transmitter that sends sound to the implant is worn outside
and hard of hearing advocates also worry about the impact
the cochlear implant will have on hearing people's attitudes.
Already, there is a long-standing bias among many hearing
people about deaf people. Those who speak well are considered
far more intelligent than those who cannot communicate orally.
Bloch, who is herself deaf, is all too aware of this prejudice.
"Attitudes are our worst barrier. Often people just do not
realize the kinds of attitudes they impart to others, andbelieve
medeaf and hard of hearing people do sense these very
Some implanted children still don't hear well enough
to be able to speak and understand oral language...These
issues are often not made clear to enough parents.
to Shannon, these attitudes mean many deaf children graduate
with below-average reading and writing skillsfrom both
deaf and mainstream schools. In fact, this is one reason why
Shannon advocates implantseven if the results are less
"A cochlear implant helps a child get attention," he says.
"Deaf children are often categorized and sent off to deaf
programs, which are often pretty bad."
Bloch would like to see deaf and hard of hearing people get
that attention and respect without having to get an implant.
In her capacity as executive director of the NAD, Bloch works
to cultivate understanding and respect for the deaf and hard
of hearing. "How would you treat your very hard of hearing
grandmother?" she asks of the hearing population.
far more capable and diverse than folks realize," says Bloch.
"Even without 100% sound comprehension, we're just like everyone
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Institute for the Deaf.