The cochlear implant struggle

by Karen Putz
(Chicagoland)

Well Mark, it looks like you and I are living cloned lives. Four years ago, I began investigating the cochlear implant because I felt I needed to go over every option with a fine-toothed comb. My oldest son is a candidate for an implant. My younger two are not, but very well could be down the road.

Like you, we struggled with the decision. On one hand, we were comfy with being who we are. We have a circle of deaf/Deaf/hard of hearing/hearing friends with all kinds of communication access. On the other hand, we could embrace technology that had the potential (I say potential, since it can be a technological crapshoot if it goes wrong) to to increase the ability to process sound.

My son has a very close friend who uses an implant. He felt he was no different from his friend in terms of ability to process sounds and navigate the world. He didn't want the surgery, didn't want to deal with the therapy afterwards and mapping sessions. Now, he might give a very different answer today if the rest of his hearing should suddenly disappear, as it did with a friend of mine. But he's content right now and confident and happy and we're leaving it at that. The implant door is still open to him.

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