Quite ironically following my last post, can I get a high five for finally managing to have a 2hr conversation with a boy and telling him I have a hearing loss so he wouldn’t grumble/mumble? A popular one, but it was nice he chose to spend the time talking to me. <3
Oh the deaf girls problem of not being able to understand the lower pitch and grumble mumble of boys voices.
“Bethany” she called, the baby was up, she could see her. Peering around the door, she called again. “Bethany”. No response. She tried again and yelled “Bethany!”. Her daughter did not move.
That was in 1994. The mother was mine. My name is Bethany. I was 10 months old when that incident occurred. My mother knew that due to my non-response to her voice, there was something wrong with me. It took five months to get an answer, as I was a bright and happy baby, and doctors were convinced there was nothing wrong with me. At 15 months of age, I was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf. The cause of my deafness is unknown, there is no family history and I had not had any major illnesses. With a family that was all hearing, it was hard for my parents to be told by a number of specialists that I was unlikely to develop any usable speech. They were told that I would have to learn to sign, go to schools far away from my house, become a part of a community they knew nothing about and one that they would never truly belong in. My communication level would be better with my siblings than it ever would be with my parents, and there would be an entire family I would never be able to truly communicate with.
One day, the phone rung. A representative from the Cora Barclay Centre in Adelaide had gotten a hold of our number and invited our parents to come for a visit. They hesitated, but decided to try it. During the tour of the centre, the principal told my parents, “We believe we can teach Bethany how to speak.” My parents began to believe that there was a chance and went ahead with the centre’s program. I was fitted with hearing aids, and started intensive auditory verbal therapy, with my teacher, Kerry. But the lessons didn’t stop there – there were listening games everyday, in the morning, before bed, and during the day, when my mum would constantly talk to me about everything to fully immerse me in a world of sound. I was two years old when my hearing was re-tested and it was discovered the little hearing I had deteriorated even further. I was taken to my ENT, Dr John Rice, who told my parents that the time had come to seriously consider a cochlear implant. It was early days of children receiving cochlear implants, and only ever considered for the deafest of the deaf. It was a hard decision for my parents, who eventually decided it was the best option for me – I would lose nothing because I had no hearing, and if the implant failed, I could still learn to sign. But if I did not receive the implant, and soon, I would never develop normal speech. More than a year later, I was implanted, and switched on, September the 10th, 1997.
To this day I still remember running outside and hearing things I had never heard before! The sprinkler was pointed out to me, the birds flew above, the clock was ticking and the pram with my brother in it was rolling along the path!
There was still a lot of work to do. When it was time for me to leave Kindy, and go to school, there was much debate as to whether I should be held back or not because I was 5 years old and had the language age of a 3 year old. I was allowed to enter Reception, with the idea that if I was behind, I could repeat Reception. It was also difficult to find a school that would accept me, because it was early days when children with implants were entering the school system. All the schools happily accepted my sister, but would not promise a place for me, until we found a school happy to take me on despite the challenges. That school has now had several hearing impaired kids and is one of the only schools to have sound field systems in every classroom. I ended the year, and went into year 1 the next year.
I started to excel in the classroom. By the time I was 10, I tested as speaking as an adult in some areas of my language skills. I went from two visits a week to twice a term on a merely monitor service over the course of 7 years at school.
I finished High School in 2011, in the top 5% of my year, and top of my class in 4 of 5 of my final year subjects. I am in the top 7% of students in the country. I went to Adelaide University to study Media, as I want to work with Children and Media. I studied abroad for a semester in California, U.S.A. I am expected to graduate in November 2014, and I am excited for the future.
I am so grateful to my parents, the Cora Barclay centre, my family, my church and my schools. Because of them, I have the strong belief that I can do anything I want to do – the world is waiting!
Just keep watching me. ;)
Ahhh, finally. A question about cochlear implants.
It’s pretty famous heated discussion about it for long time. I feel like it is viewed as blinded praise by hearing people. Like these famous tumblr posts about deaf people are usually ones who first hear. From people, I can tell that they think CI will cure a deaf person so they just can hear like them. BUT
Let me tell ya. It will NEVER fix any deaf people. CI is just some functioning machines that boost their hearing levels up. When they get it off, they are magically deaf again! I’m sure that everyone have no knowledge of how CI works. CI hearing and ‘normal’ hearing is TOTALLY DIFFERENT. There are videos based on that. It sounded like machines! It may make sounds for you, but they will never get closer to ‘normal’ sounds.
Well, i like to think CI works on everyone individually. From my experiences, I do have CI. I got it when I was around 3. I used it till I became 5 or 6. Why do I stopped? Because it NEVER works on me. Yes, people think CI will help people. it can, but not on everyone. It works better for people with hearing loss later in their life. Kids or adults. Hehe, I remembered when I was little, I used to chew these ear machines every time I got it. It was a hint for my parents that I disliked them. I never hear any noise in CI, it was more like increased vibrations in my ears. CI don’t works well on profoundly deaf people and some people.
I know that pressures families who have deaf kids to get CI when they were little. In discussion, deaf community never want CI, because that feel like they have to be fixed. I totally understand, because that’s how everybody from the society view us as broken people. Hearing people thought it will cure deaf people so they will become normal like them. Deaf people are already normal, and that’s what deaf culture to try open hearing people’s eyes and minds. And in theories, children will learn languages better in their early stages so that’s why it pressures families.
For my opinion, I think families need to research of CI before they decide to make any discussion. Because there is RISKS and BENEFITS on CI, and they need to make sure if what’s kind of deafness on their children. The first thing to do is damn learn sign language and deaf culture, because if they don’t learn it earlier…. they will get more struggles, because CI will not always work perfect whole time. They need to focus on their children’s needs. If they don’t want to use CI, they can not use anymore. You cannot force them to use longer, because it never works already.
And one more thing, I am not sure but I heard cochlear implants were first invented weren’t for deaf people, but I really don’t know. So that’s my opinion! It never works on me. It may works on some people. But CI will never cure anyone.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course, but there are some facts stated in here that aren’t correct!
The answerer said that cochlear implants work only on children who get their hearing loss later in life - I was born profoundly deaf.
This response also says that it doesn’t work for profoundly deaf people - me and many others can say that is not true!
If you want to learn more about a cochlear implantee from birth, feel free to ask me some questions!
But I do agree - each parent has to make the choice they think is the best for their child :) Research it all as much as you can, realize that there is more than merely implanting a child when you do choose a CI.
It’s hard because the same argument of learning sign applies to a deaf child in speech - the earlier you implant a child, the more chance they have at developing normal speech like myself.
That is too kind!! I wish you one too anon!
Hey all, I’m curious if any of you with CIs have gone through metal detectors at airports. The doctors recommended me not to go through them.
I’ve always gone through them - all my audiologist have said I would be fine haha. It’s not like they harm you and they never go off :)