This weekend my family and I are going to go to the Congenital Heart Walk at 9:45 a.m. at the boathouse in North Park. This walk is to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects, America’s #1 birth defect. Regulatory and Quality Solutions is a sponsor of this event; it is very close to our hearts since it involves our esteemed friend and colleague, Deb Gimbel.
My son has a friend that was born deaf. When he was a small child, he had surgery to get cochlear implants. With the implants, he is able to hear. When his younger brother was also born deaf, his parents found that they carried a recessive gene that causes deafness. Both boys were able to receive the cochlear implants. They have developed normal language skills and are able to lead normal lives. Their only restriction is that they cannot play contact sports. I was talking to their mother, and I expressed my awe of medical technology - that deaf people can really hear when wearing the cochlear implant device. She told me that what surprised her most about the Deaf community was that most people who are deaf do not choose to get cochlear implants for their deaf children. There is a pride with being Deaf, and there is a whole close knit Deaf community. They do not see deafness as a handicap, but as uniqueness. Most deaf people are happy in their Deaf community so they want to share it with their children. They do not see deafness as something to be fixed so they usually do not elect to have the surgery. Adults would not benefit as much as children from the implants due to the critical periods for language development being passed. However, some adults have been thankful for the ability to experience hearing with the implants. Therefore, after much resistance, the Deaf community is slowly beginning to accept cochlear implants as a personal choice. I thought that was fascinating.