“Pretty Cool” Cochlear Implant: “It Helps Me Hear”

CochlearImplant2013-11-15.jpg “The cochlear implant.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ commentary quoted and cited below.

(p. A15) . . . , three pioneering researchers– Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake Wilson –shared the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research for their work in developing the [cochlear] implant. . . . The award citation says the devices have “for the first time, substantially restored a human sense with medical intervention” and directly transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands.
I’ve seen this up close. My 10-year-old son, Alex, is one of the 320,000 people with a cochlear implant.
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“What’s that thing on your head?” I heard a new friend ask Alex recently.
“It helps me hear,” he replied, then added: “I think it’s pretty cool.”
“If you took it off, would you hear me?” she asked.
“Nope,” he said. “I’m deaf.”
“Cool,” she agreed. Then they talked about something else.
Moments like that make me deeply grateful for the technology that allows Alex to have such a conversation, but also for the hard-won aplomb that lets him do it so matter-of-factly.

For the full commentary, see:
Denworth, Lydia. “OPINION; What Cochlear Implants Did for My Son; Researchers who were just awarded the ‘American Nobel’ have opened up the world of sound to the deaf.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Sept. 20, 2013): A15.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed word, added.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Sept. 19, 2013.)

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