Video: Deaf woman hears sound for the first time

posted at 11:21 am on March 28, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via Time, something to put a spring in your step on a slow Friday morning. Videos of people with hearing impairments reacting to sound for the first time after being fitted with cochlear implants are an Internet favorite. The first one to go viral that I can remember was this one three years ago; another one, this time involving a toddler, went viral last year. They’re always affecting but the age of the patient makes them poignant in different ways. The toddler’s reaction is a thunderbolt of wonderment at experiencing a new stimulus. The adults, who’ve grown up knowing they’re missing something momentous, erupt in catharsis when something finally appears in the void. It’s not a religious experience, but that’s the best metaphor I can imagine for feeling suddenly awakened to something profound but otherwise inaccessible that’s been all around you forever.

I wonder how much of a fear factor there is for patients once the implants are up and running. Hearing sound in a controlled environment like this is one thing. Walking around a city and being bombarded by endless strange noises that you’ve never imagined before must be on some level terrifying, like a blind person who’s just recovered his sight being pushed into a huge kaleidoscope.


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Here it is. I really recommend it.
http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/hear-and-now/synopsis.html#/

Missy on March 28, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Thanks – I just watched a trailer for it, looks interesting. I hadn’t thought much about how learning to deal with hearing and talking with people is just as big a part of these stories as is the first hearing. I’ll have to watch the whole doc.

whatcat on March 28, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Great video

workingclass artist on March 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

cozmo on March 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Would have been a fine selection as well. No reason other than Mozart is my preference for the greatest of all time. ; ) You link Beethoven for her. ; )

Bmore on March 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Wait, she said the voice sounded “really high”. How would she know the difference if she was deaf?

mitchellvii on March 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

I opined upthread that in assessing her as a patient they probably fed different tones directly into the implant – so she knew basic frequency distinctions. (Something like the use of tones when a non-deaf person has a hearing test.)

whatcat on March 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Its helpful to see both sides of this issue.
 
Conservative Samizdat on March 28, 2014 at 1:41 PM

 
Thanks for your perspective. I’ve recently become close friends with a hearing family with a deaf son that uses implants (his first language is ASL). Like you said, there isn’t better or worse. Only choices and tools.
 
I’m printing your newspaper link out to show to my friend, btw. He lacks confidence sometimes and it’s inspirational. Thanks for it.

rogerb on March 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Video don’t work

mixplix on March 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

I opined upthread that in assessing her as a patient they probably fed different tones directly into the implant – so she knew basic frequency distinctions. (Something like the use of tones when a non-deaf person has a hearing test.)

whatcat on March 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

In that HBO documentary, the wife was the daughter of two musicians, and though deaf, could “feel” music from an early age. In fact, after she got her cochlear implants, music didn’t sound like she imagined it would, so she went back to turning off her implants when “listening” to music.

So I am guessing most deaf people are intuitively attuned to frequency, and high and low would already make sense to them prior to hearing.

It might seem counterintuitive to think about a musical deaf person, but if you think of sound in terms of vibration, it makes sense. After all, that was how Beethoven was able to continue composing after he went deaf.

Missy on March 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Bmore on March 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Beethoven went deaf, you were looking for symbolism.

cozmo on March 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

mixplix broke the internet, again.

cozmo on March 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

“Times are hard,” he says. “I have a lot of friends (with law degrees) who gave up and took other jobs. But this is what I went to school to do, and I’m going to do it.”

Tip of the hat!

Schadenfreude on March 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Thanks for your perspective. I’ve recently become close friends with a hearing family with a deaf son that uses implants (his first language is ASL). Like you said, there isn’t better or worse. Only choices and tools.

I’m printing your newspaper link out to show to my friend, btw. He lacks confidence sometimes and it’s inspirational. Thanks for it.
rogerb on March 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Tip of the hat!
Schadenfreude on March 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Thank you both for your kind words.

If you are interested, here is the website for my private practice and the Facebook page for my private practice. Feel free to “like” it and follow it.

Also, I am always more than willing to talk to anyone about the fact that being Deaf is not a major obstacle. You can achieve anything with hard work, determination, tenacity and desire.

-CS

P.S. I also run a small little political blog. I haven’t been too active on it since I am busy with law work but I do have a few articles that are forthcoming.

Conservative Samizdat on March 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The NHS took a break from starving old people and performing cosmetic and sex change mutilations to actually help an individual?

Shocked!

Murphy9 on March 28, 2014 at 3:11 PM

I have been slowly losing my hearing for the last 15 years or so and have used hearing aids off and on for the last 7 or so. Device amplified sound takes quite a bit of getting used to and certain sounds are very unpleasant delivered through a device. I can’t begin to imagine how challenging it will be for an adult to begin to absorb and sort out for the first time the cacophony surrounding her.

The aids certainly are a gift for helping understand what others are saying, especially in situations where there is significant background noise. However, I do turn off or remove my devices quite frequently. In fact, I mostly prefer to be without them unless I am conversing or listening to music, watching a movie, etc.

I hope that the cochlear implants have an off switch for those times when the sounds are overwhelming.

bigjack on March 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

I hope that the cochlear implants have an off switch for those times when the sounds are overwhelming.
 
bigjack on March 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

 
They attach with a magnetic coil (the round object in this picture) so you just remove them and have no input. The one I’m familiar with also has a sound field adjustment so you can apparently increase or decrease the radius around the device. I don’t wear them and only know third hand, though.

rogerb on March 28, 2014 at 3:22 PM

I don’t know if the worker/doctor/nurse is trained to be so detached but to me it was off putting. This woman has just had a miracle happen to her. She has known nothing but silence her whole life and all the trials and tribulations that came with that. Now she is essentially given something that in her wildest dreams she couldn’t have imagined. I would think that would merit a hug, a pause, and perhaps a sympathetic word or two before proceeding with the volume controls and such.

I mean, just imagine what this means to her.

Whole worlds are now open to her.

Her life from that moment forward has now changed forever.

Give her five minutes to absorb the miracle. Is that too much to ask?

neyney on March 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I don’t know about y’all, but that moved me to tears…I can only imagine…

bimmcorp on March 28, 2014 at 3:46 PM

If she thinks that’s a stunning noise, wait until she hears some Beethoven!

:-D

Good Lt on March 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Or the stunning voice of our magnificent orator, Barack (Dog Eater) Obama.

bimmcorp on March 28, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Give her five minutes to absorb the miracle. Is that too much to ask?

neyney on March 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Hard to imagine that socialized medicine would have an impact on the quality of bedside manner, isn’t it? Yet there it is.

TexasDan on March 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Beautiful video. Beautiful woman.

Damn onions.

UltimateBob on March 28, 2014 at 6:51 PM

rogerb on March 28, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Makes total sense, I’m sure there are a variety of subtle controls available, including not so subtle OFF.

I’m on my 4th pair of aids, and the features and quality have improved greatly each time.

bigjack on March 28, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Wow, awesome. Interesting though some her first words were, “very very strange”. Imagine if we wete to suddenly be experiencing an extra stimulus that we kind of understood. How very strange it would be, indeed.

jake49 on March 29, 2014 at 9:45 AM

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