Yes, they "hear" now, but they're still not "Hearing"!

Uploaded by DrDonGCSUS on 10.10.2011

In the last few weeks, a video about a woman with a cochlear implant or some kind of implantable hearing aid has gone "viral".
Although that video has gone viral, I have not yet watched it, nor do I plan to watch it.
Why? I don't need to.
I know what's involved.
These kind of videos always follow the same "script":
The poor, sad, lonely, isolated Deaf person
who is an object of pity, gets a hearing aid or a cochlear implant,
and when they're turned on, they hear something and are excited about it,
while the onlooking Hearing people are thinking "how wonderful! It's a miracle! This person's life will be SO much better now!"
I'm totally jaded by these videos.
A big YAWN!
Really.... yes, with the hearing aid or implant, they hear something.
But WHAT do they hear?
Looking back, when I had a hearing aid,
(it must be understood that without a hearing aid, I don't hear very much)
but with a hearing aid, I could hear a lot --
I could hear planes flying overhead, sometimes birds twittering in the trees,
when I went to the beach, I could hear the waves lapping on the shore,
I could hear people talking, and know the difference between talking and singing,
I could hear babies crying -- there were MANY things I could hear with my hearing aids.
But -- there was one thing I was never able to hear:
the sounds necessary for comprehending speech.
I could hear the vowels -- A, E, I, O, U, and MAYBE some consonants,
but most of the time, the consonants were not audible for me.
If a person was talking to me while I was not looking at them,
I would hear only "ba aa ee ba loo boo eee aaa ooo laa eh poo kaa no piloo ee moo noo pa too"
And that's basically it.
Which means I understood nothing (or next to nothing) of what was said.
With the hearing aids and watching the person in order to lipread them, I could use my hearing the sounds to add information in order to get the message.
such as "Oh, he said 'the ball is under the table" or whatever.
Using the sounds HELPED my lipreading.
But without lipreading, I could understand none of it.
Same goes with music. I could hear the music and the beat, but the lyrics were beyond me --
It's almost like listening to a song in Chinese, with a few words of English thrown in there once in a while.
It's almost like that. Totally incomprehensible.
Now, I know some of you are probably saying at this point, "Oh, but cochlear implants are better than hearing aids!"
Oh, really?
There's a website, produced by a cochlear company (or research center),
which I have shown to my (Hearing) students at my university.
The website simulates what it sounds like through a cochlear implant, and my students listened to it.
They tell me two things:
The sound gained through the "cochlear implant" sounds NOTHING like what they hear themselves as Hearing people.
Second, what they hear with the "cochlear implant", even with "more channels" is still hard to comprehend what was said.
What does this mean? It means the person with a cochlear implant is still "hard of hearing", like I was, with hearing aids.
They can hear SOMETHING, but speech comprehension is fuzzy.
These kind of videos, where they show a person getting a hearing aid or cochlear implant or whatever,
are always misleading:
they always make Hearing people think "now this person can hear, everything will be perfect, fine and wonderful for them".
But in reality, it's totally NOT like that, AT ALL!