Deaf children suffer from a lack of information and education of Oralism, which is the use of spoken language consisting of lip reading, speech and mouth movements. I have dedicated my time and study towards this very form of education and I feel as though parents and deaf students still are unaware of what Oralism is and how it works. Upon making the big decision of choosing which method to become educated with, its important parents understand every component and how their child will become educated using this method.
The main thing most parents need to understand is that there are different degrees of hearing loss, and many deaf and hearing impaired children have some residual hearing. With the help of new and advanced technology, there is hope for those who still benefit from technology that can restore hearing. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.
Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn. (see chart on the left) Having said that, you might be wondering…. Who benefits from Cochlear Implants? It is easy to say all deaf individuals can benefit from such technology but this not the case. In fact, Individuals who are Hard-of-Hearing or have partial hearing loss can be fitted with an implant, and can receive one fitted according to the degree of their deafness. Individuals who are completely deaf can still gain sound input that will restore hearing they never gained.
Once a child is implanted, it is required they go to post-implantation therapy and if the therapy is effective it can help young children to acquire speech, language, and social skills. Usually deaf children who receive these implants are between the ages of 2 and 6 years of age. Parents should realize early implantation is best for deaf and hard-of-hearing children because it provides them with sounds that are critical in the process of learning proper speech and language skills.
Oral education depends on this technology to allow students to hear at all times. One major component of Oralism involves practice. Parents, teachers and professionals in this field all play a major role in the practice a deaf child receives. Deaf children who are educated orally and benefit from a cochlear implant must constantly be surrounded and ambushed with oral communication and sound at all times. It is important hat parents bath their children with sound and language every moment of the day, in the car, during a bath, while eating dinner, and even at the store. Every opportunity to hear and learn is an opportunity to gain more and better speech skills. The only problem that arises when discussing this technology is that it is very expensive and not available to every deaf individual who wishes to use it. Generally, most implants cost at least $100,000 dollars which can scare most families upon hearing this news.
Fortunately, most but not all insurance companies cover a small amount of this cost. This leaves many families with a bigger decision of what do about the cost of this procedure. Although this implant will change the life of a deaf individual and allow them to hear, it’s such a large cost that can also put them in debt for up to 15 years at a time. In all, there should be some sort of funding or plan with insurances to insure that all deaf individuals can have full access to this technology.