Five years ago we made the decision to give our daughter the Cochlear Implant. She was old enough to be a part of the decision making, but ultimately it was our decision. This article is not meant to be a debate. I'm not trying to fluff feathers, just relating our experience.
We saw the CI to be a tool. It was meant to give her access to the hearing world, but not to become hearing. Many believe that when she received the CI that she could miraculously hear. So all of a sudden we were faced with people constantly asking if she could hear now and would start talking like the rest of us "hearing' people.
My daughter is deaf! She will always be deaf. That is who she is and she likes being deaf. Only one time in her life has she asked for the doctors to fix her ears, but she has prayed repeatedly for a deaf brother and that her parents would become deaf!
My daughter signs and likes signing, but she also loves to talk! As she matures we ask her opinion on her deafness and education. We want to know what she is thinking and who she is. We were discussing communication options and I simply asked if she liked signing or talking more. She quickly responded with, "I like signing, but some people don't know sign." She listed several people that she is with regularly, mostly family, and then continued: "I want both. Sign and voice. I want to talk with my friends and family." I was very proud of my little girl. She understood that she lives in a hearing world. I have nothing wrong with a person who only signs. They get along just fine in this world through gestures, writing, and interpreters. But MY daughter wants to do both, so we are trying to give her that.
The CI is a wonderful technology, but it is not a quick "fix". When it works, it gives her good sound. She has been able to develop some good speech. She has been without the CI for about 2 months now due to equipment failure. At risk for sounding like a bad mom, I like her without it. She seems calmer without it and it requires all of us to sign to her. Will we get the CI fixed? Yes, of course we will. But it's just nice to know that with or without it, my daughter can still communicate.
To be . . . deaf is a part of who she is.
To not be . . . deaf, we would miss out on a whole other world.