An update: baby3 is doing well with his cochlear implant. He turns to his name; when outside if he hears the sound of an aircraft going by, he stops before he can see it and scans the skies, then makes the ‘airplane’ sign. He likes toys that only makes noise (rather than which also have lights to indicate when you’ve pressed something). He says “Mo” for ‘more’, and “Ma” for his mum, sometimes even “ma-ma”.
It’s a lot of progress for a child to make having been pretty much without hearing for his first 17 months; even now he’s only had “access to sound” (as it’s called) for 6 to 8 weeks.
Which is why it’s sort of depressing, though not surprising, to get comments like John’s. (And here’s John’s blog.) We didn’t take the decision to put baby3 through major surgery lightly. Nor did the support team; they really did evaluate whether he wouldn’t be better off with hearing aids very carefully. In the end, it’s truly about whether we think his life will be better with access to sound – we can even call it ‘hearing’ – or without. Profoundly deaf people are more prone to depression; but John is promulgating a point of view that, while valid, still strikes me as Luddite. baby3 has sign language; he uses it, we use it, but it’s not sufficient communication for us or him, because we don’t have the years it would take to learn it sufficiently to say what we need to say to him. We have two other children, and jobs, and lives to lead.
That’s not to say that the CI is the path of least resistance, to fit our domestic needs. It’s our choice of best future – for him. And every parent makes those choices, consciously (where should we live?) or unconsciously (what do you do when your child misbehaves?).
It’s equally uplifting though to see comments like Ivan’s, (and here’s Ivan’s blog) who has just received a CI. He gives an interesting insight; we only wish that baby3 could express more of what he’s going through, so we could help him more.