Monday, August 23, 2010

a matter of semantics


I did not take this one, for the record...

In the past when people have asked me what's on Lucas's ear, I usually would tell them that it's a cochlear implant and that it helps him to hear. I also typically use the word help with children, because it makes the most sense to them.

I've been thinking about it lately, and I don't believe that the word help does the cochlear implant nor profound hearing loss much justice. The cochlear implant doesn't just help Lucas to hear, it allows him to hear. Without it, he hears nothing. Period. There's no helping involved. Helping is like being half-way done and someone lending you a hand. Hearing with a cochlear implant is like going from zero to 95 with the attachment of a magnet. It's pure allowance.


So, today when the cashier at the coffee shop told Lucas she liked the flashy thing on his ear, then proceeded to ask me what it is, I told her it's a cochlear implant, which allows him to hear. She then asked me if he can hear without it. Nope. Then she asked me if he was deaf from birth, and commented on how amazing technology is these days (INDEED). She thanked me for sharing (which was nice). Conversation over and mission accomplished.


I guess it was a matter of semantics.

5 comments:

Julia said...

Excellent advocacy! Yeah, my responses improve over time, too, as I get further along the journey and wrap my own head around what it all means. Then there's the tricky analogy of wearing glasses to correct vision -- people understand that, and so it's a handy reference when you're trying to explain about hearing technology. But it's inadequate and misleading, too.

leah said...

I like the word "allows" for the CI, since without it, there would be no hearing! Nolan's hearing aids "help" him hear (since he has some residual hearing without them and can hear us if we shout or if we're close enough). But in the case of profound hearing loss, the word "allows" gives a better idea of what that awesome technology does!

That picture is totally cute, by the way!

Melanie said...

Love it. I use the glasses analogy too when I talk to kids because they "get it" when I explain it that way. But I prefer to go on and on about how it works exactly to adults. :)

Erica said...

Interesting - Bob and I had this conversation last night. I will be adopting the allows. I had a 5 year old ask me Sunday "what are those on her?". I am amazed at that age group - they always seem to ask, and don't settle for a mickey mouse answer. I often wonder when the questions will start to be directed at Grace and not me.

susannah said...

this is a great post. i totally agree with julia-i feel like my responses are maturing and evolving! i will be using allows too!!