…were the words I read on a friend’s facebook status this morning.
This was the painting, featured on Winship Creations’ facebook page. Click on the painting to read the comments.
It appears to show a young child having a cochlear implant bolted onto their head with a hand drill, and without any anaesthetic. It’s deliberately shocking, and seems to depict the agony and torture of having a cochlear implant.
It’s obviously designed to shock and provoke, and to reinforce the deaf community’s sense that cochlear implants are innately evil.
The facebook friend who commented this morning said: “The comments I read were sickening. I wish to make my voice heard – controversial or not. How can people make very generalised comments and expect such comment to be relevant to each child or even adult.
It is an individual choice, individual situation, individual beliefs, individual dream. Bottom line is do not judge if you do not know the facts. I’ve stood back and let ignorant people judge me or others, but not anymore. Enough is enough.”
I completely agree.
The above is an audiogram. Most deaf people have seen one of these before, but if you’re like me, you won’t have bothered to find out what they mean, other than ‘You are deaf. You are very, very, very deaf.’
From left to right, the audiogram is arranged like the keys on a piano, with low frequencies on the left and higher frequencies on the right.
From top to bottom is a measure of volume, in decibels.
Most people are born with perfect hearing. At the age of 18, your hearing is as good as it’s ever going to be. In fact, you’ll probably hear higher frequencies that people in their 30s and later in life can’t. As people age, they lose more and more hearing in the high frequency range.
Now, let’s look at the hearing that I was born with. My hearing has been more or less the same since I was born. I’m usually tested with a pair of headphones in a soundproofed room, using a cable with a button on the end which I press every time I hear a tone. Read more…
I’ve been switched on for a month now. It’s been a really steep learning curve, and after two tuning sessions I’m starting to feel like I’m getting close to the potential of the technology itself. I can hear all sorts of stuff now, that I won’t bore you with.
Hearing stuff is easy now.
Identifying it is much harder. Read more…
Kaspar Hauser was a mysterious teenage boy who appeared in the streets of Nuremberg in 1828, with limited vocabulary and understanding of the world. He claimed that he’d been imprisoned in a cellar most of his life with nothing but a wooden horse to play with. History has revealed he was probably a fantasist, but his mystery has never been solved.
I first learned of Hauser from watching Werner Herzog’s unsettling and affecting portrait of his short and troubled life starring an actor called Bruno S, who wasn’t the most ordinary person himself.
The first time I watched The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, I was completely creeped out by Bruno S’ portrayal of a full-grown adult with the mind of a child, learning the names of things for the first time, trying to use a knife and fork, and reacting in a completely childlike, unaffected way to his surroundings.
I feel like Kaspar Hauser. Read more…
So be warned: this article contains references to consumption of illegal drugs and their effects on the brain. It may also make much less sense than other stuff I’ve written in the past, for reasons which will hopefully become clear.
When I went into the audiologist’s office to be activated/switched on/turned on, I was expecting the unexpected. I knew it was going to be strange and uncanny. Even the audiologist told me that today would probably be the worst day of my life with a cochlear implant, and it would only get better from this point onwards. What happened next wasn’t really the worst thing ever, but it was deeply, deeply weird. Read more…
A week after my operation I went back to the hospital. They took the dressings off, did an X-ray and told me I was allowed to wash all the matted blood and dried gunk out of my hair at last. They’ve given me a list of dates from now until March when I’ll have to go into hospital for various switch ons, tune ups and therapy sessions.
Now I’m sitting here looking at an X-ray of my cochlear implant inside my head.
So, I’ve had the operation, and I feel pretty good, considering.
I’m trying to stick to my policy of full disclosure as much as possible without dissembling or rationalising. Especially important in this post, as I’ll be talking about the operation I’ve just been through, and the side effects I’m now living with for the rest of my life.
Watch the video above. Its an old film reel from 1928 of the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Circus. When an eagle eyed historian watched the film’s DVD extras, he spotted a woman walking along, talking into a handheld object near her mouth. There was only one possible explanation – she was a time traveller from the future, talking to someone on her mobile phone.
I don’t know what mobile phone coverage was like in 1928 – I suspect it might have been somewhat patchy – but in the end, it was revealed to be a woman in her 50s, using a handheld hearing aid manufactured in 1925.