PARENTS FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANT - WWW.PUZNICA.HR

Prologue

This text is not intended to be of a scientific or technical nature. Rather, it represents a personal opinion and conveys personal experience. Parts of the text that are science-related, and which may have a scientific air to some, are just laymen's conclusions resulting from our search for answers for our deaf child.

Enes Midžić

Identification of Deafness in Children

According to the statistics 1 child in 1,000 is born with serious hearing impairment, i.e. is deaf, and 1 child in 500 loses hearing by the age of five. We need not speak of individuals who gradually lose their hearing or become deaf at a more advanced stage in their lives.  There are many such individuals, and for many of them the hearing sense can be replaced with an electronic device called cochlear implant, which is worn today by some 25,000 individuals around the world. In Croatia, fifteen children and a few adults carry the cochlear implant, and a further thirty or so operations are planned.

Finding out that a child is deaf changes your life, life gets a whole new meaning and new priorities and goals are set. This is a fact that must not be seen as misfortune but accepted as a new task, a mission. It is a given and you have to bear with it and fight. Every day brings new problems, and to overcome them a stable and good family life and understanding are needed. Family plays a key role in setting the atmosphere where all this takes place. It forms a basis for overcoming the crisis situation.

In the days when we had no idea of the existence or effectiveness of cochlear implants there were no dilemmas as there were no options in selecting one's path.

Awareness of a new possibility, the possibility that a child could hear with the help of new medical technology, seriously poses the question of parental responsibility. Not only from the point of view of life but also from an ethical point of view. To leave the child deaf and with the development typical of deaf individuals, or to embark upon a new, little-known, field. One has to live with either decision. If there is a possibility of choosing, the choice has to be made and not left to someone else to make. Responsibly. To make a decision one should be aware of what one gains and what one loses.  However, this information is not easy to obtain, and often-hearing specialists who deal with our children are not decisive in their responses.