Is hearing 40% of actual sound worth giving up your culture? Probably not.

  28. My roommate in my first year of college was an implantee a bilateral one. Trust me they do wonders to the ability of person to lead a productive life.

  29. Truth is sign language gets LANGUAGE… cochlear implants do not make sounds like we know. Special upkeep, denied of language but sounds like mickey mouse.. kids learn to please parents, but these kids will be HARMED by not signing 1st. Parents 95% won't sign. But i work with those kids- give them sign langauge keeps their brain flexible because of language not C.i

  30. I hope someone uses this revolution to make sign language more accessible to all Americans. Considering the increase in nationalism over the last few years, it surprises me more people aren’t pushing for a language invented in America to be taught in schools.

  31. To my understanding there is no fixing of anything. Really, all cochlear implants do is receive and give out frequency. It gives off a distorted sound. Not a clear sound wave of a hearing persons. Also when those batteries die, or those implants stop working, they're still deaf. And then what? They are left without an identity. Deaf culture teaches their history and teaches them their natural language. It gives Deaf people an identity.

  32. I agree that parents should decide what is best for their children, and getting both the CI and learning ASL will be beneficial in the long run. Cochlear implants are not a cure, and that way deaf kids can understand both English and ASL and be able to express themselves. ASL is a beautiful language

  33. There should be no deaf culture. When someone loses his hearing there should be a way to restore it. The future must be one of health and enhancement not denial and weakness.

  34. This video does not account for the years, endless time in speech therapy or that early learning of ASL does not slow speech development so why wouldn't you teach it

  35. I need my voice for all the world
    I have a son and daughter who grow an electronic cochlea
    Freedom Niklas
    In the brain of ten years
    The boy hears but speaks the sign language because he can not find care and rehabilitation in specialized centers and the girl hears and speaks
    They are all just a mother's effort
    To know where the problem develops in language
    But the devices are brain-damaged and do not work
    We are Yemeni refugees in Malaysia. There is no rehabilitation
    We suspended with education because of regulations that are forbidden to education for non-Malaysians in private schools
    And the difficulty in repairing devices and education
    The boy Bandar Umrah 11 years
    And Retaj 12 years

    No education and no hearing due to malfunctioning device No word no cure stuck in Malaysia
    Who can find the solution for the Deaf children to call 01114454246

    [email protected]

  36. deaf people dont have a native language you fkn idiot, the reason def people cant hear is cause they have their heads up their own asses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *