My s.o. doesnt want me to get a cochlear implant.

AmputeeOT

Active Member
I’m asking for feedback or advice from **Deafies** for this post.

Background: I became Deaf as an adult.

I recently went to have my hearing tested again at the audiologist and was told I am a candidate for a cochlear implant (CI).

My S.O. Adrian and I have discussed CI’s in the past many times. He and I were both born in 1982 when the technology was only just beginning to be available. He doesn’t have a CI. He was born Deaf and went to a Deaf school. I was born hearing and went to a mainstream school

Adrian’s opinion on the subject was that he does not have any interest in a CI, nor would he want a CI for his future children should they be born deaf. He would be willing to let them make that choice for themselves when they were old enough to choose. I'm 100% okay with this perspective.

Upon finding out that I am considering getting a CI, Adrian has told me that he does *not* want me to get one. However he is totally fine with my use of hearing aids. Here are his reasons:

1. I would not be Deaf anymore and he likes me Deaf.
2. Getting a CI means I am embracing Hearing culture.

He did not articulate the idea of CI as a *symbol* but I think this is why he is bothered by the CI an not hearing aids:

To lots of Deaf a CI is a symbol of oppression, rejection of Deaf culture, of kids being forced into a hearing identity, of adults neglecting to give children the advantages of a bilingual ASL/English upbringing, a “fix” for people who don’t need “fixing”, of children being forced to communicate in a language they can’t fully access to the detriment of language(s) they *can* fully access, of Hearing culture, etc.

That symbol I would have implanted into my skull and wear outwardly on my head, a daily reminder that I am rejecting deafness, and by rejecting deafness I am in a way rejecting him, since he is Deaf and Deafness is such a big part of his identity.

My perspective is different, however. To me, CI is just a tool. Gettig one does not mean I am rejecting Deafness! It no more makes me un-deaf than my prosthetic leg makes me an un-amputee. I’ll still be deaf/Deaf with or without a CI and I will still be an amputee with or without a prosthesis.

Being Deaf isn’t about exactly how much you can hear. It is about embracing Deaf culture. It’s more about your heart than exactly how much sound you can perceive. So if a CI allows me to perceive more sound, it doesn’t make me a notch less Deaf.

I consider myself bicultural. I grew up hearing, in mainstream schools, with no real meaningful exposure to Deaf culture. My exposure to Deaf culture came later and as I learned ASL.

At this point, I’m deaf enough that using the phone is only possible in very specific situations; 100% quiet room, on speakerphone with the phone up to my ear, and the person on the other end of the line has to speak very clearly and have a great connection. I use Hamilton Captel to catch anything I miss. I hated using the phone before I was deaf. Now I *really* *extra* hate it, but I also don’t have Deaf-eyes for ASL, so while I could use VRS, my eyes miss a lot of the signs I see on video - my brain just straight up doesn’t have the visual capacity a native fluent Deaf person has and I can’t train my brain to work that way. For most things VRS would actually be fine but for complicated phone conversations, I would be at a huge disadvantage because ASL is my second language.

So I’m kind of stuck. I don’t expect or really even want a CI to “cure” me or “fix” me but if it would make using the phone and other things easier then that would be enough.

I know I don’t *need* his acceptance because it’s my body, but I want his support and for him to understand that a CI doesn’t mean I’m rejecting my Deafness, or rejecting him, or that anything will change other than I will maybe not have to have people repeat themselves on the phone so much, and I will probably listen to more podcasts on my drive to work - I miss podcasts! But a CI won’t make me hearing! He also would never actually *stop* me from getting a CI, so I guess what I really want from him is acceptance and assurance that I will not reject my Deafhood and embrace the Hearing world just because I have a CI.

Advice?
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
I'm late-deafened also, so you may not want my opinion. I'm going to try to word this as best I can as I do respect my Deaf friends here on AD so hopefully I won't offend them.

1) Did you meet your S.O. before or after you became deaf (started losing your hearing)?

2) Can you explain to your S.O. that you were born hearing and grew up hearing (I'm assuming by late-deafened you were hearing into your adult years) and that there's nothing wrong with you wanting to get some of that back. It's what you are used to just like he's used to being Deaf.

3) Does he object to you using an prosthetic leg? If not, ask him why that is ok and not a prosthetic ear.

4) Does he understand how hard it is for you to communicate with others using sign language since it's not your native language. Maybe compare it to when deaf children are mainstreamed and not given the opportunity learn their native language.
 

Tetracyclone

Active Member
HOH here, but I'm sure you will hear from the deaf crowd whose advice you seek. My thoughts apply to any relationship. We cannot control how another will react to something, and every relationship attracts some dramas. How your guy reacts, and how he sorts through his reactions will tell you a great deal about what is possible, or not possible, in a long-term relationship with him. Your own thinking is quite clear. Trust yourself.
 

Foxrac

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
That's your ultimate decision so I can't speak for you, sorry.

Edit: If you want to know about CI so just ask Sono or LoveBlue.
 
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DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
I'll point out one thing...

Why is it that he is "OK" with being fine with any future children of his who happen to be d/Deaf and as an older child/adult chooses to go with the CI but he isn't fine with YOU getting a CI? Kind of a double standard there.

Everything you've outlined is your talking points. Being Deaf is not about level of hearing or what a Deaf person uses (there are a few native Deaf who has gotten a CI at one point or another), it's more to do with attitude, culture, community than anything else. He may be thinking that way (considering he went to a Deaf school).

But... I would ask him why the difference in his feelings about you and "future children" and CIs...
 

AmputeeOT

Active Member
I'll point out one thing...

Why is it that he is "OK" with being fine with any future children of his who happen to be d/Deaf and as an older child/adult chooses to go with the CI but he isn't fine with YOU getting a CI? Kind of a double standard there.

Everything you've outlined is your talking points. Being Deaf is not about level of hearing or what a Deaf person uses (there are a few native Deaf who has gotten a CI at one point or another), it's more to do with attitude, culture, community than anything else. He may be thinking that way (considering he went to a Deaf school).

But... I would ask him why the difference in his feelings about you and "future children" and CIs...


Actually he may have changed his view on this since. I'll ask...

...yes, his view has changed on this. He wouldn't want our future kid to get implanted either.
 

AmputeeOT

Active Member
I'm late-deafened also, so you may not want my opinion. I'm going to try to word this as best I can as I do respect my Deaf friends here on AD so hopefully I won't offend them.

1) Did you meet your S.O. before or after you became deaf (started losing your hearing)?

2) Can you explain to your S.O. that you were born hearing and grew up hearing (I'm assuming by late-deafened you were hearing into your adult years) and that there's nothing wrong with you wanting to get some of that back. It's what you are used to just like he's used to being Deaf.

3) Does he object to you using an prosthetic leg? If not, ask him why that is ok and not a prosthetic ear.

4) Does he understand how hard it is for you to communicate with others using sign language since it's not your native language. Maybe compare it to when deaf children are mainstreamed and not given the opportunity learn their native language.


1. I met him when I started losing my hearing. I was like "whelp, looks like I'll be going deaf, may as well learn ASL" and one thing led to another.

2. Yep, I did. He understands that part.

3. Nope, he doesn't object to my leg and I have used that as an analogy with him.

4. Yes, he does understand this but he also saw how quickly I learned ASL and so probably thinks it will eventually be easy if I keep doing it. I am "Level 4 interprediate interpreter" fluency according to deaf friends familiar with certification. But intermediate fluency isn't native-like fluency
 

Foxrac

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Honest with y'all, if you are late deafened and already developed oral, also little to no benefit with hearing aids, I do recommended you to receive CI soon so you can recover easily and quickly, also retention is likely to lose if you stop rely on oral.

Born deaf is different situation, so it is depends on individuals, so opinions from born deaf isn't priority if you are late deafened.
 

AmputeeOT

Active Member
I agree with your perspective. The reason I am seeking opinions of Deaf is that I would like to understand Adrian's perspective better.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
I suspect he may be scared you'll leave him if you become a "hearie" again. That is understandable, so let him know that the CI won't change how you feel about him and that you will continue improving your ASL. Remind him that you're still be deaf when not wearing the processor.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Have to agree with LoveBlue. Some Deaf feel that the CI would erase Deaf Culture... ASL etc and think that anyone with a CI will just be immersed into the hearing world and forget the deaf world. That's the hardest part. In my view that isn't always true- I've seen a few ASL deaf go for a CI- a few who are DB too and it has worked out for them- for some it didn't work out. Just depends on the person.

Keep reminding him that having/getting a CI has nothing to do with how you feel about him. He's worried that it will affect the relationship... but that's just my guess.

(almost glad a certain person(s) isn't here....reasonable and calm discussion for a change).
 

seb

Well-Known Member
The big difference here is Adrian is 35 years old and was born deaf. You on the other hand are 35 years old and were hearing and now you are deaf. For you the outcome of the surgery is more than likely you will be helped with the CI and will hear again. Your S.O on the other hand would have a much greater chance of having a less than favorable outcome if he had the surgery since he was born deaf and has not been able to hear for 35 years. Perhaps his feelings have more to do with perhaps jealousy more than anything else and the thought that once you can hear again you will leave him. You need to explain to him whether you can hear or not makes no difference in your relationship and you will be there for the long haul. Good luck!
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Have to agree with LoveBlue. Some Deaf feel that the CI would erase Deaf Culture... ASL etc and think that anyone with a CI will just be immersed into the hearing world and forget the deaf world. That's the hardest part. In my view that isn't always true- I've seen a few ASL deaf go for a CI- a few who are DB too and it has worked out for them- for some it didn't work out. Just depends on the person.

Keep reminding him that having/getting a CI has nothing to do with how you feel about him. He's worried that it will affect the relationship... but that's just my guess.

(almost glad a certain person(s) isn't here....reasonable and calm discussion for a change).
I'll say it anyway: "Stomp him! Stomp him! STOMP HIM!" ;)
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Perhaps his feelings have more to do with perhaps jealousy more than anything else and the thought that once you can hear again you will leave him.

I would say more of fear than jealousy. There isn't anything to be jealous of unless he's the type who would start creating scenarios in his head that she'll run off with the first hearing guy she meets or something.

I can't say what it is like between them and all that- that's only for her and him to figure out/know. We're just bodies sitting behind a keyboard reading words on a screen.
 

seb

Well-Known Member
I would say more of fear than jealousy. There isn't anything to be jealous of unless he's the type who would start creating scenarios in his head that she'll run off with the first hearing guy she meets or something.

I can't say what it is like between them and all that- that's only for her and him to figure out/know. We're just bodies sitting behind a keyboard reading words on a screen.
I would say it might be a little bit of both.
 

AmputeeOT

Active Member
He is and has always been sort of insecure in our relationship. It's something he has been working on pretty much the entire time we have been together (3 yrs). he has made a lot of improvements actually.

i just asked him if he is afraid I will maybe break up with him and go find some hearing dude if I get a CI.

He said yes. He is afraid the CI will change me and I will leave him for some hearing dude. I told him it won't, but he says there still is a chance that it will change me.

So yeah. The root of him not wanting me to get a CI actually is insecurity.

I'm glad we are both able to have this honest discussion with each other without either of us getting upset.

Doesn't really explain why he is opposed to a CI but not hearing aids, but it might be a combination of insecurity and CI being symbolic of a lot of negative things in Deaf culture. There could also be some jealousy mixed in there, because sometimes he says he hates being Deaf and really wants to be hearing.

Humans are complicated creatures ^.^
 
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