Here’s a few thoughts:
- Maybe people can have meaningful interactions with others without having to hear them, lets say: through text, sign, and non-verbal interaction.
- Maybe cochlear implants are a rather new science which is imperfect, has a chance of destroying residual hearing irreparably without working, and don’t operate in the same auditory input that the hearing understand it as.
- Maybe getting a cochlear implant is a nuanced decision considering that even though there can be strong positives, there’s also huge downsides
- Maybe there should be less representation everywhere of the poor, dejected deaf people being “fixed” and normalized, and a less ableist/audist focus on holy shit deaf people get by just fine but sometimes technology is cool.
Cochlear implants can be awesome, I know people who have or who are getting cochlear implants who are awesome, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with them.
What is wrong, is the media portrayal and general memetic presence of the pitying narrative of somebody’s life being a bit incomplete by not being able to hear, or the heartbreaking sadness of it, or the overwhelming triumph that is making it so that the deaf can hear. Narratives of normalization in relation to disability denigrate the disabled. Whether or not to seek a cochlear implant or other likewise mitigating treatment in terms of a disability is the choice of the disabled, and often those treatments have downsides just as well. There are those of us who wouldn’t get those treatments even if there weren’t downsides, because there’s solidarity and power in an identity of disabled or d/Deaf.
I appreciate the betterment of people’s lives when they want it, and the easing of accessibility, but I do not appreciate being told that there is an aspect of me that needs to be “fixed”, that I am essentially broken, or that there is something missing from my life for the lack thereof of those experiences. I’m tired of self-pity, maybe sometimes I haven’t been able to hear and I’ve been excluded for it, but that’s not my fault and it’s not the impetus of my identity, but those around me who buy into such ableist notions of access.
I don’t need hearing as much as I need a just portrayal of disability. One impairs me in superficial manners, the other marginalizes. I can work around “impairment”. Marginalization meanwhile, seeps in everywhere.