Category Archives: Deaf

Sound and Fury: The Review

By Raven Heroux

Photo by: Sean Dreilinger (Flickr/CC)

The documentary Sound and Fury follows the lives of two families: one Deaf family with all deaf children and one hearing family with one deaf child. The hearing family struggles with deciding between giving their infant a cochlear while the Deaf family struggles with their five-year-old daughter asking for one.

There is a lot of talk from the Deaf family members about how cochlear implants will make the child more robot than hearing. My only qualm with the film: the Deaf family is so torn between allowing their five-year-old daughter to get the CI or denying her it that they actually begin to contradict themselves and change their views the entire time; it’s very distracting.

A little over an hour long, this documentary is both informative and heated as the families battle with this decision. The hearing family and Deaf family are actually related, and things get a bit messy at a family cookout. The biggest worry of the Deaf family: their child won’t be a part of the Deaf world or the hearing world.

The decision on whether or not to give a child a cochlear implant is a tough decision, and this film shows just how much of a family issue this is. Because of all the conflicting views about the subject, I would take this documentary with a grain of salt.

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Sound and Fury: The Debate about Cochlear Implants

Cochleair implantaat

Photo by: Dick Sijtsma (CC/flickr)

By Raven Heroux

Since its creation in 1985, cochlear implants (CI) have been controversial for people in the Deaf community. Is it destroying the culture and lifestyle of these people, especially since it is “fixing” something many Deaf people believe isn’t even broken? I believe it depends on the individual and the family involved in these cases, which sounds like a cop-out answer; alas, that is my opinion.

The documentary Sound and Fury follows a family deciding whether or not they should provide their two deaf children with cochlear implants.

Nancy Bloch of The National Association of the Deaf spoke on the controversy to the makers of the film. She explains, “Implants are seen as the panacea for deafness, which only serves to perpetuate devaluative societal attitudes towards deafness and deaf people. Simply put, while the device provides the ability to receive auditory signals, the ability to make sense of and use these signals for meaningful dialogue varies greatly from person to person.”

It really does depend on the individual. When speaking of a late-deafened adult, the opinion is often that it is up to that individual on what they want to do; if they grew up hearing, it may be easier to get the surgery than try to adapt. However, when speaking about parents making decisions for their small children, the debate rages.

You may be thinking, “Why not just allow the child to decide when they are old enough?”

The problem: Having the surgery earlier in life, when the child is still developing and has time for the therapy that is required to help with the transition, is the best way to fully utilize the abilities of the CI.

Photo by: Bjorn Knetsch (CC/flickr)

So do parents really have the right to make this huge life-decision for their children? Let’s not forget that it is possible to not connect your cochlear implant in the morning if you don’t want to. Yes, there is a device in your skull, but you can choose not to connect the exterior extension.

Just sayin’.

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Talking With Your Hands: Learning Sign Language in Boston

By Raven Heroux

If you’re living in the Boston area and want to learn American Sign Language, whether you know nothing or you think you know everything (which I highly doubt you do), you can find cheap classes at DEAF, Inc in Allston. They’re only $200, which is a glorious number compared to classes at Emerson or Boston University, which can range in the thousands.

Photo By: Nelson Stauffer (CC/Flickr)

No, DEAF, Inc classes do not count as college credits, but you are certified. The best part? No tests, papers, or grades! You’ll be given assignments, but if you skirt out of them, well, you’re just wasting your own money.

Another pro? All the teachers are Deaf, so you’re learning from a native. I’ve taken classes up to ASL 4 half in college and half at DEAF, Inc, all from Deaf teachers, which I believe is far more effective than learning from Hearing teachers. You can ONLY communicate through sign, which forces you to learn much faster.

Think you’re already an expert? Fingerspelling classes are given for any students who have passed ASL 4 and any professional interpreters. Fingerspelling is trickier than you think! Bus isn’t spelled B-U-S; it’s only B-S! And I’m not BSing you either.

If you or someone you know is a Late Deafened Adult or Hard of Hearing, they offer a different set of classes to immerse you into the language and culture. The spring courses are underway, but check back in a few weeks for the summer courses!

Happy signing!

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